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Farewell to Pablo ‘P-Spliff’ Ramirez: San Francisco Gives and Takes Away

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In many ways, the streets of San Francisco helped shape Pablo “P-Spliff” Ramirez – as the birthplace and current home of Thrasher Magazine, our city by the Bay has influenced would-be skaters from all over the world. Ironically, it was also the streets of San Francisco that took Pablo’s life.

News hit Tuesday afternoon that a skateboarder was struck and killed by a commercial truck on SOMA’s Seventh Street. Harsh as the initial headline was, widespread devastation came shortly after it was discovered that the skateboarder was none other than Ramirez of the GX-1000 crew.

Ramirez hailed from New York but found his niche with GX-1000 and specifically on the hills of San Francisco. He, like the rest of the group, was best known for the speed in which he bombed the city’s famously steep streets. Each member of the team is fearless and borderline insane with the inclines and tricks they attempt – Ramirez was a maniac in good company.

Ryan Gershell, a skate filmer who founded GX-1000, discussed the balls it takes to do what they do in a city that grows increasingly dangerous for skaters, with less laid back residents moving in and more temperamental ride-share vehicles on the road. Although San Francisco has been a breeding ground and homing pigeon for skater culture, Gershell notes the tech boom and priority shifts since he showed up in 2008. Gershell told GQ:

“It’s so insane how much money is involved with this place, and how much poorer, but how much happier, skateboarders are than the rich people.”

From all accounts, Ramirez embodied the happy skateboarder stereotype Gershell referred to.

As skateboarders converged in mourning on Seventh and Howard streets in the hours after his death, it was apparent Ramirez had become an integral part of the community by the young age of 26. He was a bright light in the talent he possessed and in the way he lifted those around him.

It is tragic that Pablo Ramirez died so soon, but at least he went doing what he loved most, on the streets that both inspire and take so much from those who choose to ride them.

Roll on, P-Spliff…

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Ryan Gershell moved to San Francisco in 2007.

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Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Journalist, editor, student, single mom to a pack of wolves, foodie, music lover, resident smart ass, and champion of vulgarity and human kindness.