Kurtis Colamonico with his Skate Kids circa unknown. Photo courtesy of Tim Colamonico.

Kurtis Colamonico, a former professional skateboarder known for influencing a new generation of skaters in Long Beach through his business Skate Kids, died Sunday, his family announced. The cause of his death was not immediately revealed. He was 38.

“It’s tough obviously,” Kurtis’ father, Tim Colamonico said in an interview with the Post. “It’s really tough … but we’ll get through it, we’re a strong family.”

Kurtis was born on Aug. 11, 1984, at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. His father says that by the time Kurtis was a toddler, he was already exhibiting signs that he was meant for greatness.

“He was a go-getter right off the bat,” Tim said. “He was doing wheelies on a tricycle at 3 years old and surfing.”

But skateboarding was his escape, his father said. Kurtis grew up shredding some of the Long Beach and Orange County skate parks as a kid before his big breakthrough in the 2000s allowed him to travel the world with his friends making demos and competing in contests doing what he loved.


Throughout his career, he wore his love for skateboarding on his sleeve and his hometown of Long Beach all over his torso, where he bore large tattoos of some of the city’s landmarks.

“I just knew what I wanted to do,” Kurtis said in a 2010 interview while reminiscing about how he would sneak out of his house when he was 11 and ride the bus to the skate parks. “I used to flip the bike racks at lunchtime and skate the bike racks and get in trouble every day. I just put all my time and effort [into skateboarding], and you know, it just shows you, if you really want something, you’ll get there.”

But when his first child, Kruz, was born, his focus changed.

“He opened up my eyes to teaching other kids because I was getting older and knew I couldn’t skate forever,” Kurtis told the Post in 2018 about the birth of his son. “I’d always wanted to be a teacher, so when I was thinking about what I could fall back on, I figured why not teach what I love?”

In 2011, Kurtis created Skate Kids, a skateboarding tutoring business where he taught children in after-school programs, group lessons and camps how to skate.

Through Skate Kids, Kurtis shared the lessons he learned as a professional skateboarder with his students, trying to inspire a new generation of children to be just as passionate about skateboarding as he was.

“It’s really just about not giving up, which is the same thing I preach to the kids and the same thing I did during my skateboarding career,” Kurtis said in 2018. “I’ve watched a lot of people get so close to breaking ground following their dreams, but then they go back to working a 9-to-5 because they need it at that moment. Skateboarding taught me to live through that struggle in order to succeed. It’s been a lot of learning, working and focusing, but I get to see hundreds of kids smiling and skateboarding now because of it.”

Those who knew Kurtis say there were three things he loved: skateboarding, his family and Long Beach.

On the super-rare occasion when Kurtis wasn’t skating, he was spending time with his family, sometimes throwing the Frisbee around with his father and two brothers at the park.

On Saturday, Kurtis spent the day at the beach. He brought his surfboard with him and had a fun time with his family, his father said. On Sunday, his family discovered that he had died in his sleep overnight.

In the days since his passing, the skateboard community has been mourning and honoring Kurtis through online posts.

“Kurtis was a good dude with a heart the size of Long Beach,” photographer and author Pete Thompson said on his Instagram dedicated to his photos that chronicle 1990s skate culture, an era of skateboarding that has inspired the likes of great skaters such as Colamonico.

In a short and heartfelt post on Thrasher Magazine’s website, the veteran filmmaker Joe Krolick wrote: “If there was one constant thing in Kurtis’ life it was skateboarding. If you ever were in his presence, you could feel his infectious excitement for it.”

A GoFundMe page was set up by Colamonico’s family to cover the cost of funeral expenses. It has raised $14,857 as of Thursday, exceeding the $7,000 goal.

Kurtis’ family says they will hold a celebration of life gathering at 10 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 11, at El Dorado Skate Park in his honor. 

‘A dream come true:’ former pro skater brings his skills to kids in Long Beach