RUNNING TIME 30 minutes, plus about 20 bonus minutes
WORDS ? Jim Gaunt
The boys have grown up. Ben Wilson and Jeff Tobias are survivors of the original Slingshot team that made the anarchistic flick with the Tronolones in 2002. But this time they've been joined by the Madonna of kiteboarding ? in terms of successful reinvention from freestyle king to wave maestro ? Martin Vari. Gone are the days of burning armpits, there's not a crisp pubic hair in sight here.Since leaving the PKRA world tour, this plucky threesome have had only waves on their minds, and the main focus of the movie is exposing a true wave-riding kitesurfing style. Lately, we've all heard about it in the kiting media, but until you've actually seen it, it really doesn't make that much sense. Obviously they are all unbelievable riders, but what really stands out is Ben's understanding of the waves through years of surfing Australia's east coast, and Vari's ability to think outside the box and bring a freestyle application to wave riding, with 360s and enormous handle-passes off-the-lip. There is a slight bittersweetness running through the film, as their aim of riding some of the biggest waves in the world didn't come to pass as successfully as they might have liked, and they spent much of their time chasing teasing forecasts and making do with smaller conditions. The upside of this is that what they've created is a wave movie that we can all relate to. These could be conditions you find in your own backyard? although granted, on a big day! What you're unlikely to find however is three riders that can tear the arse out of a section the way they can.
Visiting some of the more obscure parts of the world to ride waves and wind seems also to have brought about spiritual journeys for each of them. Martin has really fallen in love with the people and magical atmosphere of Tahiti, and his Teahupoo footage (and of course wipeouts) are mesmerising. The boys donated school books and crayons to the children of the villages they passed through, and the makers of this action documentary (which to a large extent was Martin, Ben and Jeff themselves) have littered each section with images of nature's beauty, most notably of Indonesia and Tahiti, but also Tasmania, Chile and Australia.
The serious nature of it all did feel a bit strange considering the three happy-go-lucky characters involved, but this was a serious quest for them. Maybe they didn't find exactly what they were looking for, but by the end of it you get a real sense that they've learnt a lot on this journey.
The soundtrack is engaging and inspiring and slides perfectly alongside the endless snaps, cutbacks and off-the-lips. Bloc Party leave the end of the film on a real energetic high note, and bands like The Who fill the silence in the rest. Running time's not bad, it did end pretty abruptly, but the bonus sections beef it out. Guest appearances come from Felix Pivec, Will James and Bertrand Fleury and are not to be missed. This is definitely not the end. More next year.
Spare Change was featured in Issue #23.Click here to watch a clip of this DVD