Pioneer: Bob Burquist, Full Interview—Antihero to the Mega

He (Hosoi) had some classic photos from Brazil in the ‘89/’90 period. The Rio Christ statue photo and the ones from the Soul bowl.
Yeah. Exactly. For the scene all that made such a difference.

Why was he heading down there so much?
I think he just loved the scene. He came with (Eddie) Reategui way back and he just loved it I guess. Obviously all the women and they were probably thinking party in the streets too. It was a whole other world for them. Christian skated a lot of the epic parks here. Just watching him and being present for that, he skated so amazing. It fired up the skate scene. And once Hosoi had come all the other people started coming.

When did you start taking an interest in the switchstance stuff? Was it before you came to the States?
That whole thing came from just trying to learn new tricks. We were always trying to go home with as many new tricks as possible. So we were always trying different things. Then seeing the videos of Salman (Agah), Danny (Way), and Colin (McKay) doing video part tricks switch, it gave us all these ideas for new tricks. Like, now we had all these other doors to learn even more tricks. But the first switch trick I learned, even before seeing those videos—Lincoln (Ueda) and I would skate and then right after we would watch the footage. Lincoln’s dad would film us with his camcorder. So we were rewinding the footage—I think Lincoln had learned frontside nosegrinds on vert, he could do them super good—but we were rewinding and started joking like, “I’m gonna try that trick. Rewind grind!” Like the backwards footage. I remember going to the park the next day and trying it. I got a switch scratch grind on vert and we were laughing. So it started early and then I saw the tricks in the videos. But instead of just going for the switch flip Indy or whatever I wanted to learn everything switch—like all the basics from rock-and-roll on—and do a whole run switch, but like you would do a regular run. From then on I would just skate a certain part of the session that way.

Backside ollie in the States. Destroy Mystery.

It’s true. Danny and Colin were doing really good tricks switch, switch back tails and switch heels. But nobody really did their whole line switch.
Yeah. It was a different approach for me. I just wanted to do everything.

Let’s get into the Antihero days then. I did get a hold of Julien (Stranger) and he asked me to say hi from him. Cardiel also sent a good quote.
Awesome. That’s is way cool. You talked to Julien? I still have so many great memories with those guys.

Best memory from Antihero days?
Probably traveling to Australia with Cardiel and Julien. Just skating. I think we did 56 parks in 19 days. It was just the ultimate non-stop skate trip. From one park to the next. Just sleeping in bowls—watching the stars and waking up to skate. One night we just saw like non-stop shooting stars looking up. In these beautiful locations all across Australia, just living my childhood dream with my childhood heroes. John’s energy was just contagious. All we wanted was to skate. Julien and Jake would just be wild. Those memories are still so clear in my mind.

I always thought it was rad too that you kept the Antihero tattoo.
Oh yeah. Hell yeah man. That was the times of our lives. To this day I’m super stoked. That will never change. It was almost more of a crew that happened to become a brand. Being a part of that group is something I will never forget. I was so stoked to be a part of it. It was that impactful on my life that I got that tattoo. To this day I feel the same way.

Backside nosegrind nollie 180 in and early board graphic by Todd Francis, circa ’97.

Julien also mentioned that you had some responsibilities at the time supporting your mom and sister financially.
The reality for me at that point was that I just had to do what I had to do. It was too restrictive to be in that situation. I just wanted to skate, but I also wanted to support them. It wasn’t really about being niche’d in cool. I wasn’t really from Northern California. I wasn’t from Southern California either, I was from Brazil. So to me it was just a natural move. I have a strong opinion and a strong will and I just wanted to do what I wanted to do. At that time it just happened that way. I outgrew it. They had a different mentality. Skating in the X Games or any events like that was completely the opposite of the proposal of what skating for Antihero was. But to me it was all the same. I just viewed it differently. To me it was just like, “I’m gonna skate it all. I’m gonna skate everything I can. And I’m going to make a living off of skateboarding.” I could support myself and my family and meanwhile the whole of Brazil was stoked to get to watch one of their own in all these bigger events. It was a big deal because it was the first time we were winning one of them. To us it was just a different world. So there was a definite clash and I just figured, “It is what it is.” I had moved down to SoCal by then and I was skating a lot more vert by then.

Skateboarding is always supposed to be about doing what you want, so it sounds like you just followed that.
I just went through those phases. I still wanted to skate it all. I was still ready to go bomb a hill in SF with those guys any day. I’m open to everything—without pads, with pads, street, vert, pools, rails, Mega, or whatever. It was only when I felt like I was I being put into a box, just the way the politics of it work, that I needed to change it. I was from outside of that (X Games vs. NorCal “core”) so I was flexible and open to the ideology. It didn’t matter to me. I just wanted to skate.

Bob’s part from Antihero’s
self-titled video in ’98, including some early childhood footage from the Ultra Park.