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'Ultimate X' Interview: Vert Skaters Bob & Bucky


Written by: Press
Date: May 2002

Top Vert Skateboarders (and good pals) Bob Burnquist and Bucky Lasek sat down with the press to discuss their lives, their sport and their starring role in the new film 'Ultimate X.'


Category: Interviews

Ultimate X Synopsis: A look into ESPN's massively popular Summer X Games, ULTIMATE X chronicles all the breathtaking highlights and dramatic stories behind the 2001 X Games in Philadelphia as it showcases the eye-popping skateboarding, biking, moto X, and street luge competitions on the giant screen for the first time.

Main Film Page: Trailer, Clips, Reviews, Interviews, Production Notes


Q: Can you please state your names.

BB: All right. I am Bob Burnquist.

BL: And I am Bucky Lasek.

Q: How did you guys work with the IMAX cameras to get the shots they wanted?

BL: Well, they pretty much asked me what tricks I wanted to do. And Art and Bruce [Art Repola and Bruce Hendricks, Producer and Director, respectively], they're both really good. Bruce would let me actually help him set up the cameras. So, I was able to [show him], from skateboarding videos, the best angle to capture something. And then, he took it and did his own thing with it.

But we pretty much talked to each other, and went through where the camera angles going to be set up, and which way I'd be flying – so he wouldn't get a butt shot, so he'd get a decent shot.

BB: That's what kind of made it easier to work with them, what made it come out so good is that they listened. Some people are really hard to work with – [like] when they just absolutely are sure that they know what they're doing, and they don't like input. And you kind of get into a couple of those here and there.

But this is definitely a different crew. Everyone was really supportive. And whatever we said, they would listen to us. And we'd give them the different angles. And they'd be like, okay, we can do that or this or that. It was fun.

Q: Have you guys seen DOG TOWN AND Z-BOYS?

BB: Yes, I have.

Q: It's the origin of the vertical like in swimming pools. If you were kids, do you think you would have done that, found some swimming pools and gone out there and tried that?

BB: Oh, most definitely.

BL: I think we kind of (did)…

BB: I still do.

BL: He's from Brazil. I'm from Baltimore.

BB: Yeah.

BL: (But I) can kind of relate because how Tony Alva and Jay Adams and all those guys had their crew, I had my crew in Baltimore. And we kind of did the same thing, at different times. And that's kind of the way we grew up too in my spot.

Q: What about you in Brazil?

BB: Well, it was quite a different world down there. Because of import taxes and all that... we kind of (had to create) our own thing to make our wheels and trucks [Editor: "Trucks" are the mechanism that attaches the wheels to the board.] and everything. And -- and pool skating... All pools in Brazil are square and tiled. So, that doesn't work. I grew up speaking both languages. My father's American. And my mom is Brazilian. So the first time I ever skated a pool was when I moved out to California. California's big on swimming pools.

Q: From the time you guys were just starting out and growing up, were you surprised at how big and mainstream the world of skateboarding has gotten.

BL: I'm amazed by it. I'm seriously amazed by it. I mean, I grew up with Tony Hawk also. As soon as I started skating four years later, I was staying at Tony's house skating with Tony Hawk, the guy I looked up to forever. And so, I was around him. And I was around the stages of when he was getting recognized, and going places and signing autographs in restaurants, and getting free meals. So, I was brought up on that. And I was able to take a back seat to it and see it happen.

And then I kind of saw it start to happen to me. And now, it's where it is now -- it's overwhelming. I'm still in the back seat, kind of just watching it.

BB: It is something that, to me, I live in a completely different world now than I did when I was growing up. There's a lot of social problems going on in Brazil. Everywhere you go, all around you you see homelessness, you see kids starving and all this. It's just really a completely different world than I live in now. And now, I get to see some of the best places in the world. We get to have all these luxuries that I don't necessarily crave, but that are there.

And it's great, because you can take it. You can give your message as a skateboarder, and hopefully, people listen to what you have to say. That's the cool thing about it. The only reason I'm excited that it's so mainstream is that we get to reach more people.

Q: Is there a trick that you guys have been working on that you haven't been able to master yet?

BL: For me, it's a "front-side heelflip rodeo." I just haven't really had the time to go out there and try it too much because of all the stuff like this going on.

Q: What exactly is that rodeo?

BL: It's where you kind of get like a corkscrew effect, the 540 corkscrew. And as you're flipping your body, you're also flipping your board.

Q: Can you do that?

BB: No, I can't.

BL: Neither can I.

Q: On that new stuff, is it that "you've got to do that"?

BL: I don't think it's so much to be "the man" -- to be the guy that invented it, but it's important for the progress of skateboarding to always keep going and keep progressing. And one of the things that makes it hard these days is the amount of events (competitions) and the amount of demos. All of a sudden the schedule's filling up with premieres and press conferences. And you're (saying) okay, where's my time to skate -- and learn? So it's very important that you keep skating, and you keep pushing it -- and at the same time, doing what all that the skateboarding is demanding from us now.

Q: How many hours do you guys skate a day?

BL: I skate from like three to f-- three to four hours a day.

BB: I just skate whenever I feel -- really feel like it. It could be a whole day. It could be six hours. Or it could be an hour. I have a ramp in my backyard. So it's a lot easier to just skate for a little bit.

Q: What else do you guys do in addition to skate to prepare or to train?

BL: I surf, and I mountain bike. And I just kind of try to keep active. Surfing and skating to me are the most, uh, connected ones. When you surf, you work your upper body. And when you skate, you're just working your legs. So, it gives you endurance. But I don't really see it as something to train for; I just kind of have fun with both and cross.

Q: So, no weight lifting or anything like that?

BB: No.

BL: Not for me. But it depends on if you have an injury, you might want to work a muscle or something. But I specifically don't go out and weight lift.

Q: What do you guys think of the skateboard video games?

BL: It's entertaining, I guess, for a video game. I think it captures the sort of trickery that goes on in skateboarding where you can put the tricks together back to back. And at the same time, you're racking up points. But some of the tricks aren't really do-able…

BB: It's a video game.

BL: Yeah.

BB: Yeah, you can do impossible things.

BL: Well, there's one where you can do Spiderman.

BB: Right.

BL: You know, shoot your board out.

BB: Yeah. I think it's all valid. I think it's all fun. Skateboarding video games are very close to what we what we do. I remember when I first played the demo version. When I was making tricks, I was getting excited like I was skateboarding. You know, it was like "oh, whoa, whoa." And you say, "wait a minute. That's a virtual, you know."

So, for us, it reminds us of skateboarding. But for someone that doesn't skate, it gives them that feeling without them going out there and getting hurt. So, it kind of brings them into our world and maybe, hopefully, they'll understand more of why we do what we do.

BL: It's funny -- when we were signing autographs at contests, you got people that just know you from the video games.

BB: Just know you from the video games.

BL: And they know about skateboarding.

BB: From the character, yeah.

BL: And it's only from the video game.

BB: Usually the little kids, you know. Like, "Ah, you're in the video games!"

Q: Are you actually in the video games?

BB: Yeah, we're both in it. The one he's talking about, we're both in.

Q: Does it look like you?

BL: Yeah.

Q: How did you guys get started with skateboarding?

BL: I was riding my bike. And my friends were skateboarding. And then my bike got stolen. And then I got a skateboard for Christmas.

BB: See, I was in Brazil. I had my soccer ball still. It was different.

BL: You had your soccer ball.

BB: Yeah.

BL: It didn't get stolen. [LAUGHS]

Q: When you guys skate, what's just bad skateboard etiquette?

BL: Oh, there's plenty of bad skateboarding etiquette. Especially when you're skating a vert ramp, if someone drops in before you, you don't stay on the ramp. You get out, you know. A lot of times people drop in together. And one will drop ahead, and the other will drop behind. The guy who drops behind has to leave. But sometimes, when he drops down, you go down. Because when you're skating, there's no line. You know, you put your board down. And you go. And then, okay, now you, because you're down first. Now, a lot of times, there's people who are very competitive. And even though they dropped in behind, they stay on the ramp. And when they don't leave...

BB: They'll go...

BL: And then they'll go. And then they'll come back up. And they'll do it again. What I do, I just take my helmet off, and just stop. And let them get tired. And then I'll put it back on.

Q: In this group, there were a couple of times where there were two people.

BL: Oh, well, that was actually choreographed - the doubles. That was intentional.

Q: Have you guys done ever (done doubles)?

BB: Yeah, I've done it. Did you see the movie? Okay, the shot in the end, when I was going over a girl, that's my wife, Jen (also a professional skateboarder). I skate with her sometimes.

Q: We don't have enough women in the sport.

BL: Yeah, I thought the same thing.

Q: Girls do it, but they don't shoot many girls. Where are the women?

BB: They're coming.

BL: They'll start happening some more.

BB: Yeah, there's some really good women out there coming up. We'll see.

Q: When you guys aren't doing this, what do you guys think you'll be doing with your lives?

BL: Oh, I don't know right now. This is all I know. This is what I was raised up to do. I love drawing. I love music. I'll probably be playing music. And I love flying. So, I'd probably pursue an aviation career or something when I have more time. Do the fun thing. It would probably be, you know, if I wasn't skateboarding and having the spirit that I have, I'd probably be doing something pretty similar to it. Something that would be individual, where I was free to do whatever I want to do.

Q: What would you say to little ten-year-olds that want to follow in your footsteps? What advice would you give them?

BL: Well, my footsteps are fun. (Just trying) to at least have fun. And then, whatever comes… You're trying to take the opportunities and go with it. You don't try to push things that really aren't apparent for you. And if it's not working out, you just shouldn't drop something to pursue something without any risk. For instance, don't just drop school to go think you're going to be a professional skater and live off it. Because first, you're going to need school to keep it going.

So, there's so many things... When I was a kid, that's what I thought. I was like, oh, I'm going to stop going to school so I can just have more time to skate. But could be, you know, the skateboarder that I am and then not how to read or write or speak English or Portuguese. I mean, I wouldn't do -- I wouldn't be here right now.

BL: I would just say (to the ten-year olds) -- I'd say attacking negativities. That's all I'd say.

BB: Take it out on the board, you know, not on someone else.

Q: What's the ultimate day of skating?

BB: A nice cool day, breezy.

BL: Yeah, and nice tricks going down on video camera.

BB: Good music and good crowd, good people around you.

Q: Not a competition?

BL: Not necessarily… Well, it depends. I think practice sessions are one of my favorites when you get to stay with everyone that you don't usually skate with. Those are pretty fun.

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