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

Switching gears, did you do a one-footed noseslide down Hubba Hideout? I have this vague memory of that.
Yeah. I did that, the back foot off one, and then I did a frontside 180 nosegrind on it.

What about the one-footed Smith grinds? I feel like those almost became your trademark at one point.
(Laughs.) Yeah. No, that’s a funny story though because all that goes back to my trick count thing. I was always trying to learn something different. The one-footed Smith I learned because I was going to skate with the Gonz at Max’s vert ramp in Oakland. It was for an article in a mag, I can’t remember which one but I was just like, “Here’s the Gonz man. He’s all about creativity. I have to learn a trick for this!”

That’s rad. Did he like the trick?
(Laughs) Yeah. He was psyched on it, like, “That looks like a fun trick!”

Do you know off hand what tricks you have been credited with inventing? There are probably a million lip tricks. Anything outright?
I don’t know really. The one I hear sometimes is the eggplant revert. To me, I guess I’ve learned a lot of tricks that I’ve never seen people do, but mostly they’re just combinations of tricks. Naming stuff now is usually based on technical terms, like back-tail-three-shove-it-out. You can have fun with it depending how long the description is but a lot of times it just get named by other people too.

Switch tailgrab for a ’98 éS shoes ad.

I feel like you had a bunch like the fakie front 270 nosegrinds and back 270 fakie five-0s.
Yeah. And then I got that one to shove it out. But I don’t know if it counts as inventing a whole new trick. I remember getting into these weird lip tricks like alley-oop frontside nosegrind reverts. Those are super fun. Just different ways to turn. There was alley oop backside tailslides too. Alley oop backside tailslides to backside 180 out. That one was in a video part I think. But in terms of inventing tricks, I think early on when Cab or someone learned Cabs and half-Cabs—that became so iconic because you can then attach that to the kickflip and all this stuff on street. Think of how rad that is now, Cab is mentioned almost more than any other skateboarders. But it was so early in the branches of progression that it becomes monumental. It gets harder and harder for people to invent something even half that iconic.

What about the no grab tre flip to fakie in Menikmati?
That was basically when I got into filming video parts—coming out of the Antihero days and into skating for éS, it became way more focused on technical innovation. That’s when I really started trying everything I could think of. I remember doing kickflips and backside 360 ollies. But I wanted to try street tricks and get above the coping without grabs. Danny (Way) had already done backside kickflips with no grab. To this day it’s about the no grab though. Even on the Mega now I’m still trying to learn as many no grab tricks as I can.

I feel like all skaters can relate to no-grab tricks. Like a frontside flip over the mega ramp gap with no grab can be understood by any skateboarder, from any terrain.
Exactly. It’s just a purer version.

Bob moves south and joins The Firm for his ’00
Menikmati part.

What about the sort of rubber legs style? It seems like you can compress or slide out of any trick. Was that always your style?
I think it came from just wanting to stay on your board at all costs. Whatever it takes man (laughs.) A lot of times it’s just sheer will not to fall. It might have come from contests in the beginning, but when I started filming I would sometimes get a trick that was sketchy like that and I actually like using that better than the clean one. It’s almost more exciting that way sometimes. In Brazil, we had this one guy here that would always make everything no matter what—he was just super limber. He was called “Formiga” (Portuguese for ant) and he would squat out of every trick, but he would make it. We used to watch him skate so maybe that influenced me.

Getting into the loop stuff, was that Tampa Pro (’01) the first taste you had of that?
Yeah. That was the first time I ever saw one.

And you ended up doing it switch that time right?
Yeah. I did it regular first. Then Brian (Schaefer) slammed. But I had done it once regular and was walking back up and somebody screamed out, “Switch!” or something. I was almost bummed (laughs). I knew it was coming. I was waiting for it; I just didn’t want anybody to say it (laughs). I didn’t really want to try it. But once somebody said it I just thought, “Oh shit, I have to go for it now.” I remember that’s kind of what made me try it. People were already going inside—Schaefer had slammed really bad and so had (Peter) Hewitt, they were both in ambulances—then it started raining a little bit. But the crowd had thinned out a little and it was mellower so I ended up doing it when it was drizzling.

French Fred’s raw footage of the first switch loop. Tampa ’01.