‘Skate family’ pays tribute after sudden death of gifted 19-year-old Winnipeg skateboarder

In his short life, Tyson Hobson’s skills shredding Winnipeg skateparks earned him a reputation as a talented up-and-comer in the city’s skate scene with a mean hard flip.

And on Friday, nearly 100 members of that community gathered with his family at the West Broadway Community Organization skatepark for a memorial skate to say goodbye.

“He was in a good skate family and I appreciate everything that they’re doing,” his mother Melanie Hobson said as skateboarders whizzed by. “I miss him a lot.… He died too early.”

Her son Tyson died on Tuesday at the age of 19. His family said his passing was sudden and unexpected, and preferred not to share the cause of death.

Melanie Hobson holds up a sweater with a photo of her son and the message ‘rest easy’ on one side. The other side said ‘Long live hard flip God,’ a reference to a skateboarding trick he was known for. (Bryce Hoye/CBC)

Melanie said her son was fun to be around and had a silly side. It’s hard to find a photo of him with a straight face.

He had his struggles but skating always seemed to help him through, she said.

“He got really depressed after his brother passed away … and he found this as an outlet and he stayed with it,” she said.

Sienna Jackson says she’ll always remember Hobson for his accepting, funny and loving nature. (Bryce Hoye/CBC)

His partner Sienna Jackson, 18, said it was healing to be in the presence of so many in the local skate community who turned up to give Hobson a proper sendoff.

The pair had been together for the past three years but met six years ago at school.

“We started skipping class together,” Jackson said with a laugh. “He was really kind-hearted and protective, he was always so funny. He always had something to say to make somebody laugh … even if it was the hardest of times.”

Tyson loved people, too, she said.

“It really helps being around the skate family, a lot,” she said. “A lot of people knew him.… He left a huge impact, I believe, of unconditional love.”

Blaine Everett says he’ll remember his friend for his openness to others. (Bryce Hoye/CBC)

He was also known for his shredding skills.

Blaine Everett met Tyson at a skatepark and said he was known for his hard flips and nollie hard flips.

Someone at the event presented a sweater to his mother with the words “Long live hard flip God” on the front, and a photo of Tyson on the back.

“He was a really thoughtful, caring person,” said Everett.

Geoff Reimer says Hobson was one of the best skaters in the city. He’s still in shock his friend is gone. (Bryce Hoye/CBC)

Geoff Reimer also says Tyson’s gnarly hardflip set him apart.

Reimer was working at The Edge Skatepark when Tyson came in one day six years ago at the age of 13 when he was just getting started.

Tyson soon became a regular. The pair grew quite close.

“Tyson — and I have good authority to say this — was one of the best skaters that Winnipeg’s ever seen. He just could do everything,” said Reimer. “Incredibly naturally talented, gifted skateboarder.”

Members of the local skate community signed this picture of Tyson Hobson at a memorial skate for the 19-year-old on Thursday. (Bryce Hoye/CBC)

Reimer recalls Tyson as a strong young man. He was stunned this week to learn he’d no longer get to skate next to him.

“I’m losing some of the shock that I’m in but … when someone that young passes, it’s a shock. He’ll definitely be missed,” said Reimer. “Just a great kid.”

Tyson’s mother said one thing she hopes people remember about Hobson is his resilience.

“Find an outlet you’re good at and push through it, somehow.”

An online fundraising campaign had raised over $2,800 as of Friday night to cover funeral costs.

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