As the first Brazilian to truly become a global skate superstar, Bob opened the doors for an entire country. Along the way--Bob's skating itself, on nearly every terrain imaginable (and in every stance) since his recruitment to Antihero in '96--has seemingly followed only a single constant, changing what is deemed possible on a skateboard. From the Hellride crew to the Mega ramp, here is the story of Bob.
This is the full interview text from Bob's Pioneer Column in our December 2012 Issue.
Intro by Julien Stranger:
"For a long time he was just one of us, Hellriding, crusting around being a skate rat. Those were some great times for all of us for sure. I still hate the way things happened at the end of him riding for Antihero. That was complete bullshit. And I know he was pretty disappointed in us for not following him out the door. We’ll never know what might have happened. Bob had real responsibility with his sister and mom and I understand why he wanted to move down south and pursue some more commercial opportunities. I guess for me personally and in our friendship--both of us are pretty sincere dudes and that was kind of our connection aside from the skating. Northern California skaters were generally really sarcastic and just full time hecklers so for me it was nice to hang out with someone without the constant bullshit.
I gotta say too that going to some of those bigger vert contests in the 90’s and being in the stands and just screaming for Bob, a dude who I was on the same team with and who was just mopping up everyone switch, and who for me was the most exciting skater out there at the time, that stoked the shit outta me and all of us on the Hellride. He was always so on edge and he still is and I still get stoked."
ME: When did you pick up a skateboard? First contact?
Bob: Well, as a Brazilian guy I played soccer. I had let my friend borrow a soccer ball and he had lost it. So he was like, "Well, I don't have the ball anymore but you can take my skateboard." So that was basically how it started.
Your dad was American right?
Yeah. He was born in Taft, California. My mom was Brazilian.
Did you travel to the States as a kid?
A little bit. I went to Kindergarten in Pleasanton, and then we came back to Brazil. We were moving around a lot when I was younger.
Had anyone you knew from Brazil made it before in the US? Lincoln Ueda?
There were definitely a few guys that came before me that we knew about. Lincoln (Ueda) was the first one to break the top 5 in US contests back in '89. That was huge. I remember that clearly. When we saw one of our own like Lincoln, and the other International skaters actually make it, we started to actually start believing it in Brazil. I was in a cab or something and saw it in a mag. I was so stoked. Brazilians were getting more and more respect. They had a hard time in the beginning because of all the bootleg brands here in Brazil too. By the time I started making my story, there were just more and more of us gaining respect.
I feel like the first wave of Brazilians got pigeonholed as contest skaters too. You sort of became the first guy that was on a cool company (Antihero) and the media treated you like a US pro.
There were definitely different phases to it for sure. The evolution of Brazilian skateboarding--where it's at now--I never thought it would be possible.
Early ’90s raw footage of a teenage Bob street skating.
Was your first sponsor a local brand in Brazil?
My first ever sponsor was a Brazilian clothing brand called "Angular Moments.” I was with a buddy of mine in the park skating a miniramp and they came and told us we could get free clothes.
First board sponsor?
My first pro board was an Urgh! Board. They are the shoe company that just collaborated with me. They are an old brand in Brazil and the owner and holder of the brand is a partner of mine here in Brazil. The board had my name "Bob" on it with this little drawing. They made the kneepads Lincoln and all those guys wore back in '89 too. Urgh! Has been around for almost 30 years.
How did you get from Urgh! to the US brands? Was it mostly people traveling down there?
Obviously from speaking English and Portuguese, when skaters came to town and showed up at the park I skated I was able to talk to them and translate for other people. So when Joey Tershay, (John) Cardiel, Julien (Stranger), and Jake (Phelps) and those guys came down to Brazil, I interacted with them and skated all the different spots with them. That was basically how I connected to the crew up in SF. So when I went to the US after that, I spent time in San Francisco. That was pretty much how I broke into the scene. I was already pro in Brazil and then became an am for Real. That was a trip because I would go home and skate in the pro contests then be an am in The States.
I finally went to this Vancouver contest and Urgh! had helped pay for my ticket along with Deluxe helping me as a Real am. This was before Antihero. I remember I had an Antihero shirt that Julien had made but the board brand wasn't launched yet. So I rode for Real and connected with all those Deluxe guys. That was when I kind of broke out of the Brazilian scene right there.
They swept you up in the Hellride?
Yeah. Exactly. But even before any of that I really remember when Christian (Hosoi) came down too. He came down and skated the outdoor bowl and all that. Any time the American skaters came down, I was in the scene so I would end up interacting with them. I remember Mark Gonzales came down too for one of the contests. I got to hang out with him and he gave me a board. I was super stoked. I think he gave me his kneepads too which was awesome. But Christian was pretty much the pioneer of pros coming to Brazil. Christian loved it here and he was always down here. It made such an impact on the scene to have this huge legend in your country.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Then after that was the gap loop not long after right?
Yeah. The gap loop was in '02 for the King of Skate contest.
Then Baldy? To me the Baldy attempt is gnarlier than anything else. Just shocking. What was the thought process behind that?
Yeah. The Baldy thing came out of filming for The Firm video (Can't Stop ['03]). So it was another thing inspired by trying to film a video part. I would have these downtimes once a year--like gaps in all the scheduled tours or contests. Like right now I'm in the same time period. If I ever want to do something that I could possibly get hurt on, this is the period to try that stuff. So I was thinking I needed to do something really different to end my video part. I was kind of brainstorming it and it just came into my mind one day, like, "Man, if I could loop Baldy..." I figured it had to be a long pipe to get speed. I figured if I could carve down enough I could just go straight over. I had done the loop so many times straight on at that point that I was comfortable in that position. Baldy just seemed to be the best option. I woke up in the morning the next day and called Salba, Lance (Mountain), (John) Humphries--got the whole connection together. I knew that I wanted Salba there because I knew that if anything happened he would know the lines to make sure I got the best chance of making it. I remember we had breakfast and I don't think he really believed that I was going to try it. He had skated Baldy for years. In my head we're sitting there at 9a.m. eating burritos and I'm going to loop Baldy (laughs). I woke up super early, I couldn't sleep. Once it was in my mind I just wanted to get it out, and the only way to get it out was to try it.
I remember we got there and I tried a few times. There were these tiny cement kinks and chips I would hit. Right when I started going up for it I was hitting them with the hard wheels and it was just enough to slow you down just that little bit--right at the critical part. Salba's son had some soft wheels so I set those up real quick. It was better but it would still slow you down with the soft wheels. I would get speed and get all the way up to the top but it didn't feel like I had enough speed to go all the way around. It was basically about the situation of the concrete. The first one I tried was with no pads. Just straight up raw. The first one I did a back flip and landed on my feet all the way from top to bottom. I probably bailed or slammed like that seven times. Then maybe four times I started getting around. Then one time, I came all the way around--like felt the wall under me all the way around. I looked down at one point and I remember thinking like, "Oh my God. I can't believe it. I made it!" Right then the board came away a tiny bit from the wall and I fell. I was so bummed. Now it was almost worse, because I got that close. Now I had to make it so I couldn't stop. But I probably should have stopped. Then it was just make or break and I went around again and I didn't get a good pump, went kind of diagonal. I was tired too so I just backflipped and corked out, landed sideways--broke my right foot, sprained my left ankle, and broke my wrist. I was almost relieved. I wouldn't have stopped otherwise. I knew I was done filming the part. I gave it my best shot. It stayed in the back of my mind for a while after. But after watching Tony (Hawk) get hurt at my fullpipe setup (Broke his pelvis), I just figured I had to do it quick and so I ended up doing it in the metal one in my yard.
Was Baldy the scariest out of all your loop stuff?
For sure. By far that was the scariest. The open loop was pretty scary too though. That was a situation where I had asked them to spin it to the left when they were building it. I went away on a trip and came home and they had spun it to the right because there wasn't enough room to the left. I had planned on doing the open loop regular frontside, but when I got there the only way to do it regular would have been to go backside, which was way harder. That was the reason I did it switch. It was the only way I could do it.
Are you done with it? Any more loop plans?
No. Honestly, I have ideas but it's all about budgets and size these days. Mostly things involving the Mega with the speed and height you can get from it. It takes some planning. But I had to do the loop on the Nitro tour in Australia at the beginning of the year and it's just not fun (laughs). I slammed pretty hard on a couple of them. I used to do it all the time when I had the one in my backyard. But this was an inconsistent setup--it was built for bikes and all this other stuff. It wasn't the right size. If I would have known it was in the plans I don't think I would have signed on for it. The loop can just be deadly. It can easily become a vortex of injury. It's not the most technical thing, but it can really throw you for a loop (laughs). I've seen so many people slam and just never want to skate that type of thing again.
Bob’s last part before the Mega. ’03’s Can’t Stop by The Firm.
When did you first skate a Mega setup?
I skated all the early ones, like the super ramps that Danny (Way) had built for MTV, and then I skated all those long distance jumps they had for a while. Then finally, after 2002 when Danny built both of them together, I didn't get to skate the first one but in 2004 after Danny's video part I got to skate the one at Point X.
Was it just another direction to challenge yourself?
Yeah. It was almost like finding out about the switch thing. All of a sudden there was this whole new universe to learn and you knew there were so many options for new tricks. It opened up a whole new reality. I remember loving it from the first session while at the same time being so scared of it. Being terrified but hyped at the same time. You had so much more time in the air. The slams could be worse but the trade off was worth it. Everything was so big and you could spin slower. It was almost more forgiving with how long the landing was. It feels like slow motion when you do a trick but your actually moving twice as fast. It's another reality.
How much has Danny Way motivated you through the years?
I think I just relate to Danny a lot. If you're going to keep learning and progressing--even the Grand Canyon thing was like that. At the time he had just jumped the Great Wall of China and I was planning a big jump of my own. It just made sense--both of us talking and being friends. It was just this whole thing like, "Let's do things on this grand level." Just incorporating the Great Wall or the Grand Canyon--it added this impact to everything. Individual progression can be technical but then that was another whole new angle to try and apply skateboarding to.
It was like PR for skateboarding too. Guaranteed to get mainstream coverage.
Yeah. But you're a skateboarder--let's say you're cruising down the street in a car; you're skating every building you drive by in your mind. I'm looking at stuff and thinking like, "I'll backside tailslide the top of that building, then try and boardslide off that, then 'Oh, I'll jump off that then pull my parachute.' That would be fun." The Grand Canyon thing was basically something like that. Just kind of dreaming up something totally different. I'm inspired by different people too, inside and outside of skateboarding. There are people that are a part of my life that are outside the box. All that stuff that I've been interested in from the outside--from skydiving to flying to helicopters have opened up my eyes to other ways I can create things. To me, I think living your life to the fullest in every way helps your skateboarding. All those interests feed it for me. It helps me express myself.
How do you feel about some of the criticism people have at times for stuff like the Grand Canyon jump?
You know what matters to me--the amount of fun I had that day. And you have no idea, when you pigeonhole yourself like that, you're just missing out. The limitations are on you. I'm just out there having a good time. People are always going to talk. To me it was one of the best days of my life. I didn't want to just launch into the Grand Canyon either. Anyone could do that. That's what made me build the rail out and make it a straight line as far as I could. I had to test it on the spot. I got on and slammed on the rail the first time. It wasn't clean cut. It was a combination of skills I had wanted to use at that point. I just wanted to put them together. I understand that some people felt like it was done for the world to see. Instead of just skateboarder-to-skateboarder it was meant for everyone to understand it. But I guess I'm just more open-minded when it comes to stuff like that. My main thing is I'll do everything mainstream and all these big events--as long as you continue to progress and put out video parts--I think that's where you speak from skateboarder to skateboarder. That's where people that might criticize you might give you praise the next time. Respect is earned through skateboarding. That was just one wild idea and it was a blast. I got plenty of other ones.
The core premise of skateboarding is to have fun--but then there are always these rules right after that regarding what types of fun are okay and what types aren't.
Yeah. The paradigm has always been there.
I think from the corporate sponsorship side, the core has a better argument.
It's a symptom of the world we live in. It's bound to happen. As skateboarders we're right in the middle of it. I have plenty of corporate sponsors that are amazing partners. They've helped me do all the things I do today. To have a Mega Ramp in my backyard and be able to skate and progress skateboarding in that direction. They've helped me do this, so I'm plenty thankful for companies that aren't skateboard brands.
That dynamic is interesting because you started from arguably the most anti-corporate, corest of core companies (Antihero) and...
That's what I mean. That's why I felt like there were boundaries to it. I love Antihero. I love it. I think it's awesome. Don't get me wrong.
I think you can appreciate both too though. They're not mutually exclusive.
Exactly. A brand is an identity. And once you outgrow that identity--even if you're still in that same mindset. I'm still the same person. When I skate it still pours out of me, but it's beyond the limitations of the identity. It was clear that I was outgrowing that identity, that I was ready to go a lot further than that identity might limit me to. And it was out of respect too. It was just better to move on. All the partners and all the things that I've done to this day--in hindsight you think it's skateboarding and it's core. But at the time it was about, like "Wait, the X Games events aren't cool--you shouldn't do that. Wait, this brand that wants to sponsor you--you can't do that." It was clashing, especially back then. Now, it's more established. But at the time I think everybody looking back will feel it was the right decision.
It's a bit more personal, but I did want to ask--you were probably the first pro skater to marry a female pro skater (Jen O'Brien).
I'm not really the first. There was Primo Desidario and his wife.
(Laughs) That's true. Was Dianne (Desidario) pro though?
I don't know.
Personal stuff aside though, was it everything it was cracked up to be? Like when you were 15, if somebody told you that it would sound amazing.
(Laughs) Yeah. It was all about skating and having a good time. The responsibility for both of us was just to skate. It was a friendship like any other that evolved into us becoming lovers. It was definitely a rad time. We had a beautiful daughter together, Lotus, who’s grown. And now she has a step dad who's a non-skateboarder that is also a whole other reality. Relationships are tough. I've separated again. So it's hard. Especially with the world that I live in which is traveling constantly. You have to have a strong understanding of each other and what goes down. My main thing is that skateboarding has taken me many places and I've met many people. It's all part of growth. You fall and you get back up in your life just like on a skateboard.
Most impressive street visitor at your Mega (Duffy, Heath, Lizard, Sheckler)?
Heath Kirchart, with the nosegrab 3--the style and speed were pretty rad.
Bob’s part from Flip’s Extremely Sorry (’09).
It looked like he landed standing up too.
Yeah. He landed good. I gotta say though. Pat Duffy might have the best, out of all those guys, the one that stands apart. Just because, I mean, he went for the quarter. And it's almost the reason, what happened to him--he got broke off (broke his leg), but the fact that he went for it--I mean, even if you have vert skills it can take you out. I remember before Duffy got hurt everyone wanted to try it, but after Duffy got hurt, all the calls stopped. Nobody wanted to try it after that (laughs). After a while, Sheckler did it, but they would all jump off before the quarter. Lizard was rad. (Rob) Dyrdek made this whole spiel about going, made this whole thing out of it but then never came (laughs.) I think after people saw you could get hurt it changed the psychology. I think most skateboarders could do it with the right board. It's like bombing a hill into a launch ramp. You're going to make it across one way or the other.
Have you ever done it with a regular setup?
No. That would be dumb. That would be a bad move.
Skateboarders are all about being dumb. Trying to loop Baldy might sound dumb to a regular person.
(Laughs) I know. Anything I do might sound crazy but I try to think about it as much as possible and minimize the risks.
Would you not even make it over the gap with a regular setup?
No. You could make it. It would be real wobbly. You might end up getting hurt. On the Mega, equipment is everything. I've done it no pads. I did a switch back 180 without pads and a 540. Just to say I did it. That was scary enough.
Raw footage of Bob’s first ever fakie to fakie 900 on his Mega in ’11.
How did the fakie to fakie 900 come about?
Oh man. I had just tried nines so many times--forward-to-forward Indy nines. I just wanted it so bad. I spent hours and hours trying to get it. Then I started doing 720s, like fakie-to-forward Indy sevens. Then I learned the forward-to-fakie 720s too. So it just seemed like I could combine those two and have a fakie-to-fakie nine. So I just tried it one day, and I remember I almost made it the first day. I called everyone the next time I tried it the next day and I made it after an hour or so. It all lined up.
So you can put a 900 on your resume.
(Laughs) Yeah. Exactly, that's all that matters, right? No, but it was similar to the switch gap loop. I didn't set out to try it that way but it just ended up working out that way.
Is it crazy to watch Tom Schaar or these kids where their setup tricks are like a 900?
It's insane. They're so good. But that's what it takes. They grew up in different times. The tricks they are starting out with are the ones we worked our whole lives to realize. To them that's the norm. So they start from there. They go and spin on trampolines and practice it. Tom is super good at gymnastics, so he combines all of that and he lands the 1080. It's amazing to watch. It's the next generation. They're still going to learn all the flip tricks and lip tricks so who knows how far they can take it.
Taking X-Games Gold in Barcelona earlier this year.
What is the biggest rail you ever skated streetwise? Didn't you try to 50-50 the huge rail in SF, Daly City? The one that Elijah Berle recently had a TransWorld cover of on the other side I believe.
I tried that one when I was skating there with Phil Shao one day. I slammed really bad. I think it might have been in a 411. But the biggest one I ever did was here in Brazil at a buddy's apartment complex that he lived in. Atiba was down here shooting photos, but since Guyano Dianos had done it too I think he ended up getting the photo in the mag. But shit man, it was huge. It was round out of this entryway. Kind of crooked and long and drawn out, maybe like 20 stairs. One of those.
Do you ever get the urge to just grab your board and go out street skating alone?
Yeah. I still do. I did it not too long ago up in SF. Down in Escondido too. On a Sunday I went out and just skated spots, some ditches. I did a rail not too long ago too. Maybe six months ago I found a rail and skated it. I get hurt easily though now. So I try and focus on what I can maximize my time on. If the choice is trying a rail and possibly getting hurt or doing a super tech trick on the mega or getting to skate a rad pool, I go with the latter. You have to be efficient at my age. It's risk management.
You've stayed with Lance (Mountain) since The Firm days. Have you guys become pretty close over the years?
Oh yeah. Lance is just awesome. Even before I rode for anybody, I would have such rad conversations with him. Just as a mentor almost and such a rad guy. Even at the Grand Canyon, when I had to fix up the ramp, he helped me with all the logistics on that. Other times I had problems skating in certain events, things that clashed with other ideas I had and I would just have these great conversations with him that would help give me perspective. He's been a mentor for a long time. I actually took Lance not too long ago up in the helicopter after I got my license. We went up over the El Monte area and searched for pools. Listed everything we saw and then went and skated them together.
What type of stuff would you still like to accomplish?
I still have plenty of stuff I want to do. I'm actually putting a little video part out around the end of the year. We just edited it here in Brazil. Basically a bunch of the stuff I've done since the last Flip video. I have plenty of ideas to build. I've got stuff going on in Brazil. Bringing the Mega ramps down here. With Danny we have the Mega Ramp company and we're trying to put together all these events. We were just in South Africa for that Mega event. Then just on the skate side trying to learn more tech stuff, trying to do more no-grab stuff. Basically, keep coming up with ideas and projects and keep having fun.
That's all the questions I had. I think we covered a fair amount.
Yeah. We've been talking for a while. I traveled on a boat, got in a car, and now I'm walking (laughs). I think we covered it.
John Cardiel on Bob:
From watching Bob skate as a little kid in Brazil, I witnessed a focus that could dismantle any obstacle in his way. Whether it be a mini ramp, ledge, bowl, vert or a full pipe for that matter--Bob’s focus is gnarly and his vision could never be deterred.
Rodrigo TX on Bob:
What did Bob’s influence mean for skaters in Brazil trying to make it in the US? He showed us that it was possible for us Brazilians, but also that you had to go hard if you wanted to make it.
What did it mean for you?
It meant there was a chance, and he happened to help me get a chance. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for Bob.
What tricks do you think Bob pioneered?
That's a hard one, but if i had to choose off the top of my head, some of the first things that come to mind is getting really tech on vert. Like the fakie five-O fakie flip out on the round bar over the channel. Skating switch on the Mega and doing tricks with no grabs, also the loop for sure. He did it regular, then switch, then switch with the gap and did the real metal full pipe!
Felipe Gustavo on Bob:
He was the first dude that came from here. He opened the doors you know. Him and Rodrigo TX, when I was growing up--they opened it up. When I was little I saw that if those dudes can do it, I can try too. Bob showed that it's not impossible. To go to the US and do all this stuff. When I was growing up, I saw Bob all over the place, even more than Rodrigo. Bob was the dude that helped Rodrigo too. If he can do it, maybe you can try. Knowing that opened the doors.