A popular San Diego-based skateboarding company is mourning the death of one of its own: a 70-year-old veteran skateboarder killed in a motorcycle crash in Santa Ysabel.
Sector 9 Skateboards posted a tribute on the company’s Facebook page to Victor Earhart – the man who died in a Nov. 25 crash at State Route 79 and State Route 76. According to the California Highway Patrol, Earhart was killed when his motorcycle collided with a Toyota Prius just after 9 a.m. that day. The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s (ME) office later confirmed the impact from the crash caused Earhart to be thrown from his motorcycle. He landed on the roadway and was pronounced dead at the scene.
“Victor worked at Sector 9 for 15 years during which time he performed a number of jobs as well as being a team rider,” Sector 9’s Facebook post read. “Most of all, he was a great ambassador for skateboarding and a legend to many. He was always down to ride skateboards rain or shine, dirt or asphalt. He was very loved by all and will be sorely missed in the skateboard community.”
Sector 9 said it plans to organizer a “skate service” in honor of Earhart, but those details have not yet been released.
Earhart started his career with Sector 9 in 1997. He often helped manufacture skateboards for the company, and would sometimes give them away to pass on the love of the sport.
“He just wanted to stoke people out and I guess he truly was a Santa Claus, because his happiness came through, seeing the joy in other people’s faces,” said Jeff Budro, one of Earhart’s co-workers at Sector 9.
Over his many years with the company, the bearded, gray-haired skateboarder was featured in several Sector 9 videos, including an April 2010 video in which Earhart discussed his longtime passion for the sport.
“The first seven years of my life were wasted. Then I discovered skateboarding – and my life has been downhill ever since,” Earhart said, adding that he had been skateboarding since 1954.
According to the ME, Earhart was born on July 18, 1946 putting him at around seven or eight years old when he rode a skateboard for the first time.
“Did you have fun?” a camera in the Sector 9 video asks Earhart after he skateboards down some dirt terrain, a small dog trailing him.
“You know I had fun!” he replies.
Budro was often the man behind the camera in the videos of Earhart. Once of the short videos is titled “A Side Order of Victor,” and shows young skateboarders hanging out at a local diner, listening to Earhart tell stories – another one of his talents.
“I entertain people with fun stories of my skateboarding experiences while they’re chowing down,” Earhart explains in the clip. “And it seems as though people always leave happier than when they came in.”
Budro told NBC 7 Earhart was an incredible story-teller who became an inspiration to many young skateboarders.
“Anytime he was around kids – enthusiasts – he would tell his stories and people would just sit there in awe, and just listen to him and the way he worded it, and everything was just so intriguing because your were just like, ‘Wow, you went through that?’” said Budro.
Budro said the sport was a lifelong passion for Earhart and he was a fixture of the skateboarding world.
“Victor was a very passionate skateboarder. It kept him young mentally. He always said you’d grow old once you stopped skateboarding. And if you keep skateboarding, you’re going to mentally stay young,” said Budro.
Dennis Telfer, another one of Earhart’s Sector 9 co-workers, said Earhart also loved motorcycles, and owned eight of them. Telfer and Budro said there’s some comfort in knowing that Earhart died doing one of the things he loved to do.
Telfer said Earhart will be sorely missed by the community and his friends.
“It's a sad day in skateboarding, just to have the loss of such a legend and someone that was just a great ambassador for the sport,” said Telfer.
In addition to social media tributes, Sector 9 dedicated this “Legends Never Die” photo essay to Earhart on its website, which shows him in his natural element: barreling down hills on his skateboard, often with an ear-to-ear smile as he did what he loved to do.
Earhart’s co-workers said that despite the skateboarder’s risky rides, Earhart never broke a bone skateboarding until last year – at the age of 69.