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Friday, June 18, 2010
Updated: August 1, 10:36 PM ET
Tommy Sandoval Real Street Interview

By Adam Salo
ESPN Action Sports

Tommy Sandoval is one of skateboarding's true barbarians. With little regard for his physical well-being, Sandoval ups the ante at every spot and with every bit of footage he puts out. The results are often a total assault on the senses as Sandoval can make even his peers queasy with the level that he consistently takes his skating to. He's excited about Real Street's potential and can't wait to see what everyone else has come up with for their parts.

ESPN.com: Tell me about filming your part. It must have been a little different than your last part in Zero's "Strange World."
Tommy Sandoval: Yeah, it was different because I didn't have the pressure of filming an extreme part, or doing anything out of my element, really. I did what I thought was comfortable and did something different for a different crowd. Not all these little kids have seen what I do and not all the usual skate-heads are going to be watching it. So I have tricks that I don't usually do or that I do, but on something eye-catching.

Did [Zero skateboards' filmer] Mike Gilbert film your part?
It was a compilation of people: Mike Gilbert, [Fallen footwear Team Manager] Ian Berry and Russell Houghten.

How long did you work on this project for?
I'd say a couple months.

Did anything crazy happening filming? Any weird sessions, kick outs or anything else that sticks out in your head?
I actually haven't see the final edit so I really can't say what's what. I'm assuming there are certain tricks that are being used but I'm not 100 percent. There was a trick in there that I broke my board on twice and I rode one of them away with the broken board, then I ended up landing the trick on my friend's board. For some odd reason, if I can't make it on my board, I just grab my friend's board and somehow end up doing it on theirs.

Sandoval locks into a solid backside tailslide on a bank-to-ledge in a secret ditch somewhere in San Diego county.

Seriously?
Yeah, a lot of my video parts, I've always had at least one or two tricks on someone else's board.

Dude, that's weird. Nobody does that. Most people I know are so particular about their setup.
Yeah, in "Ride The Sky" I do a backside lipslide down a white hand rail that's down 18 stairs or something, and the try before I landed it I broke my board and ate it pretty bad. I asked around to a couple of friends to see what board was comfortable and my one friend had the jankiest set up -- like a blank board with some weird loose trucks [that I'm not used to] -- but I had no choice because I had so much adrenaline pumping and I just wanted to do the trick and get it over with. So I picked up his board and did a couple flatground tricks then went up to the rail, started trying it and I got away with it.

What do you think of the concept of a video part for cash and prizes as opposed to a regular contest setting?
I don't really know because I've never been in something like this and can't compare it to anything else. I've never entered a certain amount of footy for someone to look at judge and give a prize. For the people watching X Games, they will see it and be so hyped.

Tommy Sandoval keeps it moving.

Was there anything you wanted to get for this part that you didn't get or couldn't come away with?
I didn't think I was going out of my way too much to make it extraordinary, but at the same time I kind of wanted to do something different. I didn't feel pressured, just felt like I was at my own pace. In the past year I've had knee surgery so it kind of changes my mindset of what I want to do and don't want to do to support my normal healthy being.

Of the other guys in the contest -- Romero, Duffel, Bassett -- whose video part are you most looking forward to watching?
You just named all the dudes I'm down for. I'm looking forward to all their parts equally because I know they are all rippers and they all have something different to offer, and I've always been interested in different styles and how people push in different ways. The people you named have such diverse styles that all their tricks come out so different. I can't just pick one and say I'm looking forward to this dude because I'm looking forward to all of them, to tell you the truth.

If you win, what would you like to do with $50,000?
Let's see. First off, I would probably have to donate some money to local skateparks because they're holding it down and keeping it real in my area; I definitely have to show them some love. Then I'd probably go on a little vacation with my lady and my kid; then put the rest in the bank like any other contest -- use it as an investment for the future.

Who would you like to see in next year's contest that's not in this one?
I would like to see some people who don't usually get called on for these kinds of things. Kellen James maybe, a little bit of Sk8mafia. There are a couple of those dudes who stand out and I would love to see. They would make good competitors for these kinds of tricks: James, Wes Kremmer and Tyler Surrey of the Mafia posse. And I'd like to see Jamie Tancowny, too.

Crossing that bridge when he comes to it, Sandoval takes the frontside tailslide approach.

Outside of this contest, what else do you have going on this summer?
I'm headed to Woodward. This [will be] the first time I'm going there. I've never been involved with that kind of thing -- reaching out to that many kids, being a camp counselor. Going to Woodward gives me a reason to teach kids so they can learn something if they want to learn it. I'm super down to help out and see what it's about.

That's tight. Are you working on a full part for the next Zero video, "Cold War?"
Yeah, I was actually in the process of doing that when I got hit up for doing this contest, so some of the footage that had been filmed was footage that I had already filmed not knowing that I was going to be in [Real Street].