Local skateboarder and artist honored by 6th graders after his death

Posted at 11:40 PM, Feb 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-02 10:56:34-05

CARLSBAD, Calif. (KGTV) – A man killed in a motorcycle crash is being honored by some sixth graders he’s never met.

Justin Betts died on Carlsbad Boulevard on Saturday. His sister, Sunni Elmore, says Justin loved skateboarding and art. He combined his passion for both by making wall sculptures out of skateboard decks.

When his family flew into town, they came across Justin’s skateboard stash.

“We found 150, maybe 175, brand new skateboards,” Elmore said.  “We didn’t have any idea what to do with all these skateboards.”

But she knew the boards had a bigger purpose.  As fate would have it, she found a card for “Play it Again Sports.”  She called the sports shop, and that’s how she got connected with Debbie Wright and her sixth-grade class.

“Play It Again Sports said, ‘hey there’s a school that’s doing a fundraiser, and they need decks,’” Wright said.  “And (Elmore) called, and I said, ‘we would love to have them all.’”

The El Camino Creek Elementary class is building a bench from skateboard decks for a school auction and fundraiser. 

They only needed 18, so they got way more than they needed.  Wright says after the bench is auctioned, they plan to use the remaining skateboards to make a craft table for the Carlsbad classroom to honor Betts.

They’re not sure what to do with the rest of the of the boards yet, but they know they want it to go back to the kids in the community in some way.

“To keep his legacy alive, that’s all he wanted,” Elmore said, “He wanted all these kids to know skateboarding is fun.”

A GoFundMe was created to help continue Justin Betts' legacy. 

The school will hold an auction for the bench the students worked on. The auction will be held at the Lux in Encinitas on Saturday, February 10 from 6 p.m to 10 p.m.