NewsHIT: Is X Games Real Street The Contest Of The Future?


Darrell Stanton, switch frontside noseslide. photo: Gaberman

How do you get the best pros, who don't skate contests, to skate a contest? Mike Sinclair, the creator of X Games Real Street, has the answer. Cut out the timed runs, cut out the goofy TV camera-men, and put the contest in the hands of the skaters themselves. In its second year, Real Street does away with the contest run and gets 16 skaters to submit a 60 second video part, filmed and edited at their discretion, and posts them all online for the world to see. Not a bad idea. But will this be the contest format of the future? Who knows. But with new footage from Dylan Rieder, Silas Baxter Neal, Daewon Song and more—and not throwaway from what we can see—we're not complaining. And with $50,000 on the line, we don’t think the skaters are either.

Words by Ben Kelly

Break down what exactly Real Street is in for someone who's never heard of it.
The purpose of the contest is for a rider and their filmer to submit 60 seconds worth of footage with no rules on how it's being edited. They have total creative control over their video part for this.

Where did the idea for the contest come from?
I listened to everybody's gripes and concerns about contests and how certain team riders of mine [Mike is the TM at Tum Yeto] were being portrayed on TV: "Oh man, they filmed the feeble grind wrong, or they filmed the Smith grind stupid, or they cut me off before I landed," and it just popped in my head. I pitched them [X Games] my idea: What if as a hype into the X Games, I pick some of the guys that are rad that aren't usually in contests all the time—some of them are, but pick some that aren't—and let them be seen the way they want to be seen by the rest of the world? Like hey, Dylan Rieder skates a certain way and wants to be shot a certain way. Dyaln's filmer can perfect that with him. They're their own team.

Silas’ part for Real Street.

How hard was it to get all the skaters involved, especially this year? You got guys Dylan, and Silas [Baxter Neal], [Anthony] Schultz, and Daewon [Song]. That's a heavy lineup.
Last year was kinda the intro to it [last year was the first Real Street contest], so that's why there were so many Tum Yeto guys. It was easy for me to explain it to them, what the contest was. A lot of the other guys I reached out to either didn't really get the idea or they were nervous or they wanted to see how the first year went. This year, when I called more people, almost everybody was willing to do it. There was only one or two guys that couldn't because of pending video parts or projects that they were already working on. They were all into the idea. I'm hoping that next year even more guys will be into it.

Daewon’s part for Real Street.

What's the appeal for skaters to enter? Does the money have a big part in it? Or is it because this contest is a more authentic portrayal of the way these guys really skate?
I think it's a bit of both. There are contests out there like Street League and Maloof, and the money plays a big part, but unlike those contests, these guys create what they want to put out there. Lets say for instance, if Billy Marks goes to Street League, he really has no control over how they film him or put him out there. Street League doesn't put anybody out there in a bad way, I'm just saying these guys get to submit exactly what they want to show the rest of the world, which I think is pretty cool. And I think the riders are into that as well.

When you were choosing skaters for the contest, were you looking for the guys people really want to see but don't normally skate in contests?
Yeah, I wanted guys like Guru [Khalsa] and Silas to be in it, because I think those guys are awesome to begin with, but also, you don't see them as much as you see some of the guys in the major contests. I don't even think I've ever seen Guru at a contest other than when he was an amateur. His video part rules. I think it's great. I think it's a good outlet for him to be in and show the world what Guru's all about.

How long have you been judging or involved with contests for?
I blew my knee out in '97, so I think the first contest I've ever started judging was Tampa Pro of that year. I basically did it 'cause it was the best seat in the house and I was broke off. They just asked me to do it year after year, and I was stoked to do it.

Is Real Street the contest format of the future?
It is something of the future because nobody's really done it. But it definitely has its own niche. I don't think it's going to replace Tampa Pro or the actual X Games contest. What I would really like to see, is all the contests work together, if they ever could, where Maloof has the head to head format, Tampa has runs, Street League is about consistency and strategy, and Real Street is about your video part and at the end of the year they all tie together and mean something.

Guru’s part for Real Street.

What would you say to the street purists who might say this type of contest is just watering down videos and video parts?
I think every pro should work towards each project they have going. They should want their shoe video part and their board video part to be their best part ever. And then if you're in the X Games Real Street, you should want that to be the best one minute that you can put out at the time. It's not like Gonz would waste his Video Days footage on Real Street—those are epic parts. These Real Street parts are like worked on parts for a certain amount of months, and these guys rip, whether or not they win or lose. There is no loser. Even if you don't place in the top three, these video parts are still online for everybody to find.

So how will this be rolling out? How does the winner get decided?
It launches June 29. All the parts are up and there will be head-to-head brackets for users to vote on—this is for us to find the fan favorite. There are sixteen guys and over the next four to five weeks, they get voted on by the fans and work their way up the bracket until there's a final fan favorite winner for the $10,000. Then right when X Games airs on TV they'll announce who the fan favorite is, and also announce to top final three winners of the entire Real Street contest, which are all picked by the editors at all the major magazines—TransWorld, The Skateboard Mag, Thrasher, and Skateboarder. And that’s for the $50,000.

Go watch and vote on all the Real Street videos on the X Games 17 site now.

Westgate’s part for Real Street.