Originally Published: July 23, 2011

Real Street speaks: Silas Baxter-Neal

Baxter-Neal talks Real Street contest contention

Cannon By Andrew Cannon
ESPN Action Sports
Archive

Silas Baxter-Neal was voted Thrasher Magazine's Skater of the Year in 2008 largely on the strength of his video part for Habitat skateboards' "Inhabitants" video that debuted that year. Since then, Baxter-Neal has kept things rolling with more coverage and video parts, most recently with a standout ender in Habitat's 2010 video, "Origin." Shortly after finishing his part in "Origin," Baxter-Neal went to work on filming for his X Games Real Street part. The result is something to see. And Baxter-Neal isn't stopping there, either.

You just had a double part come out in Habitat's "Origin" video not too long ago. Then you had this insane Real Street part and I spoke to Vern Laird (Bones Swiss Team Manager) and he said you gave him a solid minute of footage for the Swiss video. How do you do it?
It's always kind of different. I do go on a lot of trips and if I sit around my house for too long I tend to get bored so I want to go back on a trip. I also have a good relationship with the Habitat filmer, so I go out with him a lot. But Real Street was kind of a project. When I got invited into it, I didn't have anything else to film for so I made it my project and just went for it. And the stuff that I gave to Vern was accumulated along the way or stuff that didn't really fit in my Real Street part. It was tough because it had to be narrowed down to a minute of footage.

That was probably hard for you since you constantly have double song parts.
It's just hard because if you film a line that takes up like, 10 seconds or sometimes longer, so filming a part with only one line in it kinda sucks.

Dave ChamiSilas Baxter-Neal communes with nature or, at least, with this praying mantis.

How did you get involved in Real Street?
Mike Sinclair [ESPN correspondent and Real Street mastermind] invited me to do it. I am not exactly sure why he picked me but he invited me to do it.

Did you watch the videos from last year as a reference?
Yeah I did. I didn't really know much about the contest when I got invited. It seemed like last year it was all just throwaway stuff and nobody really went for it. Nick Trapasso won last year and he had a bunch of good stuff, but it seemed like it was just thrown together. But all the stuff this year seems like people are really going for it. Zered [Bassett] had an amazing part. I think that just has more to do with it not really mattering where your footage goes these days because it gets viewed the same places. It gets blogged or put on the Internet and that's where 90 percent of people see footage these days. I knew that if my footage went into this or any other project it would probably get seen by the same amount of people because it will still get put onto other websites, you know? So if you're going to put something out you might as well do it right.

Was there anything in your part that you're really proud of?
There is this fakie hardflip that I did off a bump that I had never really done before. I had recently learned them and I was out filming and it turned out looking really cool.

Zach Malfa-KowalskiSilas Baxter-Neal uses a rough bump to get up on this frontside crooked grind.

Is that the one right near Burnside?
It's similar to that one, it's just right across the river in the Pearl District. It's pretty bad though. You have to run and throw down past these tracks and roll over these humps but I was skating with my friends and I was pretty hyped on that clip for some reason. There was also that feeble grind in there, and that thing was pretty awesome just because it was so much fun because it was like a roller coaster, just super long.

Did you take any special trips to film for the part?
Most of the stuff was filmed here in Portland, which I was kind of psyched about. And then I went to North Carolina because Guru [Khalsa] was working on an interview with [The Skateboard Mag photographer] Rodent so I went out there with them for a week and got some stuff. But I think 90 percent of it is all Portland stuff.

What will you do if you win the overall $50,000?
I'll probably put my kid through college. I have a five-month-old son so I'll just start a college fund for him.

MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM