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Jeff Grosso: A Bridge Between Generations

Antihero Skateboards Canada Online Sales Vancouver PickupJeff Grosso was special. I think that goes without saying. One of the old guard who successfully bridged the generational gap that exists within skateboarding.

Born in Arcadia California April 28th 1968, Jeff dedicated his life to the craft. Winning his first contest at age 12, Grosso was noticed early. First sponsored at the age of 14 by Variflex, Grosso quickly climbed the amateur ranks. Meeting lifelong friends Lance Mountain and John Lucero at SkateCity, Jeff fell into the freaks and geeks crowd of skating . After Variflex’s demise in 1984 Jeff was quickly scooped up by Santa Cruz. Unfortunately his first stint at SC was short lived. Enticed over to Powell by Stacey Peralta on a promise that Lance Mountain would be spearheading the brand.

By 1985 Grosso was one of the top amateurs in skateboarding. Appearing in Powell’s “Future Primitive”, specifically the “Lance’s Ramp Jam” section, it quickly established him as a household name in skating. While riding for Powell, Grosso soon began to be at odds with Stacey Peralta.

Feeling as though he should already be pro, a dispute over the matter caused him to quit Powell. Feeling like he was lost in the giant operation that Powell was in 1985, Grosso followed Lucero over to Schmitt Stix. Schmitt Stix had recently been founded by Paul Schmitt under Vision and was known for pushing skateboard shapes to new limits. Around the time Jeff joined Schmitt Stix he also began to adopt the punk lifestyle, buying into what he called the “Duane Peters lie”.

Beginning to party a lot, his relationship with Lucero began to fracture and by 1987 he had quit Schmitt Stix. Grosso found himself back at NHS in no time and was at the peak of his career. Being back on SC at one of its heights and having a popular pro model poured gas on the already burning party lifestyle Grosso began to live. Over the next few years Grosso had a number of notable graphics for Santa Cruz, however by 1989 his relationship with Rich Novak began to falter.

Grosso had slowly began to rekindle his relationship with Lucero over the years. After leaving SC on rocky terms, Grosso wanted to be on a company with friends again. John, being one of his closest friends, had recently started Lucero LTD which was also originally distributed by NHS. Having both just exited the building, Grosso joined Lucero LTD in 1989, his first graphic being a nod to his Schmitt Stix graphic. By 1991 Lucero LTD had transformed into Black Label. With street skating coming in and skateboarding dying overnight, the glory days of ramps and big checks were over.

After working odd jobs over the years, Grosso got sober in 2005 and started participating in the Bowl Masters Contest series. Grosso stayed on Black Label until 2011,  eventually landing on Vans and Antihero.

Grosso compared his asking to get on Antihero as a “shout to the mountain tops”. Antihero took a vote and voted Grosso on. His first ad read “Heavy set mid ’80s Vert Skateboarder wanted”. In 2012 Grosso became a father when his son Oliver was born.

With a resurgence in his career, Vans offered him an online show with Rick Charnoski And Buddy Nichols. Rick and Buddy had recently done Tent City with Antihero, a project that is beloved amongst skate nerds.

The show, titled “love letters to Skateboarding” was centered around Grosso’s ability to rant, with a central topic given to each episode. Referred to as “The Letters” by fans and community members, it ran till Grosso’s untimely passing in 2020.

Over the years Grosso had become the link between generations in skateboarding thanks to The Letters.

He brought inclusivity to the table and spoke up for those who couldn’t; Grosso championed the weird and wacky and wasn’t afraid to speak his mind. Jeff was beloved amongst the entire community and his loss will be felt for decades to come, if not indefinitely. Tuck your knees kids, tuck your knees.

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