Friends, Family Remember Longboarder as Brilliant, Loving

Eric PedersenThose that held longboarder Eric Pedersen near and dear to their hearts are still trying to process his sudden and shocking death.

Pedersen, 20, was longboarding on Glendora Mountain Road south of East Fork Road the morning of March 20 when he travelled too fast on a blind curve, swerved into oncoming traffic and was killed after being run over by a dump truck.

According to a friend identified as Louis, Pedersen skidded to avoid rocks on the road and unfortunately swung wide into the opposite lane.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Pedersen had a fellow skater in front and another behind him, with a friend trailing behind in a van.

His mother and father were still too heartbroken to speak with GCN, but 24-year-old brother Stephen Pedersen was able to tell us a bit about Eric.

“Eric was by far the most intelligent person I ever knew. He never had anything to say bad about anyone,” Stephen said.

Pedersen, a native of Clayton, went to Clayton Valley High School and eventually became a student at University of California at Irvine to study mechanical engineering. He is a third-year student there and began working at UC Irvine’s National Fuel Cell Research Center.

Fellow skaters at UC Irvine held a candlelight vigil for Pedersen the night of his death.

UCI Skateboarders

Photo courtesy of the UCI Longboarders Facebook page.

Stephen defends his brother’s sport, saying he never would have taken a chance with something that would result in serious injury or death and that he always planned his longboarding adventures and wore the appropriate gear.

“As kids, I picked on him more than I care to admit, and yet he always came back to play and hangout. And anytime he got into some new hobby, he made it his life. For example, he decided he wanted to build an electric bass from scratch and he spent months planning and building the best bass I’ve ever seen,” Stephen said.

For his girlfriend, 23-year-old Sarah Moore, Pedersen’s death is still too much to understand.

“He was the most genuinely happy, passionate, loving person,” Moore said. “He was brilliant, he had such a bright future and so much potential.”

Photo courtesy of Eric Pedersen's Facebook page.

Photo courtesy of Eric Pedersen’s Facebook page.

Pedersen spent the night with Moore in Los Angeles, then left for GMR around 5 a.m. to skate with friends. He planned on driving back to Clayton to spend time with family after completing finals and spring break in full swing. All his belongings remained packed in his car, ready for the journey to Clayton.

The day Pedersen died was the four year and 10 month anniversary for the couple.

Glendora Mountain Road was apparently familiar territory for Pedersen, who skated down GMR’s winding turns many times.

“People just don’t know the sport but think they do. He was a controlled and safe skater who loved to go fast,” said skater Andrew Maldonado, an acquaintance of Pedersen. “Now he’ll be slaying endless hills in the clouds.”

Eric didn’t know it, but brother Stephen had dreamed for years on making Eric his best man when he got married.

“Now I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like,” Stephen said.

Friends and fellow skaters will hold another vigil on the UC Irvine campus Sunday night.

Funeral arrangements are pending, though the funeral will likely be private, Stephen said.

Zak Bushey contributed to this story.