Sunday, December 21, 2008

Jeff Phillips #1.



This whole week is dedicated to the late Jeff Phillips. He was an all around great skateboarder from Texas who committed suicide 15 years ago this Christmas. Jeff was pro for a number of companies including Zorlac, Sims and Life's A Beach. He won some pro vert contests and even beat Tony Hawk without using the McTwist. Legend has it he was tripping on acid at the time. Phillips had a good run during the mid 1980s, got hurt and mounted a comeback in the late 1980s. He won some more contests, Life's A Beach had a solid team and he even opened a skatepark in Dallas. Unfortunately a couple of years later the interest in vert and parks waned, which didn't help out his mental state. As Thrasher noted on their website in the latest From The Crypt section, Jeff Phillips would have won the Rumble In Ramona if he was around today.

Jeff had an interview in the first issue of Transworld I bought. Sometimes the first impressions of new things stick with you the longest.

The photo is by Jamie Mosberg.

Transworld - June 1990 Volume 8 Number 6

21 comments:

Old School CT Sammy said...

Can never get too much Phillips. Wasn't appreciated for being as amazingly great as he was until he pased, which was sad, he was a ripper of immense proportions. Rest In Peace Jeff, we old school guys will never forget.

Justin said...

Exactly.

Scott said...

I rode his street model from BBC back in the day. One of my favorite boards ever. It had great concave and a big upturned nose for the time.

Brad said...

Phillips was one of those guys that dropped in and you expected him to do something you had never seen before. I was lucky to stop by the Clown ramp on several occasions when Jeff was just kicking it. Great memories. We love you Jeff--R.I.P. bro

-ronny said...

Jeff was one of the best friends I have ever had and to this day, I still miss him dearly. I first met him in Jr High and we were on the Wizard Skatepark team together. To say he was an amazing skateboarder is an understatement. I often tell people that yeah, he was great in many, many contest, but a few of us got to know what it was like to skate with Jeff on a Tuesday afternoon in some backyard mini-ramp or a local pool or something and he was always driven. Like a lot of his Dallas friends, we lived vicariously through Jeff's life and his worldwide travels. Many of us were simply sponsored by Jeff himself. He took good care of us, floated us boards, trucks, wheels, clothes, etc. For a good long time, all I ever had was Jeff Phillips boards. If you go through the stack of old decks in my garage, it's just one Phillips deck after another. When Jeff was on Gullwing, we rode Gullwings, when he switched to Tracker, we all switched to Tracker. He took good care of all of us. But, the fun we all shared with him is missed more than any free deck ever. I don't know if the beating Hawk while on Acid thing was true or not, but they were two different types of skaters altogether. You'd go to a contest and Hawk would be practicing and doing the same routine over and over. Perfectly, of course, Jeff on the ohter hand, was BURLY. Just freaking, balls to the wall, burly. I remember one time, me, Jeff, our buddy Robert B. and Dirt went to a Houston contest in my car. We stopped just outside of Dallas for some drink for the road (it was the 80s, different era). Jeff bought one of those boxes of wine and proceeded to drink the whole thing on the way to Houston, there might've been a joint or two passed around the car (wink wink), we got to the Skatepark of Houston and Jeff just rolled out of the car, grabbed his board from the back, went straight to the vert ramp, no pads, no practice and proceeded to tear it down. Freaking 8' straightleg frontside airs, Mctwist, those big ass foot plants that he was known for, those smooth inverts that he made look so easy, etc, just cranking them all out right there on the spot. That was the difference. I know Hawk is the best skater ever and he has marketed himself well and made a ton of money and has provided for his family quite well, but in my opinion (which is obviously skewed) there hasn't been another skater as burly and rad as my friend Jeff Phillips. For those of you who never got to see him skate in person- damn, sorry for your loss. It was amazing and like I said before- yeah, he ruled a lot of contests, but you should've seen him on a Tuesday afternoon with no one around, no cameras, no crowds, no freaking fear.

Jeff, I love you my friend and we all miss you!!
-ronny

mojo said...

I am 35 now, but I will never forget Jeff Phillips. I bought his skateboard with the big nose many moons ago because of the way he skated, the guy was amazing. I still skate now with my kid, and I wish I had that board again because the boards today are to small for my big feet. That guy was so amazing, he made me attack the half pipes with a ton of aggression. I had no idea he died. I will surely never forget him, he is the one that still makes me skate to this day. God be with you Jeff.

Anonymous said...

I believe the legend was true, at least the man himself told it was....spent some time with Jeff at his skatepark in Dallas, maybe 1992. He allowed me to film his chameleon tattoo, adding a narrative. My hubby at the time was a pal of his....never forgotten it.

Michael said...

Jeff was like a big brother to me - from his park in Dallas to when I would see him skate daily at Wet n Wild in the summer of 1992 (I was 12). My first memory from Jeff Phillips skate park was having Jon Comer fly over my head from one ramp to another - he's amazing. The crew in Dallas was sick - Jeff, Billy, Jon, and so many more. I'm glad to see you're all keeping his memory alive. He was an awesome friend and a legendary skater. When he died, that was the first truly painful loss in my life. RIP bro.

Michael

Anonymous said...

I DIDNT EVEN KNOW JEFF HAD PASSED! I REMEBER MEETING HIM IN DAYTON, OHIO IN 1988. I WAS IN THE 8TH GRADE. I ATTENDED A SKATE CONTEST AT HARA ARENA WHEN A VAN PULLED UP WITH JEFF, BILL DANSFORTH AND MONTY NOLDER. THEY TOOK THE TIME TO TALK WITH US AND SIGN AUTOGRAPHS. IM NOW 36YRS OLD AND STILL REMEBER IT LIKE IT WAS YESTERDAY R.I.P BRO...

Anonymous said...

I used to skate with Jeff back at Skate Times (the Clown Ramp) lives on and Wip n Dip (If anyone remembers that) along with Dan Wilks and John Gibson... Anyone remember little Mikey who skated Zorlac?

Jeff was one of those guys anyone could walk upto and ask advice, he was a great friend and has been missed immensly.

Bill

jeffphillipscousin said...

hello, my name is dylan may. i am jeffs second cousin. and another resson me took his life was because his mom said nothing he ever did was good enough. and i have alote of imformation about jeff that people might find interesting. if u have any queastions please feel free to contact me at allstardylan24@yahoo.com R.I.P JEFF

Anonymous said...

I remember back at the Expo1986 in Vancouver where they had the world skateboard championships I met Tracker Larry (Balma?) and Peggy (Cozens?) on the monorail while trying to get to the competition to watch. I was 16 or so at the time and was absolutely disappointed when they told me that Jeff Phillips was out of the competition because he got a splinter through his foot from the half-pipe. At least that is the story I remember, but the disappointment that I didn't see him skate in person was real. RIP Jeff.

Anonymous said...

the big blue clown ramp yea rememer that i worked in the pizza shop that my friends mom opened at phillips skatepark mike crum tought me how to drop in on the vert ramp he told me bend your knees and lean forword as i was about to drop in he sait but not to forward i remeber hosoi fiying out of the bowl onto the spine ramp it was sick we miss you jeff and it was a sad day when you died

Tim said...

I don't know who wrote this and i didn't read any comments but i would hope at least one stated the truth of Jeff's death. Jeff died of a broken heart not acid. I had sat more than once in Jeff's living room or the tree house and had more than in depth conversations with him about life, drugs, death and suicide. He respected drugs and he would not have let them push him over the edge. Like we said to each other. You do the drug, you don't let the drug do you.

Anonymous said...

The one time I got to see Jeff skate was when he beat Hawk, and I being a huge Phillips fan, a huge fan of all tricks big, fast, burly and loud, not gay, little, or flippy/spinny was ecstatic.... Only to lose a Hero and watch skateboarding take a sad turn. Tony Hawk is a nice guy, but what could have been....

douglas said...

Well ... I am a little late to the party , but for what it's worth. Jeff Phillips was one genuine and great person from what my experience with him tells me. During the Vision skateboard championship in Anaheim Ca in 1986. This was the day he beat Tony after partying all night long with me and Reese Simpson (who won the amateur championship the night before). Yes that crazy sob did do acid and skated like a man and somehow came out in first all told!!! I was there!!! I still cannot believe it as i am telling it. Afterwards, Jeff and his friend Dan Wilkes were selling me on relocating to Dallas - it was like a dream come true to meet my skateboard hero and hang with him during this wild event. I never did move..instead continued my pattern of chasing women from state to state :) I still have my contest program with Jeff's Handwriting on it and the board featured on a thrasher cover that i bought from him for $10 bucks! I wish i could take anyone who misses Jeff back in time to see how he handled himself during this. You would of been proud. It was devastating for me to read about him years later in Rolling Stone Magazine about the sad day. He was a true Hero - i wish there was something that could of been done. Some years later i visited Dallas and laid flowers at his grave. I wish there was more people sharing stories of him...keep his memory alive! Rest In Peace Friend, Thanks for the Inspiration!!!

ebd562cc-e88a-11e0-afd0-000bcdcb471e said...

I randomly found this blog and after reading the comments, felt the need to post. Ronny summed it up best when he described Jeff. Just getting to session with him on a random day, was quite an experience in itself, and he was always hooking up his friends, whether it was free product, or a BBQ at his house.
I also wanted to respond to a post made by Tim. No one said Jeff was on acid when he committed suicide. The original post meant that rumor had it he was on acid when he beat Hawk in that contest back in the day. Also, Jeff didn't die of a broken heart. I was fortunate enough to meet Jeff and become great friends with him in the early 90's, and I was right there when this tragedy unfolded. There were lots of fingers pointed, and lots of rumors were spread. Jeff was stressed out about a lot of things at the time of his death, and he ultimately made a bad decision. It was done spur of the moment, and there was no one cause, that made him do what he did.
R.I.P buddy, we miss you

Backside Five said...

Jeff Phillips grinded harder!

Anonymous said...

First time I saw Jeff skate was at a demo in Houston At Waterworld/Astroworld 1985. It was Phillips, McGill, Gibson, Bob Schmelzer, and some BMX Guys. He came up to me and gave me a Tshirt I still got it. Saw him skate SUAS a few times. I still have pictures of him riding the Kahuna.

Late 1990s went to Austin for the weekend with some friends. We stayed at a buddys house. Partied all weekend. Lastnight we were there. We started talking about skating. I was telling my buddy Jeff was one of my favorites. He opened up a wood trunk in the bedroom. It had a few of Jeff's personal desks and other personal items.. One was from a contest. It had all the pros signatures on it.

Turned out we were staying in Jeffs ex girlfriends house all weekend I didn't even know.

Fucking crazy

Anonymous said...

Jeff...He was an all around great guy who just happened to be "the boy who could fly", Jeff ALWAYS had great respect for girls. He was completely in love with his girlfriend. The break up was hard to watch but we never thought thats why you did it. You wanted only the best for her and I believe she wanted the best for you. You treated everyone as equals and were never full of yourself. We would have loved you even if you had not become the LEGEND that we knew you were at the time. You were always so warm and kind. You influenced my husband to see me as a human being and not just some "chick". Because of your great confidence you were able to show the guys its ok to not be rude and rauchy when the girls were around. You were a true gentleman and just an amazing person. Our sons have grown up hearing about you and that time of our lives we all spent together. They know you were a great friend and a wonderful person, and then as "the boy who could fly". You will always be so much more than some RAD Legend, to those that had the privilege of calling you friend. LH just is not the same without you.


Jules aka Hippie Chick

Anonymous said...

My older sister Alison dated him for 10 yrs 1983-1993
She is the one that's lives in Austin as do I now.
She still has all his decks and just saved them all from a back yard storage fire in 2012.
I looked up too him as a older brother and he even gave me my first real skateboard back in 1984 albeit toys r us version.
They loved each other and he even wanted too marry her
But from some strange reason she didn't want too get married.
I use to go too their house in Dallas and he would teach me skating on the streets and also have throwing knives too throw at a stump in there backyard
They had a bunch of Japanese action figures all over the house .
Now I'm not going too get into the suicide ,but my sister wanted to move too austin and Jeff didn't want too plus his partner at the skate park was stealing money from the establishment.
Last time I saw him we took a snowboard road trip too crested butte Colorado with my family and he taught me how to snowboard I think it was January '93 . That was a fun trip .
After he passed away my sister moved to Austin in 94 same year I went too college there.
I think about him all the time he was a great influence over me in my life.
R.I.P JEFF PHILLIPS