In the early 80s, when skateboarding was just beginning to climb back into the public eye, the sport survived thanks to a handful of quality vert ramps and sporadic backyard pools. Street skating was emerging as a style in its own right, the focus was on vert, and the few remaining skateparks were on their way out. So skaters who wanted to have a regular place to ride were forced to build their own.
In the San Francisco East Bay community of San Leandro, Joe Lopes became well known for his family’s amazing twenty-foot-wide vert ramp (large at the time), his ballsy skate style, and infectiously fun personality. Joe was a character, loved having friends over for rampside barbeques, and even hosted the first backyard pro jam-format contest–Joe’s Ramp Jam–in 1983.
As skateboarding grew through the 80s, Joe found himself on the infamous Schmitt Stix team with a signature board and a sponsor that sent him to skate other amazing ramps all over the world. He also rode for Venture Trucks, Speed Wheels, Op, and Rector.
Even though skateboarding itself outgrew Joe’s rampyard (it literally covered every square inch between the fence and his garage, and the crawlspace under the deck was filled with a mini ramp), he built the sport a venue at a critical time in our history, and contributed his own brilliant hue to skateboarding’s colorful collective personality.
In March Joe was killed in an auto accident, leaving a wife and five children. He didn’t have life insurance, and Joe’s friends and many former sponsors have stepped up to help build a trust fund for Joe’s kids. Companies and individuals are encouraged to help a family who supported skateboarding when our sport needed it most, and donations in any amount are appreciated and are tax-deductible.
Donations can be sent to Central Sierra Bank and directed to the following account:
Rick Lopes FBO Joe Lopes
Account Number: 07-111487-21
Central Sierra Bank
3505 Spangler Lane, Suite 300
Copperopolis, California 95228
ATTN: Joe Lopes Fund
RT Number 12-11387-41
Central Sierra Bank
373 West Charles Street
San Andreas, California 95249