Daewon Song is a skateboarding legend, which is why 55 minutes of film can hardly begin to shed light on his fruitful career as a pro skater. Having skateboarded since the age of 14, the Korean-American Los Angeles native has mastered the art of skateboarding and is well-known for his technical skateboarding tricks and skilled street rides — things even pro skaters wouldn’t dare to try.
On Sunday, May 12th, adidas Skateboarding and TransWorld SKATEboarding joined Song for the world premiere of his full-length documentary film, DAEWON, directed by Joseph Pease. Friends, family, and fans were in attendance to celebrate the festivities, which highlighted some of Daewon’s most significant honors, like his 2006 Skater of the Year Award by Thrasher and his induction into the Skateboard Hall of Fame.
The documentary begins by bringing audiences back into Song’s childhood and upbringing, even going so far as to show the street he landed his first kickflip on. Growing up at the intersection of Gardena, Rosecrans, Compton, and Van Nuys, Song was a product of his environment, the hood, and as such, he had a pretty tumultuous family home and ultimately witnessed his parents’ separation firsthand in 1988.
Coming from an Asian family, his parents were sticklers for school and getting good grades, which was something he was never good at, so he turned to skateboarding instead.
The documentary’s display of the beginning stages of Song’s career was as organic as his childhood. Everyone who surrounded Song could tell he was different. His style was technical and precision, so much so that it caught the attention of legendary skateboarder Rodney Mullen. Eventually, the two would team up to launch their own company, Almost Skateboards.
Song’s overall demeanor is beyond humble; he never fails to interact with anyone who stops to talk to him. He prides himself on never wanting to change the history of skateboarding, but rather progress it, and is very vocal about the ups and downs of his career. In 2012, he fucked up his ankle attempting an ollie at World Park, to the point where skateboarding wasn’t even an option anymore.
He didn’t even go to the doctor to get it fixed.
So he began illegally modifying cars and entered a relationship with a girl who was a member of the Bloods in Long Beach. It only took one phone call with Rodney Mullen to get him back on his feet and skating again.
To this day, Daewon’s skills remain unmatched, both on and off the ramp. His creativity and ideas are endless, often using benches and tables on the rooftops of buildings to create his own makeshift skate park.
Many legends and pro-skaters, like Tony Hawk and Mark Gonzalez, gave their input on the big screen about Song’s accomplished 30-year career. One even stated, “To watch Daewon skateboard, it’s a treat.” The film highlights all of Daewon’s business ventures — which emphasize the important of family, personal life and the sacrifice in doing what you love — including a 20-year affiliation with DVS shoes and the start of his own brand, Thank You Skateboards.
From the bleach-blonde haired Daewon in the button-up shirt and jeans to the current Daewon rocking a beanie and tattoos, this man has gone down in history as one of the greatest to ever do it.