The unexpected death of Shogo Kubo, 54, one of the original members of the Zephyr surf shop’s Z-Boys skateboarding team formed in Venice in 1975, is being mourned throughout the skateboarding world.
Kubo, who lived in Hawaii Kai, had been paddleboarding off Portlock Point when other surfers found him unresponsive at a surf spot known as Seconds at 8:30 a.m. on June 24, according to The Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
He was treated at the beach by Emergency Medical Services personnel and was pronounced dead at 8:53 a.m. Honolulu police said they did not consider the death suspicious.
The Z-Boys are credited with pioneering a new wave of skateboarding with their moves, some borrowed from surfing, that featured aerials and other tricks, and also started skateboarding in empty swimming pools, according to ESPN.com.
Their story was told in the 2001 documentary “Dogtown and Z-Boys” by Stacy Peralta, a member of the original team, and in the 2005 dramatic feature “Lords of Dogtown,” written by Peralta, which starred the late Heath Ledger. Kubo was played by professional skateboarder Don Nguyen.
The team was started by Jeff Ho, Craig Stecyk and Skip Engblom. Original members included Jim Muir, Jay Adams, Tony Alva, Bob Biniak, Chris Cahill, Paul Constantineau, Peggy Oki, Nathan Pratt, Wentzle Ruml IV and Allen Sarlo.
Oki, who was inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame in 2012, told Xgames.com, “All that I can say is that with reverence my heart is heavy in the loss of Shogo, a brother with a big heart.”
Mörizen Föche of Thrasher Magazine said, “The skateboarding world took a huge hit to its soul … with the loss of ’70s skate maestro Shogo Kubo. For the skateboarders deeply into hardcore skateboarding during the mid-’70s, the name and iconic images of Shogo Kubo stood out like lightning amidst the skateboard legends of the day. As a stand-out member of the original Z-Boys line-up, hundreds of thousands of fans around the world eagerly sought out the quiet and mighty skateboarder.
“Native born of Japan, his path led him to the streets of Dogtown, where fortune brought him to skate on Team Zephyr, the most famous band of brothers ever to rise out of skateboarding. His legend entered our imaginations, completely tucked and stylish, Shogo-dripped style. Just look at any photograph of him slicing across the tiles and coping. He attacked frontside carves like a rampaging locomotive, and his laybacks were like butter.
“Many were the skaters who dreamed they could possess but just one drop of his style, and for decades, many would emulate it, as close as they possibly could.
“Gracious, supportive, and generous with his great big smile, Shogo exuded a brand of friendship and warmth to those who met, or got to know him, shall never forget … As a form of salute to a great force, do this. The next time you step on board, throw down the gnarliest grind that you can, and bark the sh*t out of those trucks. Make it loud enough for him to hear. Let him know, that you know, and you remember. Hail and farewell, Shogo.”
Darren Wells, who handles sales for Dogtown, posted on dogtownskate.com, “R.I.P. my friend. Master of the lay back, style for miles, father, legend. The worldwide skate community has lost an original. You will be missed. Never forget.”
Christian Hosoi, author of “HOSOI: My Life as a Skateboarder Junkie Inmate Pastor,” first met Kubo at the age of 7. “Hearing about my mentor and idol Shogo Kubo passing away … took me back to that place of gratitude and humility,” Hosoi posted on Facebook. “Having had Shogo in my life at that precise time, 1978-81, really molded me to take my passion and love for skateboarding to where I’m at today.
“I am fortunate to have had him lead me and guide me to know the ropes of the purity, passion, style, power and gracefulness of skateboarding …
“May God’s love and grace comfort all of our hearts during this difficult time of saying goodbye to one of the greatest and most influential skateboarders of all time.
“I was blessed to have him as my big brother. There are so many stories that keep flooding my mind!!! Seems like yesterday that Shogo said to me, ‘Get up there and do it in the back keyhole!!??’ I never looked back after that very day!!! Forever thankful … I miss him greatly.”