Hard as it may be, there are forces missing from our ranks.

Not just the names in the captions and not just the autographs on the bottoms of boards, on the tongues of shoes, on the covers of video boxes. Every day we pass on-brothers, sisters, friends, and all. The unknown, the un-infamous, the uninitiated, the underground.

We all shuffle off this mortal coil. Then the graves are dug, the caskets are lowered, and there’s a short, hastily edited paragraph printed in the local paper. Survivors mentioned, schools mentioned, age mentioned. Only the truly close mention the skateboarder in the dead. But when this sound is heard, smiles buoy the bowed heads and secrets are recalled, times revisited, and thoughts turn to the trunks of cars, the corners of garages, the underneaths of beds, silently considering, “Where is my skateboard right now?”

The skaters in the following pages are not the only ones to be missed over the past twenty years. They aren’t even a tiny sliver of those who have passed in that time, but they were our bridges, our tunnels, our vehicles tying us-all skateboarders-closer together.

In their absence we move on, considering other routes, pulling our boards out from their sleepy corners, and riding forward to the inevitable, pretending to evade the inescapable, and laughing off the teardrops when the memories come flooding in all at once.

We miss you guys, and God willing, we’ll see you all soon. But hopefully not too soon.-K.W.