Daewon & DVS: A Retrospective

The best of Daewon Song's 20-year tenure with DVS, which has come to an end

After two decades of unparalleled loyalty, Daewon Song has parted ways with DVS Footwear. The move was officially announced at the Los Angeles premiere of Away Days, the new Adidas video, with Daewon moving over to the three stripes along with fellow skate legend and longtime friend, Marc Johnson. 

While the move has divided opinions across the world, we figured we'd put all arguments aside and simply look back on the epic 20 years Daewon spent with DVS on his feet. After joining the brand back in 1996, Daewon has released a plethora of groundbreaking video parts, from the Rodney vs Daewon days through to DVS's own Skate More flick and beyond. These are our favourite parts, in chronological order, tracking Daewon's career in the DVS years. 
 

Rodney Mullen vs Daewon Song (1997)


 

Daewon first broke onto the scene in the World Industries videos of the early 90's, and with his addition to Tim Gavin's DVS team in 1996, he'd become a household name in the skateboarding world. By the time 1997 rolled around, many believed he was the most technically advanced skater on the planet. Many others believed Rodney Mullen was still the king of tech, though, and the two good friends decided to settle the score through the infamous Rodney Mullen vs Daewon Song movie.

While the original battle is available on YouTube, it's unfortunately without the classic soundtrack, which included tracks from The Beatles and The Doors. Regardless, you can watch the clip above, which made for one of the most technically superior videos of all time – stacked with Daewon's now trademark manual and ledge wizardry. It was hard to say who won the duel, but we'd soon get a rematch...
 

Rodney vs Daewon: Round 2 (1999)


Daewon hit his full stride when World Industries dropped the second Rodney vs Daewon video, which arguably reinvigorated the schoolyard bench scene single-handedly. Daewon's prowess at LA's customizable bench spots set the tone for the next stage of his career, where he became the undisputed king of super-tech ledge skateboarding.

Daewon would leave World Industries shortly after Round 2, as one of the biggest and greatest brands in skate history came to a close. He set off on new adventures, though, and ended up creating his own brand – Deca Skateboards – in late 1999. 
 

Deca: second to none (2001)


 

Deca's first promo video arrived in early 2001, and their first full-length, Second to None, dropped later that year. Daewon had assembled a strong team for his new venture, including a young Chris Haslam, Cooper Wilt, Marcus McBride and JB Gillett, but he was undoubtedly the star of his own show. Daewon took his bench creativity to an entirely new level in this part, which some consider his very best, and it's hard to argue with them.

The image of three full schoolyard tables lined up down a giant staircase is forever etched into the minds of many, and his warehouse enders – including that switch heelflip bluntside – are some of the most iconic clips in skate history. While Daewon was hitting his peak, DVS were also climbing the ranks off the back of his success. It was only a matter of time before they would drop a full-length video of their own, but first...


ALMOST: ROUND THREE (2004)


 

A lot changed in the world of Daewon between 2001 and 2004. Deca was firstly morphed into Artifact Skateboards, a brand which lasted less than a year, before Daewon and Rodney joined forces to found Almost Skateboards in 2003. Haslam and Wilt moved over from Deca, while Greg Lutzka and a pint-sized Ryan Sheckler joined the team as foundation riders.

The first Almost video was branded as the third round of Rodney vs Daewon, and it introduced the "feud" to an entirely new generation of skateboarders. Daewon was firing on all fronts at this point, and the part is remembered as much for its death-defying rooftop tricks as it's tech manual and ledge combos. As Rodney aged, Daewon hit his prime. And just a few months later, he'd drop another groundbreaking part...
 

DVS: Skate More (2005)


 

Fresh from his incredible part in Round Three, Daewon starred in the first (and thus far only) full-length DVS video. This part was instrumental in Daewon's 2006 Skater of the Year title, and capped off one of the best skate videos of the era, as Daewon ventured into more varied street spots and took his tricks to another new level of technical wizardry.

His Skate More part will also be remembered for an array of incredible transition tricks on mini-ramps, backyard pools, and DIY spots, which would be the catalyst for his next video project, and would become a staple in Daewon's ever-expanding repertoire. 
 

Almost: Cheese and Crackers (2006)


 

If you'd told Daewon Song and Chris Haslam that they'd be most remembered for these few mini-ramp sessions in the Almost warehouse, they'd have scoffed – but it's arguably true. Cheese and Crackers is the type of video that non-skaters and parents of skaters remember and rejoice over, lauding its unparalleled creativity and spontaneity. And rightly so, because this is undoubtedly one of the most memorable and creative skate videos of all time.

Cheese and Crackers also marked a decade of Daewon and DVS, undoubtedly the most productive decade of the two. And while full Daewon parts became more of a rarity as he entered his 30s, there was still plenty to be stoked on.


Almost: 5-Incher (2012)


 

The most recent full-length Almost video saw a solid return to form for Daewon, who'd flown somewhat under the radar during the years prior. If anything, this part was a melting pot of Daewon's best assets – full of super-tech manuals, ledge combos, transition bangers, and creative wizardry – while he also introduced the idea of skating rocks, trees, and just about anything else you're not supposed to be able to skate.

While some held fears that Daewon was no longer the skater he once was, this part blew them out of the water. Since this part was released, Daewon's creativity and skill have only increased, and as 20 years with DVS arrived at the beginning of this year, some might argue he's still at the peak of his powers. We're wishing him all the best for the future, no matter what brand is on his feet. Daewon is a legend. 
 

Words: Riely Walker
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