RIP IN PEACE: Pat Quirke

Pat Quire vagabondflatJun03hammeke 2000Grabbin' and grindin' the deep end to stoke out the crew     Photo: Hammeke


Pat Quirke, aka Q, Q-man, Sugar and a bevy of other nicknames, died on January third, 2023. The world has lost a true original, a General in the skate army and a non-stop stoke bringer in the Northwest or wherever he found himself. Pat’s notoriety skyrocketed from his bits in the late-‘90s pool skating film Fruit of the Vine. His manic exhortations and the way he laid it bare—paying in pain, paying your dues, slamming—along with his take-no-shit attitude and original style floored most people who watched it. Before social media and memes, the clip circulated and the legend of Q grew. But Pat had roots that went much deeper. He started skating in the ‘70s and was a fountain of knowledge of that decade. Those of us who were lucky enough to be from Seattle and ride Granny’s then Ranquet’s vert ramps in the ‘80s grew up subjected to his abuse if we were “pinchwimping” or stoke if we landed something new or took a hard slam trying. He was simultaneously motivating and intimidating, always ready to take the comfortable down a notch if they deserved it. But he always cranked up the session. He built shit to skate at his place, played in bands, did zines and was a fierce proponent of all kinds of skateboarding. That also included downhill and simply pushing long distances. I would see him at punk shows with the craziest DIY clothes and Vaseline or whatever in his hair, skating out front and slam dancing inside. We’d street skate around the U-District from bank spot to bank spot, or go on missions looking for pools and other sacred spots. Although they didn’t always bear fruit, the missions were always a blast with Q in the car. He was also the first person I knew who hopped trains to go to far-flung places to skate, something he wrote about in my zine Pool Dust, where he contributed a column for thirty years. His writing was full of life, evocative, uncompromising, captivating, poignant, observant—and frequently hilarious. When Burnside happened, he was there. Same for West Seattle and other DIY spots. He grew into a caretaker/mentor roll under the bridge, helping to regulate when kooks showed up with a lack of respect, heckling, joking, riding, picking up trash and recycling the tin cans. Pat lived by hook or by crook and off the grid. He valued the freedom this lifestyle gave him. Last time I saw him was at Burnside, and he told me a joke I still tell others to this day; “What’s the difference between the Rolling Stones and a Scottish Highlander?” Pat fell out of touch over the past couple of years and struggled with his demons, but I’d hear reports and see photos from friends in Portland when I asked. I always hoped I could see him when I visited. When I heard the news, one of the first people I thought about telling was Hubbard—the two were thick as thieves. Then I thought, Q is already sessioning with him. Our deepest condolences to his family and friends. Ripride, Q man. It’s a go.
Wez Lundry

Help his family and friends with funeral costs by donating to their GoFundMe here.

q and hubbardQ and Monk in paradise      Photo: Lundry

IMG 4182Motivating and intimidating     Photo: Lundry

Q provides the voiceover to the slam section in Fruit of the Vine

It was September, after the summer break of 1976, the first day of 7th grade. My buddy Rick Huber and I skated to school that day, stoked to see our friends and the new girls coming in from other schools. We were hanging by our lockers trying to look cool when this red-haired dude walks through the front doors. I noticed he was packing a board so I gave Rick a nudge and said, “Check this guy out.” As he strutted by with that stern freckled face and steely blue eyes he gave us “the nod,” that nod of approval. We gave him the up and down as he did us. Rick whispered, “Hey, check out his sweet coat,” so I spun to look, and it was a BIKEFACTORY team jacket. It was like a scene out of Dazed and Confused!

Watch the Q Man's full Fruit of the Vine section

Q at the boneLayback at the Bone      Photo: Lundry

Years went by and Pat and I became inseparable. By the middle of high school, we had both worked in some trade of construction and had acquired enough skill to build—and build we did. We had the honor of working on such ramps as Mike Ranquet’s Nature Ramp, Granny’s with Ron Soderstrom, and Curt Benjamin’s aka Dorfo’s Ramp. It all started in ‘79 with the ALD.ED.LY. aka Pat’s Ramp. Scabbed together from construction site scrap piles and a few “midnight plywood supply” runs we finally had something respectable! As it does in western Washington, we fought the wind, rain, snow and piles of fallen leaves, but we got it done. This is where the story comes full circle. It was on one of those windy, rainy days while we were hunkered down under the ramp Pat opened up and told me a story.

Pat said, “Let’s see, I think it was the summer of ‘76. My brother Rich and I were in the back seat of my parents’ car, going to check out our new house. We were both bummed that we had to move, leave our friends behind and move out to what we thought were “the sticks.” Dad had driven about five miles east of where we lived in Edmonds. Dad pulled up to a four-way stop and mom said, "Well, there it is!" All of a sudden I heard a familiar sound, the sound of skateboard wheels, lots of them. I looked to my left and elbowed Rich, “Check it out.” I saw three dudes shootin’ the hill, blowing through the stop sign, and they were headed for the big hill. Rich and I looked at each other and smiled. He said, “Maybe this place won’t be so bad after all!’”
Alan Collins

QMAN 1500 2

Pat Quirke Quotes Although Skating can be refined, it can never be totally controlled

Buddy Coan and friends compiled this tribute to their beloved marine

I loved Skating Q’s ramp. We hit it hard one summer rollin’ up from Seattle to Everett a couple of days a week. It was legit, about 11 feet tall and 24 feet wide, killer backyard dimensions. Instead of taking the layer of masonite off when it got haggard, he just laid a new layer down on top of the old. Fuck it, he just shimmied out the coping out to match it. This technique kind of gave it more vert every time he stacked it, which was rad. There was easily a handful of layers by the time I got to ride it. There were so many screws holding the layer down too. It sounded like machine gun fire in some spots when you rode over it, which I thought was punk rock. Q-man had an “In-Out” list tagged on the side of his ramp. I noticed it had a lot of familiar names on it that made me chuckle. I seem to recall his pal Hanford in particular on the “Out” list a couple times and scratched back on the bottom of the “In” list. I can only imagine the stories involving that list. Of course, you had to bring some kind of offering to ride and help keep yourself off the “Out” list. Weed was a no-brainer. One time, sittin’ on the deck during a sesh, he pointed way up in this tree. Q explained that’s where he kept his weed plants so the neighborhood finks wouldn’t steal them. He had potted plants like 30-plus feet up! I was baffled thinking of him climbing up and down the tree to tend to his babies. Of course, that was privileged intel too. These memories of Q-man surfaced in my head, because It was cool to witness his inner sanctuary. At the time, that was mellow and somewhat serene compared the highly dangerous settings he was accustomed to in his quest to skate on the road.

Pool Dust cover2Frontside grind for the cover     Photo: Lundry

Here are some quotes in Pool Dust from the man himself:

Pool Safari
You might call me a little funny. “Why’s this guy going 2000 miles just to ride a swimming pool?” Well, people thought Perry was crazy to go to the North Pole. If you said you’re going to go climb Mt. Everest, you might be called crazy. I’ll tell you why I am going over 2000 miles across the country, over mountains, rivers and desert, because I’m going to ride the best pool I’ve ever seen. You might label me “crazy,” but now my thoughts say, “I think all of you are crazy.” One man’s potion is another man’s poison. Last time through, this pool had too much water to bucket alone. This time it will be bone dry. The hot Texas sun will have done the work for me. I got derailed a couple of times, but the mission will be a success. Everyone’s got their thing; mine’s finding uncharted skate spots. Building up the pool network and having a good time as I know how. So live out your dreams, and don’t let anything hold you back.”
Pool Dust #17

Snowboard or Skating?
Well, if you want to wait in a lift line and pay $25 for a lift ticket and have to contend with two million other snowboarders on the slopes, then snowboarding is for you. If you want to show off your quad runner and your 500-dollar board with your fancy new 300-dollar boots and your 100-dollar Ray Bans, well, snowboarding is for you. I snowboarded probably before you ever did. I know. If you hate waiting in line, don’t have much cash, don’t own a car, could really give a shit about fashion, skateboarding is for you. Skating is cheaper by far, plus it is a lot more radical than snowboarding. A lot of folks go 50-plus mph on a snowboard, but get ‘em on the asphalt, they might be lucky to go 30. That’s just what I’m saying. Skateboarding is a lot more radical and crazy. Another thing about snowboarding: they do all of these funky skate-type moves like grabbing on an air. What do you need to grab for if you have bindings? Weak as fuck. If you choose snowboarding, at least come up with some original moves. There’s nothing in snowboarding that compares to riding an empty pool. Snow is an easy way out. If you have ever bitten the asphalt at 50+ mph, you know what I am talking about. Snow is like landing on a cushion. Asphalt does not forgive. A lot of snowboarders are just washed up skaters who couldn’t hang with the asphalt intensity. With a skate, you can be out your front door and be on it. Not so with snowboarding. You might have to travel hundreds of miles in shitty weather just to find out it’s icy. Snowboarding is real trendy, all neon and shit. Skateboarding is punk, guts and blood, grinds, abrasions. Leave snowboarding to the yuppies. It’s about on their level. I’m not saying you can’t do some rad shit on a snowboard, but you know it just doesn’t match up to skateboarding. Snowboarding is an easy way to pull air. If you can’t pull air on cement or wood, I guess snow is the next best thing. I’ve paid my dues on both a skateboard and a snowboard. I’ve rode a skateboard for 18 years, and I’ve snowboarded from 1979-1990, and that gives me the right to sound off. This is my own reality. If you don’t like it, tuff. Remember, opinions are like assholes: everybody’s got one. Take the skateboard.
Later, Wrecking Crew”
Pool Dust #18

q man wheelieFrom the pipe to the parking lot, Q knew what to do     Photo: Hammeke

“Skateboarding is not about following the crowd, it’s blazing your own trail.”
Pool Dust #28

“I ride the trains. They get me where I want to go for free. Re-evaluate your life. If you’re part of the problem, change. Don’t sell out. It’s important.”
Pool Dust #14

“You shouldn’t be a pro skater if you can’t grind a pool. Pay your dues, punks. One grind in a pool is better than a million tricks on a mini. Mini’s are a weak attempt to further the skate systems’ profits. Minis are weak. There shouldn’t even be miniramp riders.”
Pool Dust #15

“Don’t conform, step out of the norm.”
Pool Dust #20

“Keep movin’ on to explore new territory as we move through this fast track we call life. Pedal to the metal, truck to the coping. Foot to the asphalt. Metal to the rail. Rubber to the road. You know somewhere, somehow, right as I speak, a chosen few will be skateboarding at this instant. Remember, many were called, few were chosen…”
Pool Dust #20

“It’s time to get our shit together, ‘cause the time is getting short. Better on the lam, than take part in the scam.”
Pool Dust #21

QQSacred knowledge, hangin' tight in a hurricane    Photo: Lundry

“When you’re on the road, you get treated differently, sometimes good, sometimes bad, mostly bad. But that’s okay, I think sometimes people are jealous when they see you out free and not under the control of the system. It makes them realize that they are trapped by the system, so they lash out at you. It’s a natural thing, a kind of reaction. The road is fun; I’m glad I can say I did what I wanted to do with my life. I don’t bow to any man and I don’t expect you to either. The road has bumps, but when you start moving fast, you literally fly over them.”
Pool Dust #22

“Have some respect for the true hardcores who kept this shit going in the ‘80s, in the lean times. You little rugrats were still in diapers when me and my bros were raging. We’ll see if you punks can stick with skating as long as me and my friends. If you think I’m talking shit, you know where I hang out. I’ll take anybody on, anytime. You fuckers know we are down for that. Either write or shut the fuck up. We’ll be doing this long after you’ve sold out for the car, house, pretty-ass job, and wife. So in the meantime, keep your mouths shut and have some respect for the builders.

Captain Quirke, Skate Marines

P.S. The only minis I like are mini-skirts.”
Pool Dust #23

“I didn’t sell out to the sham system, and I’m telling you that you don’t have to either. Pursue your dreams. Search out your visions. It is worth it. Our mission here is not to pad the fat cat’s wallets, it’s to cram your mind with as much information as it will hold. Being a success is not how big your car or wallet is, it’s how much knowledge you have. I’m not into the scene because it’s controlled. I’m into my own trip, right or wrong. It’s what I have to do. To all of you dicks who quit, a big fuck you. You were on the right track then gave it up, that shows what you are all about. Thanks for skating.”
Pool Dust #24

“A skateboard life is a marathon not a sprint. Don’t come to Burnside thinking that you own the place when you never lifted a shovel, never picked up trash, never cleaned a poop out of the bowl. Just ‘cause you skate “good” doesn’t mean you’re a good skater. This is not Hollywood. You’re not a star, just a skater like everyone else. True skaters don’t skate for the mag. True skaters don’t skate for a pat on the back. True skaters skate for themselves. Fuck the system, we don’t skate for them. We skate for us. Don’t stop looking for new skate spots.”
Pool Dust #31

“Skateboarding is not a sport. It is an activity. Some pursue it like a sport. Still others pursue skating like art. Bold new brush strokes on concrete canvas. Who is right? Who is wrong? No one. Skateboarding offers unlimited fun potential. Skateboarding does not need the Olympics. But remember your idea of fun could be someone else’s nightmare day—skateboarding cannot be controlled by the masses. It’s too broad and fluid to be pasteurized and homogenized. Although skating can be refined, it can never be totally controlled.“
Pool Dust #31

Quirke at his rampSlasin' on his hometurf, doin' it for the hardcores. Now get some for the ones who can't     Photo: Lundry
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