Posts Tagged ‘Bob Burnquist’

Lance Mountain and Bob Burnquist Are the Runaway Jury

October 20, 2009

In a theater near you

Back in, uh, 1998, vertical pioneer Tony Hawk and snowboard movie-man Jamie Mosberg unveiled “The End,” a statement of purpose that laid the groundwork for Tony Hawk’s rise to sport celebrity, solidified years of cartoon graphic deck sales and set the bar impossibly for future incarnations of the Birdhouse team. As you can imagine it was a pivotal moment for the culture and Tony Hawk mentioned at one point or another that one of the highest pieces of praises he received was somebody telling him “The End” was like one of the old Bones Brigade videos, which you can definitely see, and which is certainly no left-handed compliment despite the cheese factor spread over pretty much everything in the 80s.

There’s not a lot about the “Extremely Sorry” video itself that translates to easy comparisons with the classic Powell Peralta productions – it will take someone far bolder than I to hold up Louie Lopez et al alongside the Guy/Paulo/Rudy contingent – with the obvious exception of Lance Mountain, the Bones Brigade’s Ringo, and Bob Burnquist, sometimes known as the Bob Burnquist of mega-ramp skating.

And what about Bob? He makes for an easy target, what with his dramatic contest tears, recreational base jumps, TV stunts focused on geologic wonders and so on. It would be folly to dismiss shit like that switch feeble grind on the mega-bar or that heelflip frontside 540 spin that’s in the new Thrasher or all those tricks into (i.e. from the deck, into the transition of) the mega-quarter-pipe*. Or the switch backside tailslide, or those tricks at the beginning that remind you how he used to skate for Julien Stranger and those dudes. In some ways Bob Burnquist’s mega-complex is an extension of Tony Hawk’s bullring loop, but different, because it’s hard to shake the feeling that there’s something sort of fundamentally artificial about the whole mega pursuit… the idea of donning body armor (or not, I guess) and zipping to and fro on a golf cart to ride off a ski jump on a longboard. Like an underwater motorcycle race, or skyboarding. Quibbles aside, Bob B does for sure deserve a heaping helping of credit for filming a video part of this stuff, rather than dribbling it out from X-game to Dew Tour in a bid to rack up contest purses, which I guess he could do anyway.

On the other end of the spectrum one finds Lance Mountain and his personal backyard BBQ, throwing back to any number of previous video parts – Bones Brigade and otherwise in what struck me at one point as being a more wholesome version of Chet Childress’ Burnside odyssey in the Black Label vid a couple months back. Watching Lance Mountain crunch around the coping is all types of awesome with that ridiculous smith grind, the even more ridiculous feeble grind, those inverts, incorporation of various swimming implements – the late invert! – tied up with a loose weekendish theme that a 10-year-old kid could relate to, at the same time he’s bugging out off a hippie jump over the deep end ladder. I think I felt 10 years younger watching this part, which makes me wonder how Lance Mountain felt making it (broken bones notwithstanding)

*holy fuck by the way


Boil the Ocean SOTY Short List 2009

October 11, 2009

Just throw it in the bag

This year seems like last year, kind of, as far as there not being any type of clear front-runner for the most hallowed of skateboard awards that is not distributed in buckets by the Maloof brothers. There’s no Daewon or Danny Way or Arto Saari no-brainer, and while there are several semi-brainers (useful for commentors such as myself), the politics and squishy qualifications and completely opaque voting process makes it all the more interesting and fun to pointlessly speculate. And so we jump in.

Leo Romero: I kind of feel like if that Skateboarder cover had been a Thrasher we wouldn’t even be bloviating on this, but the uphill path of the inscrutable Leonard is part of his appeal – jumping ship from Baker to Toy Machine years after several former bloodsuckers headed headed the owner way and left Ed & co. with their hands in their pockets, alongside a general negative attitude that many have compared to Emerican elder Heath Kirchart. Leo has a potentially ground-shifting video part in store with “Stay Gold,” and while it will not drop this year, Phelps and his buddies have been known to move pre-emptively, and who doesn’t like to look smart?

Heath Kirchart: The buzz is that the Thrasher camp may not have enough love for the brooding bro with the red-carpet disses and vending machine business, but I don’t know. It’s not like the dude goes around handing out cookie bouquets to the other mags, and to a certain degree you could imagine the Thrasher powers that be digging a devil-may-care mode of operation. It would sorta be a safer pick too, since Heath K brought a show-stopper video part in 09 and potentially another one next year. Cons, he hasn’t done much for Thrasher and he skated to Morrissey.

Sean Malto: The teen heartthrob who lives his own reality show, baffling security guards with nollie frontside feeble grinds and shredding the Pacific Northwest with Julien Stranger. Green but his Thrasher cover was among the year’s gnarliest and the non-stop skateboard mission seems to always have room for a stop or shoutout to his beloved Kansas City; a pro model shoe is not far off and he’s had enough footage drizzled out here and there to mold a passable follow-up to “And Now,” but Malto’s 09 slow burn has yet to fully flare, and I’m not sure the cover, rowdy as it is, would get him over.

Dennis Busenitz: The current Slap Board messiah would seem to have SOTY at long last sewn up, with an internet-smashing video part, talked-about contest runs, many good photos and a pro shoe to boot.* He’s a Nor-Cal gnarler who can schralp transition and/or spit out switch 360 flips, he’s with the right companies. If there’s a downside I guess it’s the lack of any super-handrail heroism or mega-ramp fireworks or some type of singularly groundbreaking trick, but then again, maybe that plays to his advantage. In ten years a Busenitz SOTY win would probably come to be seen along the same lines as Chris Senn, which is to say those who know would know, the rest would be wondering “why not P-Rod” and there’d be a certain amount of “you had to be there”

Lizard King Mike Plumb: Let’s put him on the list. The zaniest Wallenberger with a stupider tattoo/carving every month, and he’s a decent interview. Kind of a long shot maybe but one could argue he’s fairly representative of where skating is these days, which is to say, both trick- and movement-wise.

Anthony Van Engelen: The odds might be stacked against him but to my mind the case has never been stronger for an AVESOTY and the brow-furrowing AWS decks it would probably produce. He has a couple magazine covers, a blazing video part, a harrowing comeback story, a bunch of tattoos and he wears Vans. As one who birthed the current fascination with speed and successfully fused hesh grime with precision tech skating he’s for sure a contender from the career standpoint and probably a SOTY everybody could agree with on some level.

Torey Pudwill: Just throwing it out there, Jake Phelps knows who he is and he’s given it to fresh-faced pros before. But, the lack of follow-through on the Wallenberg nollie flip might cost him precious support in the Yay area.

Zered Basset: the King of Zoo York coulda won it the year he made the “Vicious Cycle” part as far as we’re concerned but he nearly hit that mark again in the “State of Mind” video (still thinking the MOP was totally brilliant) and he has been on the Thrasher radar for some time. The drawback might be that he’s been kind of below the radar compared to some of the charge-happy spotlight grabbers like teammate Brandon Westgate, but an elder statesman might be the one to usher the tradition into the next decade.

It seems like there should be some kinda transition dude in here so, I don’t know, Lance Mountain. Insane as Bob’s mega-ramping has been, our view is that he’s a little bit too TWS/Fuel TV these days for Thrasher’s taste. While on the topic it seems like Justin Brock has whatever “rookie of the year” awards wrapped, unless Grant Taylor gets em.

*get it

Flight of the Passion Fruit

August 2, 2009

And thus we complete the mainstream print media triumvariate

A suspect quesadilla prompted a longer-than-anticipated sit-down this afternoon, in which an errant copy of “Outside” magazine was flipped through, uncovering a pretty in-depth profile on hemp farmer and Mega Ramp LLC co-owner Bob Burnquist who is described at one point as “prone to stoner speechifying about ‘fluidic rhythms.'” (Aren’t we all.) It’s a pretty by-the-numbers rundown of the Bob’s life and times as an X-Games superhero, multiple family man and amateur pilot but at one point they’re cooling out at the rancho and things take a turn for the surreal* when a certain Utahn comes scritch-scritch-scratching at his rancho door:

While I’m at the rancho, Bob’s friend and fellow pro Pierre-Luc Gagnon, or PLG, pops by with some fresh meat: a street skater known as Lizard King (Mike Plumb to his relatives), who’s wiry and abundantly tattooed, with a rapsy smoker’s voice and the bug eyes of a man who gets amped for a living.

Bob greets them in the driveway and tells PLG to take Lizard out to the ramp “just to see what he’s getting into.”

Minutes later, Lizard King comes back looking as if he’s seen a ghost. He can’t stop pacing. “I’m not even over there looking at it and I’m having a heart attack,” he says.

Bob plays the confident older brother, goosing the Lizard up, onto and eventually down the mega-slope.

Lizard King snatches a bag of pads from PLG’s Mercedes and comes back. “I’ve never been more intimidated by anything in my entire life,” he says, then exhales deeply.

“I wanna get you psyched,” Bob says. “I’ll go out there with you.”

Bob shows Plumb how to bail the jump and then does it sans pads.

Lizard King practically collapses. Here he is, terrified, and Bob has casually dropped in as if this were a backyard pool, wearing nothing but jeans and a T-shirt.

“Fuck it, dude,” Lizard yells, rolling toward the edge. “Live life.”

His first attempt isn’t pretty, but he has gusto. There are many whoops and hollers and “Holy shits!” as he rockets down the roll-in, up the launch, and through the air, dropping his board and flying along like someone leaping off a bridge into a lake. He lands awkwardly but safely on his knee pads and slides to the base of the quarterpipe.

“I love you, Bob!” he howls as Bob and I walk back toward the house. “This is the funnest thing I’ve ever done in my life! Thank you for building this!”

About an hour later, Bob’s phone buzzes. It’s a text from PLG: Lizard nailed it. “He’s got the right mentality,” Bob says. “Or the wrong one, depending how you look at it.”

Elsewhere there’s something of an “Xtremely Sorry” preview, which Bob Burnquist is apparently obsessing over “because (video parts) maintain his credibility in the skate world, which might otherwise regard him as a stunt guy who cashes in at the X Games once a year and then retreats to his ranch to roll around in flaxseed.”

In one sequence, he launches across the 50-foot gap, lands on the manual pad, kickflips his board 180 degrees while going 50 miles per hour, then drops in toward the quarterpipe – all without breaking rhythm.

So, what… manual backside flip? Frontside flip? Or just a “180 flip” into the landing from the manual pad? Meanwhile Bob’s organic restaurant has closed its doors, FYI.

*At least, surreal for those of us for whom Lizard King and “Outside” magazine exist in separate, non-overlapping worlds

Mo’ Mega Blues

December 15, 2008

Stakes is high

Danny Way loves spectacle. He sails over ancient structures and leaps from giant guitars, going so far as to revive the somewhat hilarious rocket air, all for our amusement and the pursuit of world records. Sometimes these things come at a price, including but not limited to fractured ankles, broken backs and 40-foot free falls. But on the other side of that Great Wall lies fame, lucrative energy drink endorsement deals and oodles of prize money.

No fear, though. Fame, sponsorship and wads of dough can still be had if the crash itself is enough of a spectacle, as giggly Australian Jake Brown proved on Larry King and elsewhere during his post-Mega fall recovery tour . And even if sponsors aren’t cutting photo incentive checks every time their logo flashes across the screen on some pro’s shirt as he careens toward the deck, Danny Way’s not tripping — as he notes in the Wall Street Journal last week, each replay of Jake Brown’s tooth-rattling slam is all for the greater good:

I think it’s great that they exploit the slams. That’s the biggest part of people understanding the seriousness of what we do. It’s unfortunate the person that slams has to go through that experience and deal with the repercussions of it. But Jake [Brown], for example, he did so much for the Mega event. They emphasized the slam, but that also brought so much of a focus to our event. It just gives everyone that much more opportunity and makes it that much more exciting. God forbid someone should get hurt, but sometimes it’s good to have things put in perspective. If we’re going to create an event for the public, the goal is to have people on the edge of their seats biting their nails not knowing what’s going to happen next.

God forbid it happens, but it’s possible for somebody to get really, really hurt. It’s the same thing with motocross. Freestyle moto, guys doing double flips and front flips and stuff, that stuff’s deadly, too. That’s why people come to watch it.

Interesting point, and it goes back to what’s kept vert skating on life support for the last ten years – your average Gravity Games-watching Sarah Palin voter gets a lot more out of seeing Lincoln Uyeda blast 10-foot airs, as opposed to P-Rod cracking a nollie heelflip backside tailslide across a step-up ledge or whatever. With the mega-ramp Danny Way has upped the ante a few hundred feet in terms of hangtime, and personal peril.

The WSJ also asks Way whether he believes the mega-ramp is viable as a new skateboarding discipline (to chance an oxymoron), and he dodges, sort of, noting the growing number of pros taking the mega plunge. But if anything the rise of the mega-ramp widens the gap between your average kid kickflipping in the driveway and what seems destined to become skating’s version of underwater lion-taming, or something.

Let us pause for a moment and pour one out for all the departed tamers who were mauled and then drowned.

Anyway, for years vert skating has been moving toward a weird sort of commercial backwater, seeming to exist almost solely on ESPN, while half the vert pros suit up in body armor to slay the mega dragon and the other half shuffle off to work on their beer guts with the backyard bowl contingent. The way things are going now, vert’s TV career seems destined to be eclipsed by the spectacle of the mega monster, just months after receiving a stay of execution when the X-Games stood ready to bump it from the lineup.

So: the number of vert pros dwindling, cities building concrete parks as opposed to vert ramps, less on-screen time… will kids even know what a vert ramp is in another five years? Before I tread too far onto Vert Is Dead’s turf I’ll do that thing where I stand in a darkened room with a lighter and my eyes cast upward, fumbling with my mouse to click on the Tampa Am vert finals from earlier this year. Kids are always up for unwinnable causes right? I mean when Danny Way is 360-flip k-grinding a 20-foot vert wall and Bob Burnquist is jumping into the Grand Canyon, will anyone be left to give a shit when somebody lands, say, a varial 900?

Take me out

September 17, 2008

Add an organic taco, some Oakley Blades and a parachute and you’d never even guess

Try as I may, I haven’t been able to find any video of X-Game Mega Ramper Bob Burnquist delivering his xtremely Brazilian take on the national anthem of our national pasttime last night at Wrigley Field. However, according to the early reviews, it didn’t go over so well…

Who’s this piece of Howry singing?

Holy crap. PLEASE end the 7th inning stretch experiment. Whothehell is this guy??

You clearly never played Tony Hawk

Holy crap, that was brutal.

Skateboarding legend? Hmm… Looked like he was having trouble reading the words off that piece of paper they gave him.

As if that wasn’t enough, the dude or dudes who won the autographed Burnquist board giveaway are hot to unload it. Complete with accessories! Gentlemen, start your bidding…

This is skateboarding 2008

August 3, 2008

And to think if you would have asked me 10 years ago what the highlight of the X Games 2008 would be, I never would have guessed. Funny how things work out eh?

Rating the E-beefs

May 27, 2008

Hit ’em up

I thought about posting something with Brian Patch getting arrested for sexually congressing a 15-year-old (girl) but the general reaction among the skateboard sphere has been “dude have you SEEN 15-year-old girls lately?! OMG” so I’ll take a pass, unless it turns into a hilarious circus similiar to the current R Kelly trial. Which we all hope that it will.

Instead let us turn to the blog-o-sphere itself, which has been more entertaining than usual lately, what with the willingness of pros and other industry types to air one another out. Since most of these people still have a dog in the skateboard fight, a lot of the shots are pretty passive-aggressive, making the whole thing even more high-schoolish than the industry usually is… and not nearly as entertaining as the bridge-burning tirades posted by the likes of Kris Markovich and Henry Sanchez. But we’ll make do.

Rather than running down the fascinating minutia of each dust-up, which everybody probably knows already, I’ll summarize and pass judgment upon each battle, as is my wont, and employ the hard-won experience gained in my 15 years of internet usage… all the way back to impersonating John Fogarty in Prodigy chatrooms.

Clyde Singleton v. Jamie Thomas

Recap: So our old friend Clyde, who seems to take great pleasure in letting everyone know he’s no longer a pro skateboarder, has come out as a Sheckler apologist, joining the rarified ranks of Danny Way, Rob Dyrdek and, uh, Sheckler’s parents. Separately, Jamie Thomas took it upon himself to explain to Danny Way his perception of the whole “Sheckler Is Ruining Skateboarding” school of thought, a conversation that Danny Way apparently related to Sheckler, who no doubt spent several days contemplating this in solitude before placing Jamie Thomas into the “haters” camp, and letting the world know in the Skateboard Mag. For what it’s worth, Sheckler has insinuated that Thomas is boring in earlier interviews.

Anyway. Clyde gets hate mail for coming out in defense of Sheckler. (I personally interpret Clyde’s thumbs-up as general approval for anyone who’s young, good at skating, raking in money and rolling in chicks, as opposed to a thoroughly researched view on Sheckler’s video parts and MTV persona.) Clyde responds to Sheckler haters on his blog, naming Thomas amongst their kind and taking thinly veiled shots at the Zero chieftan for the usual handrail fetish, playing dress up with riders, and issuing trick lists. Thomas, a new inductee to the hallowed church of internet discourse, responds; much back-pedaling and over-explanation by Clyde ensues.

Powers of reasoning: Clyde’s TWS “15 Reasons You Hate Ryan Sheckler” would have come off half-baked even in an environment not already permeated with “Sheckler vs. Haters” coverage, but I think I get his angle, maybe. Jamie Thomas, the injured/misquoted party here, is pretty civil calling Clyde out for getting the story wrong and keeps it classy, though it’s a little bit scary that he’s right there with the second comment after Clyde’s post went up. Clyde may have a point re: the tight rein Jamie Thomas keeps when it comes to his image, but it’s lost amid all the “you got me wrong fam.” Edge: Jamie Thomas

Internet savvy: Clyde started a blog, but any idiot can. Jamie Thomas withstood the trials of the Slap board and his screen name survived to tell the tale, with a positive rep even. Clyde claims he doesn’t read the comments on his own site. Yeah, sure. Edge: Jamie Thomas

Career: This is a tough one. Jamie Thomas changed the game with Welcome to Hell, etc etc, but Clyde came up in the World camp and rode with Sal through Aesthetics. JT did the leap of faith but Clyde fakie b/s tailslid Hubba Hideout. So it’s close. Draw

Dollars: What it all comes down to, right? Edge: Jamie Thomas (obviously)

What animals they would be: Jamie Thomas has employed lions and eagles in the past but I see him as more of a horse. Clyde would maybe be a hyena. Edge: Clyde Singleton

Winner: Jamie Thomas

Dave Carnie v. Bob Burnquist

Recap: This has been a long-simmering one, with Carnie being one of the few to openly call out Bob Burnquist for watching Jake Brown’s legendary slam at the X-games, playing up the drama and gravity of the situation prior to his last run and then winning a contest that would have otherwise gone to the fallen Brown. Carnie, for better or worse, tends not to hold his tongue on shit, and his take on the whole Jake Brown thing voiced a lot of people’s dissatisfaction with Bob for his general tendency to not keep it real at all.

Powers of reasoning: Bob rightly called out Carnie on not contacting him for his side of the story, although Bob’s side of the story was already told in numerous articles on the Jake Brown slam. Carnie agreed with Bob, admitted he was wrong, and big-upped Bob for handling his shit in an adult manner. Maybe, but Bob did wait until Carnie called him to skate his ramp to finally broach the issue… Edge: Bob Burnquist

Internet savvy: Dave Carnie has a blog, which he acknowledged should probably be afforded higher journalistic standards than ‘write whatever the fuck I feel.’ Bob Burnquist is a vegan hippie who grows his own vegetables. Edge: Dave Carnie

Career: I don’t know how to go about comparing the career of an X-Games champ to one of the handful of skateboard magazine writers who isn’t also a photographer. Dave Carnie probably has more street cred, and we all know how far that goes. Edge: Bob Burnquist

Dollars: Bob hasn’t let his hippiefied leanings stand in the way of carving 100-foot-tall ramps into the sides of mountains, or grinding giant handrails that drop off into the Grand Canyon. Does he also own a helicopter? I can’t remember. Edge: Bob Burnquist

What animals would they be: Dave Carnie is often associated with cats, but despite his fluffy beard and happy-go-lucky approach to life, his analytical nature and self-destructive tendencies bely a deeper anger and perhaps some bitterness too. So maybe an elephant seal. Bob I would maybe say is a falcon. Formidable, but also kind of a priss. Edge: Dave Carnie

Winner: Dave Carnie… because he’s able to admit when he’s wrong, and because I think he was basically right about the Bob/Jake situation.

Ted Barrow v. Ryan Sheckler

Recap: Kind of a one-sided beef here, but with Barrow dedicating a lengthy blog post to the Sheckler issue and drawing parallels to the assholish nature of a young Danny Way, someone with Sheckler’s black-and-white worldview could promptly file Barrow into the haters category.

Powers of reasoning: Barrow acknowledges Sheckler’s argument, which is that Way was a child prodigy pro way back when, and he’s respected now, so you haters, you shut up. But Barrow points out that Danny Way, asshole that he may have been as a kid, came up through the usual channels of the day–contests, videos and photos–where he was judged on his skating first and foremost, whereas Sheckler is being savaged in the court of public opinion for his life of cryin’, rather than his skate tricks.

I don’t think Barrow takes this far enough though. By all means, let’s evaluate Sheckler on the basis of his skating alone—what’s he got? Big kickflips, backside flips, some stock handrail tricks and a tuck-knee air that got played out a couple years ago. I think it’s the opposite—Sheckler is in the spot he’s in because of his personality, not his skating. And though they may be brothers in youthful assholedom, Sheckler or anyone else equating his skill to a young Danny Way—the kid who almost landed the 900 a good eight or nine years before Tony Hawk—is way off. Anyway. Edge: Barrow

Career: Sheckler has an MTV show about himself. Here’s Ted Barrow’s part in Lurkers 2. He can do switch b/s smith grinds on ledges. Edge: Barrow

Dollars: Sheckler makes that Mountain Dew money. Barrow seems like the starving artist type, although I guess he could be a secret trust fund case, like a certain videographer might be. Edge: Sheckler

What animals they would be: Barrow would be a barn owl, of modest means, but maybe a little bit pretentious, and he eats mice. Sheckler would be a Pomeranian. Edge: Barrow

Winner: Ted Barrow, in a walk.