By: Samuel Gyger
Running time: approx 48 minutes.
We highly recommend this film for those who simply want some exciting visual entertainment. It's not a kiteboarding film though, we actually had it thrust upon us by a lady called Verity who runs Cross Country magazine, the world's leading paragliding magazine with whom we share a building and many cups of tea. She said, 'Guys, you have to watch this and review it! It's a kiteboarding film with some paragliding and snowboarding in it.'
Verity does a lot of the sales work on her magazine, and she's very good at it. I realised I'd been had when after ten minutes I finally got a sniff of the kiteboarding content she'd been referring to. I counted five forward loops, a back loop kite loop and a few long distance runs over French waters near Dune Du Pyla into the dusky distance in France before we were back on top of a mountain in Switzerland with ace paragliding acro pilots, Raul Rodriguez and one of the overall stars of the movie, Mathias Roten. Now there's a sport that's really gonna rip your breath away. Full 360 inversions...20 of them in a row where Raul goes end over end with with his wing makes me wonder how I struggled with a forward loop on the water for so long! Mathias pops up throughout the film, and his most notable section must be when he's racing his buddy down a mountain on speed riders ? you remember those videos that were being sent round youtube of some nutters in France who's made short lines for their paraglider, strapped some skis on and gone hurtling down a resort piste, narrowly missing the ski lifts and cliff faces, don't you? Well, it appears they've been practising a lot since then, and a neat little soundtrack from Leftfield makes the whole thing feel a lot less like the sport of lunatics, well almost.
The camera work is key throughout the whole 48 minutes of the movie, with stunning use of multi-angles, my favourite being with Olympic gold medal winning snowboarder, Seth Wescott, in Alaska. With camera man Martin Babler locked into a bird's eye view-point across the mountain he monitors Scott's enourmous descent down this white, puff powdery towering face as he nips and hops between and over exposed rocks and cliff drops. On the other half of the screen we see Scott up close via the camera he has strapped to his wrist and we can feel the speed and intensity every time he pushes an edge out to try to regain control. But my favourite bit is when he's pushed it just a little too hard in the wrong place and a rush of snow starts cascading down behind him and all he can do is try to traverse as far to the side of the mountain as he can out of the way of the onslaught. All we can hear now is his breathing, panting and mutterings of 'Oh Man' as he slides and scrambles his way to safety. Then like a true pro, as if nothing strange had happened, he drops his front foot, surrenders to gravity again and hits a huge lip to launch his final descent.
I was a bit dubious as to Verity's pushy tactics with this film, but it's a really good watch. The colours, the back drop and most of all the action is first rate if you're up for appreciating the appeal of other sports that enjoy gravity. I'm off to make her a cup of tea for this one.
Play Gravity was featured in Issue #31.