One of the biggest names in slalom racing in the 1970s, Bobby Piercy pioneered the ultra quick parallel stance, which helped him wiggle at light speed through a tighter course of cones than everyone else. Just as adept at barging bowls and long jumping over Playboy Bunnies, Bobby rocked both print and film media with the charisma of a movie star and a rock star all rolled into one big, fat joint. Born in 1956, Bobby started surfing in San Diego, California at age eight, skateboarding when the waves were flat. In the early ’70s, he practiced ski racing in Colorado in the winter, where he was a resident pro, focusing on skateboarding slalom back in Cali as the techniques and equipment levels increased. (Piercy worked with Bobby Turner on some new handmade camber decks that were three times faster than standard ones.) Bobby credited the rivalry at La Costa between the Turner team and the G&S FiberFlex team with really advancing the level of slalom.
Brewer Skateboards gave Bobby two pro model decks, one for freestyle and one for pools. For slalom, he rode a Brewer camber foam deck made by Bobby Turner. Famously winning the dual slalom event at the 1977 Catalina Classic, Piercy worked with Michael Williams on the Gull Wng Phoenix truck, was fond of green Kryptos, and was sponsored by Rector. A ladies’ man who enjoyed healthy eating, working out in the gym, and disco dancing, Bobby famously quipped in his interview in the February 1978 issue of Skateboarder, “My skating, surfing and dancing help my love life.” Bobby listed his top influences as Tommy Ryan, Conrad Miyoshi, Michael Williams and Henry Hester for slalom; Tom Inouye and Brad Strandland on banks; and Tony Alva, Jay Adams and Dennis Martinez on vert. Bobby Piercy passed away in the early 1980s under mysterious circumstances.
Personal Memories of Bobby
Bobby was fortunate that he had great parents. His mom, Ethel, was a beautiful woman, and his dad, Big Bill Pierce, was a former notorious Hell’s Angel. Let’s just say BP inherited characteristics from both of them. His parents divorced when we were in elementary school, but it was Mr. Piercy who taught us a lot about etiquette. I will always remember sitting at the dinner table where he showed us how to eat soup properly. I guess that stuck with me, because Big Bill Piercy was about 6’4″ and 320 pounds, and as a kid, I didn’t think big guys like that ate soup. Bobby was always a rock star even back then. In elementary school, he got a gas-powered car that he made his little brother Donnie and I drive like chauffeurs while he sat in the back. Donnie and I would have to take the car back to the house then walk all the way back to school. In sixth grade, Bobby was the Duke of the school. A few people tried to take him out, but they never could, all the way up until high school. Looking back on it, it seemed like we used to fight a lot, but no one ever really got hurt.
Eventually, we started surfing and Bobby’s dad would always drive us to the beach; sometimes he would drive over 100 mph just to give us a thrill. I think his dad really enjoyed being a part of the family and I think it was at the end of high school or maybe right after, that Bobby’s brother Donnie took his own life. That was a low point for all of us, but Bobby and I started skateboarding together along with Conrad Miyoshi and a few others. I don’t really remember how we ended up on the Turner Summer Ski team, but it seems like the next thing I knew, we were racing everywhere and BP was dominating. He did not like to come in second place. We would practice slalom racing every day, go surfing, and do all the other cool things that we did in California in the ’70s. BP will always be my big brother, as he always looked after me, took care of me, and kept me protected from a lot of the evil things in the world.
I know there are a lot of questions regarding Bobby’s death. The only thing that I know is what his girlfriend told me; that they got in a fight, then he went in the bathroom and locked the door and jumped out the window of the trailer they were staying in. They found BP’s body, and it was determined that he drowned in shallow water. Mr Piercy had to drive to Arizona to identify the body, and when he came back he had a box with BP’s ashes inside. Mr. Piercy asked me to stay with him for a while, to try to help ease the pain of Donnie’s passing. While I was there, he asked me to hide his guns so he wouldn’t do anything that he would regret, “because it’s not right for a man to outlive his kids.” One night while I was sleeping on the couch, Mr Piercy grabbed the box with Donnie’s ashes in it off the fireplace. I asked him where he was going, and he said he was headed to the Ocean Beach pier to dump the ashes in the sea. I asked him if he would like some company, but he said no. He wanted to do it by himself, and I understood. Mr Piercy truly loved his kids.
BP was very popular among his fans and fellow pro skaters. His entertainment level was second to none. At that time, Bobby, Tony Alva and Dave Hackett were the super rock stars of skateboarding (in no particular order). I remember Bobby would even get up on stage with my band and sing David Bowie and Rolling Stones tunes (although he was never the best singer)! It goes without saying that the world of skateboarding will most certainly miss him. BP was one of a kind; the Duke of skateboarding! A true legend!