As our generation—the late ’80s generation, who started during the massive late ’80s skate explosion—pushes into our forties and beyond, we are seeing more and more of our contemporaries honored as “Legends.” What used to be the award for the crusty old schoolers doing handstands and slalom runs is now the award that goes to our biggest “new school” heroes. We are officially the crusty old school now. But our old schoolers can hardflip. As such, our 2017 TWS Legend Award went to Daewon Song.
Born February 17, 1975 in Seoul, South Korea, Daewon exploded onto the scene in 1992 via World Industries’ third video Love Child, kept on exploding through their fourth video New World Order (’93) and has essentially been the leading technical skateboarder on the planet ever since (barring a short stint as an import car racer and gangbanger in ’94). This may sound like awards-rationalizing-hyperbole but I assure you it is not. For lack of better words, Daewon is supernatural. He can bend space and time.
Undeniably in a class of his own, Daewon grew up in Gardena, CA before being discovered skating his high school campus by Rodney Mullen. Initially Rodney’s mentee through the early to mid-90s, Song would ultimately become Rodney’s friendly nemesis via the notorious Rodney vs. Daewon trilogy over the course of the late ’90s/early 00’s (Round 1 [’97], Round 2 [’99], Round 3 [’04]) and lifelong business partner after the two launched Almost Skateboards in ’03.
Cementing his legacy a decade back with heavy parts in Skate More (’05), Get Familiar (’06), and Cheese and Crackers (’06)—Daewon would win Thrasher‘s “Skater of the Year” in 2006 and was listed as No. 29 on our “30 Most Influential Skaters” list in 2012. Still, even after all of that, it is truly the most recent part of Daewon’s career that seemingly defies any laws of age or physics.
At 42, he still seems to progress every time he skates, and within his own realm of increasingly insane trickery and even stranger terrain he remains entirely untouchable. Even with his truck hangar barely attached to his baseplate. He’s still twice as good as any hot new up-and-comer in the game.
A long time ambassador for DVS shoes, Song was finally recruited to adidas last spring while maintaining his connections to Matix Clothing and Tensor Trucks. He was also rightfully inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame in 2017. Today, he continues to melt faces and defy physics through his much-celebrated Instagram clips, between spending time with his son, running Almost and living in San Pedro. In the words of Daniel Castillo at Beryl in New World Order after witnessing Song’s last trick on the steep bank, “Ohhhh. Ahhhhh. Dude, that was fucking sick. Skating is sick. And he’s the best in the world.” All hail Dae.