Deathwish Skateboards pro, Neen Williams has made an indelible mark on the skateboard world in his six years as a pro. Judging from our conversation, however, Chicago's favorite son's best years (and video parts) still lie ahead of him.
XGames.com: Would you consider yourself to be a contest guy?
Neen Williams: Not really, but I do have a competitive side. I think every skateboarder has that competitive drive, whether they like it or not. It's just part of skateboarding.
What's your take on skateboarding being included in the 2020 Summer Games?
I don't mind skateboarding being a part of the Olympics. If it brings more people into skateboarding, good. That's great for all the companies out there trying to survive, and that's great for all of us skateboarders.
If you had to pick your top 5 skaters to represent the U.S. in the Olympics, who would it be?
Andrew Reynolds -- he's an American hero. Nyjah Huston, because he's really good. Jamie Foy is my personal favorite. Kirby is a pure beast. P-Rod is the best.
What was your initial reaction when asked to be a part of this year's Real Street?
I was super excited. I had been going through the healing stages of knee surgery when they asked me and I was extremely hyped to have a project to work towards. It gave me life and a purpose to get better and try my hardest to film a sick part. Especially since this isn't like the usual contest. This is a street part contest in which we get to film a skate part to represent ourselves. I'm really hyped to see how this turns out.
What was your approach to filming this Real Street part?
Wake up, meet up with Aleks and just go out for the day and try to document tricks. In the beginning we just kind of winged it and got tricks as they came. Towards the last three months we tightened up, laid the part out on a timeline and made a list of tricks I wanted to see in the part.
We ended up filming some of the tricks I wanted, but there was still a chunk that we didn't get, but that's how skateboarding is. A lot of the days you spend most of the day driving around getting kicked out of everywhere or stuck in traffic. You have to put a lot of time and effort to get the tricks you want. Some tricks you can get in a day, some tricks may take a week, going back to the same spot three to 10 times, some tricks can take months or even years. But once you finally get the tricks you want, you get hit with the most euphoric feeling. It's hard to explain, but that's why skateboarding is the best.
What trick took the longest for you?
Probably the heelflip fs krook on the mini table. I wasn't blessed with a ton of pop, so getting on the top of that table was a little bit of a struggle for me. Secondly, I'm not so much of a tech skater -- flip ins and flip outs aren't one of my strengths. Knowing that, you can imagine how much of a struggle that trick was for me. My whole life I wanted to do this trick on a mini table, and finally got it for this video part. So I guess you can say it took the longest.
How important is the ABD list when you show up to a spot? Do you care if someone has done a trick before?
The ABD list is always important when I get to a spot. A lot of the time, when I skate a spot I'm just expressing myself and doing tricks that I feel like doing. If someone has done a trick before, I highly respect it. The only thing is that these days everything has been done on everything, so at the end of the day I feel like if you haven't done that trick on that particular spot, and you really want to do it, go for it. Do it for you.
Have you watched the other Real Street parts in the past? Who were your favorites?
Yes, I have watched Real Street parts before. As skateboarders I feel like we're all one big family, and I respect and enjoy everyone's individuality and what they bring to the table. So everyone's parts were my favorite.
Who do you think is going to win this thing?
Just like anyone in this thing, I hope I win, but at the end of the day it's anyone's game. There's a whole lot of talent in the line up. Win or lose I'm just happy to have been in a competition with all these talented guys.
If you win what would you do with the prize money?
I would catch up on all the debt and bills I have neglected over the years, hopefully clear my slate so I can start over with a clean rep. If there's any left after that, I would save it with hopes of eventually getting a little house of some sort.
If you could see a new minute-long part from anyone past/present/future who would it be?
Brian Herman. Herman is just the best -- one of my all-time favorite skaters.
What's coming up next for you?
Next is a Deathwish X C1rca colorway of my signature shoe. We are going to drop another segment of footage with that. We only have a few months to film -- should be fun. KOTR 2017 airs in June. I'm really hyped to watch that and see how everyone did. Also just skating and filming for the next project. I'm trying to film my best part ever, keeping myself in shape and constantly chasing a higher health.