Action Sports Report

All four skateboarders had to land their tricks before the producer "got the shot." Chaz Ortiz, 14, almost never missed. Alyssa Roenigk

[Ed.'s Note: The Action Sports Report is a weekly blog that covers sports ranging from skateboarding to snowboarding to FMX.]

At the end of May, the finished product of the new Dew Tour "Lights" commercial campaign will begin airing on NBC, USA and MTV2 in all its special effects, post-production fabulousness. The commercials, featuring nine top-shelf action sports athletes, will introduce the fifth installment of the summer Dew tour, which looks much different than in seasons past. But why wait until May to check out the action?

On Monday afternoon, we got a sneak peek at the raw cuts of the new commercials, directed by Warren Fischer of the New York electropop band Fischerspooner, while scenes were being shot at skateboarder Paul Rodriguez's private skate warehouse in Canoga Park, Calif. The BMXers—dirt riders TJ Ellis and Luke Parslow; 2006, 2007 and 2008 Dew Cup overall park champ (and 2007-2008 X Games champ) Daniel Dhers; and do-it-all rider Steve McCann—shot their scenes first, tricking over a box in front of a giant backlit white screen. During downtime, the guys talked about the changes to the 2009 tour.

Those changes mean the 2009 Dew Tour will feature three all-sport stops (skateboard, BMX and FMX) in Portland, Salt Lake City and Orlando, one skateboard-only stop in Boston and one BMX-only stop in Chicago. The tour opens in Chicago, June 26-27 (for the full schedule, click here).

"I was surprised when they announced they were cutting the total BMX stops from five to four," Parslow says. "The economy is really affecting our sports. It's a business move, but I think the solo stop will be a fun weekend for us. We won't have to worry about other sports or sharing practice time." Ellis was also excited at the prospect of not having to share time, or media coverage, with the likes of Shaun White or Ryan Sheckler. But he believes fewer stops will make it harder for mid-pack riders like himself to break into the top three. "If you're in the No. 10 spot mid-season, it will be tougher to get to the top," he says. "And now, with four stops, we can end the season with a tie. If you're competitive, you don't want the season to come down to a tie-breaker." Still, the single-sport stops are interesting, and a smart way for the folks at the Dew Tour to cut down on course-building costs and find out which sports draw the largest crowds and sell the most tickets.

The skateboarders showed up in the early afternoon and shot some of the funnest scenes of the day. Their entrances were equally as entertaining. Greg Lutzka, 23, rolled up in a Beamer, only to be outdone by Ryan Sheckler, 19, who stepped out of a limo. Paul Rodriguez, 24, arrived with girlfriend Rainbow Alexander and carrying four-month-old daughter Heaven Love, and 14-year-old Chaz Ortiz, the 2008 Dew Cup overall skate street champ, showed up with his dad. They'd flown in from Chicago the night before and Chaz had to take two days off from high school to attend the shoot. He missed two of his finals. "I hope my teachers let me make them up when I get back," he said.

Adam Jones, last year's overall freestyle motocross champ and the only moto athlete in the ad campaign was the last to arrive. Between wheelie laps in front of the white screen, Jones talked about the impact of losing two freestyle stops on the tour this year.

"It makes the season a little tighter, but it is a good thing for freestyle," he says. "Our sport struggled for the first few years of the Dew Tour. Some of the stops weren't the best because of weather, and we are real sensitive to wind and weather. The venues they've kept are a lot less of a headache for the course builders and the riders. [The Portland and Salt Lake stops are indoors.] We won't have the issues of years past, so the people who go to watch freestyle in Portland, Salt Lake and Orlando are guaranteed to see a good show."

Even better, perhaps, than the snazzy commercials promoting it.