No job is too big or too imaginative for Jerry Blohm and the team at Movie Prop Rentals to implement. The astonishing Floating Skate Ramp, which we helped create for the Visit California tourism video project, is a perfect example of our outside-the-box creative approach and the “can do” attitude we bring to every design project. If you dream it, we can do it. Looking back, it’s certainly one of our favorite challenges.
Working with a Skateboarding Legend
The California Travel and Tourism Commission asked professional skateboarder and X Games legend Bob Burnquist to come up with something that’d never been done before to embody their theme of “Dream Big.” After seeing a fake photo of a floating half-pipe, Bob decided he’d like to create one for real – and skate on it. What better commercial for the State of California than a skate ramp floating amid the breathtaking scenery at Bliss State Park in Lake Tahoe, after all? And who better to build this dream ramp than Jerry Blohm and Movie Prop Rentals?
Bob Burnquist is one of our kindred spirits. “Really big, man – that’s what I try to do every day – think as big as I can, and then go ahead and make that happen,” he explains.
His vision has paid off — in his nearly 30-year career:
- He won the X Games’ best trick with a “fakie 5-0 with a fakie kickflip off the grind bar” in 2000.
- He overtook Bucky Lasek for the lead at the 2001 X Games by dazzling the crowd with multiple unnamed tricks that had never been done before.
- He completed an epic Base Jump into the Grand Canyon that garnered an appearance on the television show “Stunt Junkies” in 2006.
- At the 2013 X Games, he became the first skateboarder to win four consecutive gold medals in the Big Air competition, which he topped with an additional gold medal the following year.
- That same year, he was featured on Stan Lee’s “Superhumans” for his uncanny ability to defy gravity.
- He tied BMX-er Dave Mirra for the “most X Game medals” with 24.
- In 2010, he became the fifth person in history to land a ”fakie-900”.
- And in 2017, Burnquist retired from the X Games with the most overall medals (30).
His legendary skateboarding landed him a character in the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video game series. The dream doesn’t end there. Burnquist regularly blows off steam in his backyard skate park, aptly named “Dreamland,” where he’s designed and built a vert bowl, metal full pipe, quarter pipes, a corkscrew, a loop, and the world-renowned mega-ramp.
Making Bob Burnquist’s Dream a Reality
We were commissioned to make Bob’s vision a reality – in just four days (or 300 hours, if you want to be precise). We built the ramp at Obexers, a great boat marina directly on Lake Tahoe. The timeline was grueling. The deck was stained the night before, and we worked up until the last hour.
Of course, the ramp had to be designed in such a way that it was stable and practical enough to actually skate upon. Who better to tap for expertise than legendary pro skater, builder, and tinkerer Jeff King? Jeff’s the host of Fuel TV’s “Built To Shred,” where he’s renowned for building skateboarding obstacles in unusual places, out of unusual objects.
“Hopefully this thing floats good,” Jeff said – because you never truly know until you try it. “Hopefully this thing doesn’t rock too much; hopefully my plank gets you enough speed to get that launch.”
Naturally, we had additional fail-safes in place — riggers with 500-pound weights on each pole to stabilize it if the original design oscillated too much.
“These valves are what’s most important,” added Designer/Builder Jerry Blohm. “If they leak, this thing will rest on the bottom, all of this will be for nothing, and Bob will be skating underwater.”
Movie Prop Rentals Builds the First-Ever Floating Skate Ramp
Ultimately, the project was a huge success. The final result looked like “Hollywood C.G.I. magic,” with the 7,300-pound structure – including an 8-foot-tall wooden bank ramp, 5-foot-tall secondary ramp, and 36-foot-tall platform — floating on top of the water.
“We had a host of folks coming up to the floating skate ramp on the way out to see what it was exactly,” Jerry Blohm recalls. “When they got close, most could not believe it; it looks like it is fake, floating with no supports!”
As a finishing touch, we stained the ramps different colors for a creative, modern look — and polished it to shine to enhance skating speed. (Go fast, or go home!)
We used a large boat lift to get the ramp into the water. It took four hours towing at a speed of four knots per hour to reach the drop zone. Thankfully, a snorkeler was on hand to retrieve Bob’s board every time he lost it in the water. Bob navigated the ramp like the master of skateboarding that he is, and the film director was ecstatic that he got the perfect shots to showcase what a unique, neat project this was.
“California’s a place that, anything you want to go after and apply yourself, it’ll work,” Bob concluded in the commercial, after launching off our ramp into the water. He reportedly loved our ramp so much, he wants one for his waterfront home in his native land of Brazil.
In addition to orchestrating the building of the ramp, we also decked out the tourism ad with all the props they needed – headphones, backpacks, guitars, hanging tents with lighting, sailboats, unusual bicycles, fruit vines, vintage firetrucks, wine barrels, picnic baskets, cool cars, surfboards – you know, all that good stuff that embodies the California lifestyle.
As you can see, Movie Prop Rentals is about so much more than the props. We make movie magic happen. Contact us if you DREAM BIG.