Real Street speaks: Daewon Song

Daewon Song has built a career out of technical progression that is virtually unparalleled. The 2006 Thrasher magazine Skater of the Year has been ahead of the curve for two decades of pro skateboarding. Building on a foundation of talent and drive, Song keeps putting out video part after video part, each one better than the last. Song's X Games Real Street part, on the heels of a solo part for DVS and Almost just months prior? One of his best to date.

First and foremost, how did you end up getting involved in Real Street?
They asked me to do it last year and I agreed but somehow we got mixed up with emails and I guess I never confirmed so it never happened. So they asked me if I wanted to do it this year and I said sure. It's more of what I'm used to doing anyways instead of going into a gladiator pit. It's so hard for me to skate when everybody is watching.

But what about demos, because you skate those right?
Yeah, I always ask myself, what's the difference between a demo and a contest? Because at a demo you're being judged but there are no medals given out at the end. The worst you can get at a demo is a thumbs down. But with a contest, I can go and try my hardest but something about it still makes me so nervous. But I still get nervous at demos, even to this day, it still freaks me out.

How long did you end up filming for this part for?
Since I had so many different projects going on, I ended up filming for [Real Street] for about two months. I just kind of hammered it out. I wanted to put a bit more fun into it. There is this one clip where I kickflipped manualed and grabbed the poles and boomeranged back into a fakie manny. And I know some people would be like, "Oh that's whatever," but that was so much fun for me. I had to manny ollie manny this chord and then when I grabbed the bars I felt like I was skiing. Most people would say it was cheating, and that's right it is cheating but I was just trying to make my life easier [laughs].

I was going to ask about that! As far as manuals are concerned, is that considered cheating? People have done manual tricks where they push off walls in the past, and I think it's cool.
I'm not saying it's actually cheating, but I'm sure people would assume that. But if you look at it all around, if someone does an air on vert and they grab their board, is that cheating? Nah. Use whatever you can in skateboarding. There were a couple of clips where I was skating at Jack In The Box, just one of those tinker toy kind of spots that most people wouldn't even waste their time skating, but sometimes that's where you can get the most out of it. Like a red curb, how much fun can you have just skating a red curb? It's amazing.

Did you watch the videos from last year before you started filming for this one?
Yeah, I watched a bunch of the videos. Some of them were pretty gnarly.

How come there isn't any crazy Daewon transition stuff in this video part?
I got a bit mixed up because they told me there was no transition and because I thought it meant any kind of tranny, there were a few things I didn't use or film for the part. Then when I saw Eli Reed's footage come out and he had something in a backyard pool I realized I had misinterpreted what they said. But I wanted it to be a mellow and fun part and I am happy with how it all turned out.

Are there any tricks that you are really proud of?
The one that was the most fun for me was the switch frontside pop-shove-it manny 360 backside flip out where I kind of nose dragged it back 180. I was really happy with it because the way I was coming off of that manual pad it was angled a weird way and it was really slippery. And that parking block always got in the way, so the way you backside flip out was sort of alley-oop and my body was really distorted. By the time I finally got it around I was like, "whoa." That was one was super fun for me.

Do you have any crazy stories during the filming of this part?
When I did the kickflip fakie wallride down the bay door we got kicked out and they took our license plate, and we tried to go back. When we went back the cops came and confiscated one of the tapes and it had three tricks on it. It had the kickflip wallride, the backside 180 to switch crooked grind caballaerial out and the kickflip pole jam on it. Luckily we ended up getting the tape back but we thought it wasn't going to happen. For the few days after it got taken I was getting a bit frustrated trying to film other things because I liked those tricks, but it ended up working out.

Would you do this contest again?
Yeah for sure. I would have a totally different approach too. With every video part that I do I try to switch it up and give the viewers something different. With this one it was more fun, like skating the rocks. People tend to just go to the same spots and it's like they forget that you can skate everything.

What would you do if you won the $50,000?
I know it sounds cheesy, but I would definitely take a portion and donate it. I'm not trying to sound like this good Samaritan but I probably would. And it would most likely be something for cancer and for the Do It Yourself skateparks, like San Pedro. Then I would put a bit toward building some more stuff for me to skate and have fun with and the rest would get put away for a rainy day.