Who was Jeff Grosso? A primer on the skateboarding legend


For many years, Jeff Grosso lived and breathed skateboarding, spreading his ardour for the game in individual and in his digital collection “Loveletters to Skateboarding.” His family and friends recall his ardour, his character and what made him a skateboarding legend.

Almost a year after his death, here’s a primer on his influential life:

How good was Jeff Grosso?

A Southern California native born in 1968, Grosso grew to become one of many high skilled skate boarders throughout the sport’s recognition growth within the late Nineteen Eighties. He turned professional in 1986, at solely 17 years outdated. He competed in occasions all over the world, acknowledged as one of many stars of skateboarding’s “vertical” type — outlined by half-pipes, empty swimming swimming pools and aerial tips.

Grosso was by no means thought of the highest competitor in skateboarding throughout that point, lagging behind Tony Hawk, Christian Hosoi and some others. However he was one of the vital widespread, largely as a result of his private type — which featured fewer gravity-defying huge air tips, however perfected method on expertise any newbie skater may strive on their very own — rather more intently mimicked what skaters across the nation would see at their very own native skatepark.

His profession didn’t final, although, flaming out on the finish of the last decade as avenue type skating — a self-discipline the place tips are carried out off city obstacles akin to staircases, benches and handrails — grew to become the preferred type of skateboarding within the early ’90s.

What occurred after his professional profession?

Like many different skaters of his technology, Grosso struggled with dependancy and melancholy throughout the ’90s. He had a heavy consuming drawback, then started utilizing methamphetamine and heroin. Thrice, he was rushed to the hospital with none very important indicators after overdosing. Not less than twice, as he described in interviews later in his life, he deliberately tried to overdose.

However in 1997, he started a rehab course of. Although it took eight years earlier than he lastly achieved sobriety, he talked about his struggles brazenly in a method that resonated with others within the sport battling the identical points.

In 2011, he started internet hosting the “Loveletters to Skateboarding” collection, a group of mini-documentaries designed as on-camera tributes to numerous subjects within the sport’s historical past and tradition.

He grew to become a well-known face at skating occasions throughout the sport’s recognition growth over the previous twenty years, rekindling outdated friendships and constructing new connections with the latest technology of rivals.

And he grew to become a dad to his son, Oliver, who made frequent appearances on his YouTube present and was the primary subject Grosso would need to discuss when catching up with associates.

How did he die?

Grosso died unexpectedly March 31, 2020, after being rushed to Hoag Hospital in Newport Seaside in cardiac arrest. The Orange County Sheriff-Coroner’s workplace later decided his cause of death as acute polydrug intoxication as a result of mixed results of fentanyl and phenobarbital. His dying was dominated an accident.

It’s unclear how the phenobarbital, a barbiturate typically used to deal with seizures and anxiousness, or fentanyl, a robust artificial opioid much like morphine however 50 to 100 occasions stronger, bought in Grosso’s system. Fentanyl, which has turn into one of many main culprits in drug-caused deaths during the last 5 years within the Los Angeles space and different components of the nation, is usually current in counterfeit capsules.

Regardless of the way of his dying — one in every of a number of drug-related deaths which have rocked the skateboarding world lately — associates are adamant that Grosso hadn’t reverted to the harmful habits that derailed his life many years earlier.

The game mourned his passing. Hawk known as him “a giant cause that anybody really cares” about skateboarding. And Vans hosted a digital memorial together with a few of skateboarding’s different largest stars, all describing why Grosso — regardless of his brief professional profession and the numerous ups and downs in his life — was such an important voice of their sport.


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