some good words from max schaaf about a dear friend.
from max's blog...
it's been ten years since we
this is how i tell it:
i probably met Curtis when i was 14.
he came to skate our ramp in the old
(phoenix iron works building) in w.oakland.
what i remember is him skating a longboard,
it was a schmitt stix yard stick and he had
on some weird rector pads that had a trippy
zebra polka type pattern on em. at the time
both those things bothered me. cause i was
a punk and thought the only reason people
rode longboard was to get attention.
why would you ride a board that made it harder
to skate? and the pads just were too ugly.
anyway.... curtis dropped in and he was
about the sketchiest skater i had ever seen.
his feet were all over the place...he wasn't
cheating with the longboard or trying to get
attention....it was a tool for survival.
Curtis slammed so hard that day... in fact
he slammed about 5 times that day. hard slams,
the kind that took most skaters out. Every time
he rose from a slam he had this wide eyed,twisted
smirk on his face. he liked it.
So at a time when Jake let no one skate our
ramp, Curtis was always allowed. Because Jake
loved to see people slam and Curtis slammed
everytime! Sometimes it looked like Curtis would
slam just to make Jake happy.... and he probably
About eight years later i built a new ramp.
it was in my mom's warehouse. I was 23 at the
time and all i did was skate. Everyday. In the
bay area at this time there were no good ramps.
I figured if i built this bad ass ramp all these
insane sessions would go down.... nope. The ramp
was too big for most. i was probably to intense
about skating for most and at that time people
were just either not interested or to scared to
skate vert. i mean people came....but not daily.
.....well aside from CURTIS. like loyal dog
he showed up twice a week to get his beatings.
and times had changed he rode a normal fucking
skateboard. It was a strange dichotomy. Ten
years younger than Curtis I'm trying switch kick
flip indys and he trying to frontside airs. Make
no mistake...Curtis ripped! He was a nut and would
rarely bail off his board. He was no pussy. He just
skated his way... crazy frontside grinds, and
disasters and what ever else he could get away with.
In a big session Curtis would get loud screams of
approval from all onlookers and all of us... probably
some of the loudest. mostly because he made it so
obvious that his skating came from his heart. pure and
true. all him, all his style.
For the next four years Curtis and i skated together.
Day in and day out. Sometimes we would just end up
talking for hours on top of the ramp. He became
a friend and big brother to me... in a time in my
life that i was so obsessed with skating i had become
somewhat lost and lonely.. he pulled me out.
On the day Curtis died we had all got together
to skate for a friend matt who had taken his life
a few days before..it had been a rough time for us.
Curtis's longtime friend and one of my east bay
heros Ruben Orkin had lost his life to cancer 11
months before at the age of 29. Curtis had taken
one of his usual hairball runs and was walking
off the ramp.. suddenly he stopped and sank down
onto the ramp. he died right there. in front of
all of us. the bottom picture below: green shirt,
red pool coping.... that's Curtis's last run last
frontside grind, at least here in this life.
something with his brain told his heart to
stop. like so many others i lost my bro that night.
not to drugs,gangs, or suicide, just like someone
flipped a switch. he was gone.
we miss you so much man.
think about you all the time.