Photo by Jim Gray
Imagine being a teen and skateboarding and music were all you knew. Ok, throw in some 80’s basketball as well. You went everywhere on your Varifelx El Gato board, complete with rails and a Tail Bone (there may or may not have been a Lapper on it too). You cherished that thing after your uncle bought it for you over at Freedom Surf Shop in Long Beach Island. Although you weren’t the greatest ramp skater, you gave it your all, busting your ass and having a good time along the way. Between Run DMC and Agent Orange, you rode half pipes like the Timbers ramp (with that tombstone extension that you were in awe when a local kid like Steve Boyer could get three wheels off) and were glued to VCR tapes from Bones Brigade and Vision. You also watched a show that you could relate to, it was called Sk8 TV. The co-host, Skatemaster Tate was a lovable guy, who went on to become royalty in the skateboarding industry. You were glued to that show. Fast forward years later and you connect with the guy on social media. You both shared a love for 45 records. When he got in touch with me through a direct message, I was totally blown away. Not only was I transported back to a time when the only thing I cared about was kicking and pushing my skate, but of piling into a car with a bunch of dudes, skating a new spot, and just having fun. Tate and I exchanged messages frequently through Instagram about funk 45s, latin heaters, and plenty of soul. It was definitely cool to have a dude like that reaching out to you, and to also find out that he was a huge vinyl guy as well (Apparently he had been into rare grooves and records for quite sometime, selling off some records to known heavyweights). Along with records, the photos of skateboarding memorabilia he put up, band flyers, etc. were second to none. I mean, when is the last time you saw multiple colors of Powerflex wheels? Top notch. I had no idea that he was sick, so when I heard the news, I was blown away. Rest In Power to a role model and influence on more than one generation of skateboarders, and an ambassador to the culture. They do not make them like Gerry Hurtado, and I was really honored to have connected with the guy through our shared love of skateboarding and scratchy 45 records. Sometimes someone who reaches you one way as a youth comes right back and touches you again in your adult life. I’m sad we never traded those 45s Tate, but I’m sure you’re jamming to some funky tunes on your longboard on another level. Our condolences go out to his family and the skate community.
A GoFundMe account was set up to help Gerry’s mother with the expense of in-home care, but now the funds will be put towards his funeral expense.
Long live Skatemaster Tate, a one of a kind dude.