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Wendigo

WendigoWENDIGO
THE BACKGROUND:
Compared with its glamorous cousin kitesurfing, snowkiting is still lurking back there in the shadows of mainstream obscurity. Sure it's been championed enough by kiting magazines, but it's hardly caught the imagination of the public like the sexy, sun-tanned boardsport appeal of kitesurfing. That could all change with releases like this, the first snowkite DVD from producer Charly's Gogglebox, featuring as it does 33 minutes of eye-popping action from the world's looniest snowkiters. Oh, and the title is based on some Swiss fable about a hungry monster.
THE PLOT:
Absolutely none, but don't hold that against Wendigo. Instead, the chapters follow big shots Patrick Koller, Guillaume Chastagnol, Fabio Ingrosso and others as they ride the snowkite Meccas of Switzerland, Idaho, Norway and France.
THE OPENING GAMBIT:
Scratchy, horror movie-style black and white scenes of desolate roads being blasted by snowstorms give the movie an early sense of edge and adventure.
THE EDGE-OF-YOUR-SEAT MOMENT:
I counted three.
1) Patrick Koller, kite locked low, edging up a sheet of fine powder as he slides parallel with a massive rail.
2) Guillaume Chastagnol sliding at about 30mph across an icy road before hitting the snowdrift like a kicker and launching skywards.
3) Bjorn Kaupang flicking from heelside to toeside and carving a huge turn at a speed about twice that of any carve possible on water.
THE 'ACTUALLY, I'M QUIETLY IMPRESSED WITH THIS' MOMENT:
Chasta's looping segment is totally surreal. When you watch a rider pull a kiteloop over water, the whole deal lasts about 1-2 seconds with the rider flicking up, going horizontal as the kite rotates, then coming in hot. In this segment we see Chasta launch, fly to about 40 ft up, then he just cruises for a few seconds, no doubt taking a few holiday snaps or making himself a cheeky cheese sandwich, before he pulls his bar into a loop, and gets pulled like Peter Pan across the stage before continuing his flight. The height and incredible length of each jump (he packs in at least three kiteloops into one of his 15 second airs) make the whole deal look alienesque and incredibly graceful. Another top section is the Idaho road trip. With mellow piano music laid over the top, we witness the vastness of the plains open to snowkiters, and the truly three-dimensional freedom of it all.
THE 'WHAT THE HELL?' MOMENT:
This section actually be renamed 'the moment of flinching and going 'Eueuw!' at the TV screen', and it happens approximately every 15 seconds as we witness another rider go hurtling horribly close to exposed rocks and boulders.
SO WOULD I BUY IT?
Yes. It's a well-sewn together DVD, a little slow in pace to begin with, but overall a real eye-opener on the whole snowkite scene. Plus there's a few hilariously droll comments chucked in from Don Montague. The DVD ends with Don caught unawares drooling over a TV monitor in Wendigo's edit studio, muttering under his breath 'show me the pussy, show me the pussy.' Indeed. -HM

Wendigo was featured in Issue #14.

Added: 2008-09-22

Category: Gear

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