The Minnesota skate scene lost a legend over the weekend. Long time OG and past team rider CJ Tambornino has passed away. Mike Munzenrider (read below) was able to put into words what the Twin Cities skate community is feeling. RIP CJ, we already miss you.
There is also a gofundme set up to help his family with the expenses. Please go donate here if you can.
From Mike Munzenrider:
CJ Tambornino was an outsize personality and an audacious skater. From the huge rad beard he grew once he was able to quit his job at McCormick and Schmick’s and focus on skating full time, to his trick selection — nobody knows for sure what it was, but wasn’t it a nollie 360 bigger spin triple flip? — the dude stood out based on style and skill.
He was a skate rat. Back when he was 12 or 13, it happened more than once, he’d be traversing the 26 blocks of East Lake Street from his house to get to the old 3rd Lair and get jumped. He was never all that phased, he’d dust himself off and skate.
I was 18 or 19 and working at the Lair. He was endearingly annoying, the prototypical shop-lurking kid you had a hunch would end up ripping, the kid who’d always challenge the guy working the counter to a game of SKATE, who had a chance of winning.
An image from that era to which I always return is him skating with an above-the-elbow cast, yellow Supernatural shirt and weird wicker hat, flicking nollie bigspin flips over the hip — style and skill.
It was either Jamiel Nowparvar or Mike Guy, two guys who know a thing or two about positivity, who said CJ put the “G” in genuine. He was humble, even though a part of what made his skating so electrifying was a certain cockiness on board —and no humble man thinks he can do the shit CJ did on a regular basis.
CJ is nothing short of a legend in Minneapolis skateboarding — one of the few who can legitimately claim to be from the city —and an argument could be made a plaque should be placed at The Marbles to memorialize the three-trick wonders he put together there. Or else the old Science Museum triple-set should just be knocked down, since CJ already laid waste to it, anyway.
CJ was 30 years old when he died this week. His death is marked by deep sadness and tinged by anger. Skateboarding and all his friends are better off for having him.