We are extremely sad to write that we lost our friend C.J. Tambornino this weekend.
We were shocked when we heard the news, and have been saddened to know that someone we were both close to, especially in our formative teenage years, had been taken from us.
For those who knew him even a little, it was without question that C.J. had a positive attitude. We’re talking Tony Robbins level positivity, the type of mindset that people go to seminars to try to achieve. It didn’t matter if he had to find a ride across town or if he had a lot on his mind, no matter what type of adversity he encountered, he always made sure that you were having a good time. Case in point: C.J. would always get way more excited about your tricks than his own, even though they were never even as close to as good as his. See The Call of C.J. for many illustrated examples of this phenomenon.
Among those who were lucky enough to be friends with him, he was known for his exuberant personality. He’d always have his mind on adventure, whether it was convincing a friend to catch a wild rabbit with his bare hands, or filling up a plastic bag full of water and drinking it with a straw because he was thirsty. Even when we were camped out in a mini van at 1:30AM on a cold Minnesota night, waiting to skate the only indoor spot in town, he’d start making up words to whatever song was on the radio just to make you laugh.
This eccentricity often found a way into his appearance. He always wore the shiniest Nikes available, and took great pride in his shoe selection. He is definitely the only white guy we’ve ever met who could rock FUBU sweatpants with aplomb, and he will always be remembered for growing out his naturally highlighter orange beard. Also, if you were skating in 2002 you may remember that he dressed up like a girl for a Halloween screening of the Zero video Dying to Live. That took some huevos.
Then there’s the thing the world knew him for: his skill on a skateboard. If you ever saw him skate, you don’t need us to explain to you how gifted he was. He quickly went from our friend who was really good (learned tricks with you and figured out how to do them switch in the same day), to local video star (check out his parts in Boondoggle and Midwest Marauders for reference) to getting hooked up by Almost. He switch 360 flipped a triple set, he no-complied over a picnic table, and he routinely did flip tricks that left everyone scratching their heads.
C.J. Tambornino was a key figure in both of our lives, a kid with the best attitude imaginable and a flair that was all his own. He was a great human being and a genius on a skateboard.
He will be dearly missed.
Those looking to make a donation towards C.J.'s memorial can do so here.