Bob Burnquist was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He began skateboarding in his hometown of Sao Paulo at 11 years old. Impressively he turned pro when he was just 14. In 1995 he first competed at the Slam City Jam in Vancouver against the majority of the top skateboarders in the world. Being pretty much unknown at the time, he was to shock the professional skateboarding world with his technical style and switch stance abilities. He ended up taking first place at this competition and the rest was history after that point. Bob’s specialties are his switch stance style and creating vert tricks. He has a signature trick called the Wee Willy Grind which is a fakie 5-0 to kick flip that he pulled out and won at the X Games Best Vert Trick Contest in 2000.
Burnquist has had enormous success over the past few decades, taking countless Gold Medals and X Games competitions. One of his most famous X Games runs was in 2001 with a showdown against Bucky Lasek, he countered with an almost perfect run, after Bucky’s flawless attempt. This has been described as one of the best vert runs in the history of skateboarding.
He is also not shy about performing insane skateboarding stunts. During 2006 he completed a BASE jump attempting a 50-50 into the Grand Canyon. His first attempt nearly cost him his life after he missed the rail and fell out of control. His second attempt however was successful.
He also has his own private skate park called Dreamland, one of the most famous parts of this skatepark is his megaramp, the ramp is made up of a 50-70 foot gap jump, followed by a 30 foot quarterpipe. He also opens this park up to other professional skateboarders, enabling them to train for mega ramp competitions. If you are wanting to see just how skilled a skater Bob is, you need to check out the video below of him skating Dreamland. It’s so insane, even to this day. The fact that he can pull these moves off on a ramp of this size is incredible.
Bob Burnquist Floating Ramp
So during 2013 when Visit California approached Bob to be part of its Dream Big Campaign, to boost tourism in the state, it was natural that he was going to pull out something radical. The Dream 365 project, was a digital initiative that showcased sharable video and image content that would be used as a medium for inspiration and celebration, with a focus on dreams and making them a reality. Bob’s floating ramp video was just one of many stories from different celebrities that were featured during a 24 hour period. They showcased 24 dreams in 24 hours over a variety of digital platforms. So Bob and team, in their usual fashion, came up with the idea to create a floating ramp and place it in Lake Tahoe. His team, including master ramp designers Jeff King and Jerry Blohm, spent over 300 man hours, spanning over 4 days along with 1,250 screws to create this almost 3.5 ton floating ramp.
This was however, not the first time this had been done, during the same year, Volcom built a floating ramp which was featured in the film 'True to This', skated by Grant Taylor and David Gonzalez.
What ended up being created was a 8ft tall wooden bank ramp, accompanied by a smaller 5ft secondary half-pipe. Both wooden ramps rest on top of a 35 ft long floating platform. You also have a rail that is on the opposite side of the 8ft bank. It runs off a smaller ramp that goes straight into the water. The wood on the ramp is stained in a range of different colours, it almost looks like a designer piece of furniture that you would see in a really exclusive ski chalet. The design team's main concerns were around weight distribution to avoid leakage and making sure that this thing would actually float and not just end up at the bottom on the late.
So they end up towing this thing out onto Lake Tahoe, the weather is totally pristine with the water being aqua blue and floats perfectly. They have drones that are flying around overhead, Bob drops into the half-pipe and starts skating it. It’s a very cool short film that must have been quite a hit for the tourism campaign. He does some ramp tricks and airs, which is finished off with doing a 50-50 grind on the rail straight into the water of Lake Tahoe.