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Esoteric DVD ReviewDate: 08-14-2007
Related articles: Understanding Esoteric
Esoteric Photographic Essay
View the Esoteric Trailer here
When I first saw the trailer for Scene One's first all wakeskating release Esoteric, it immediately became a video I was looking forward to for a number of reasons. First off, it's a project that was headed up by two 19 year olds that are not only riders, but also act as filmers, editors and producers for the project. Secondly, judging by the footage used in the trailer, it seemed apparent to me that they wanted to incorporate a different point of view in their editing that would show something a little more special about riding through their compiled footage (wakeskate or otherwise). Finally, they peppered up their sauce with some fun footage of the bros joking around, whether it be on a beast of a PWC (heck yeah, Matt Manzari can tame it over the wakes), high fives (because those are never wrong), or some mellow dancing (not of the water variety). That aspect of the video definitely resonated with me because it's just nice to see what kind of fun other people have with their friends on the water. Sometimes, it's those moments that stay with us longer than any trick we landed on any particular day. Ultimately, footage like that kept the vibe really light and entertaining, and it's one of many features that make Esoteric stand out on its own.
Keeping that in mind during numerous viewings of Esoteric (or Eso-terrific, as this film was affectionately dubbed by yours truly, and is no doubt the result of a wandering mind during a candy and energy drink induced sugar high), I decided that everything I felt and anticipated from the trailer was definitely brought to life in the film.
Just to introduce the premise of Esoteric, Keith and David wanted to showcase a group of riders that hadn't had much exposure in the way of a full length video part. This was another feature that helped add something unique to the film, because a few of these riders had video parts that consisted of a few clips and little more. At this point, riders like Reed Hansen, Stu Shinn and Nick Taylor have established themselves as riders to watch, but hopefully youíre also familiar with the distinct, style driven riding from Kyle Hyams and David Hanson. In addition, Chase Connor has a smooth style, whether it be on the lip, straight up re-entry style or on a rail. In fact, his section might possibly inspire you to try a new trick or two. (Iíve seen it happen!!) Also, Phillip Basino and Robbie Brazell share a section. Phillip is classic and is almost a yeti of the wake scene (but less hairy, and also resides in Florida as opposed to the Himalayan Mountains), so it's always good to see whatever footage he puts out. But Iíd never seen anything from Robbie before, so his style and presence was a great surprise and a nice addition to the video. There are also two friends-styled montages, with the first one being the most rad because of the music (which is by Cansei De Ser Sexy), which translates to good vibes and a tingling sensation I can't fully explain. People say it's called "the chills" but I'm not really sure.
Have I said the word "vibe" enough yet? No? Well, the vibe in Esoteric is lighthearted, which really shows how they approach their wakeskating. Riding is one thing, but having fun with your friends is paramount, and to actually feel that through the music, editing and footage means "mission accomplished." The boys seem to like their techno music pumping in the background (which is also evident in the "extras" footage), and my study found that 9 out of 10 people have said that thatís never a bad thing, so take that as you will.
However, it's important to note in light of all these mentionings of tom foolery that the riders put together some good sections with some legitimately progressive riding. It was all matched up to some great music as well. While I'm not in the business of spoiling a video, some moments that are personal favorites include: Reed Hansenís "anything," especially his kickflip back lip on the wake (and a solid attempt at a tre flip both wake to wake and down metro west); Andrew Pastura and his innate smoothness (don't copy it, but aspire to it); and David Hansonís shuv down Anderson gap and a solid bluntslide to close out his section (all along with the sweetest, laziest style that's pleasing to the eye and makes tricks look effortless and landings Charman soft). Stu Shinn probably put together my personal favorite section due to the riding, editing and music selection. His final sequence of tricks are something to behold, with a wake to wake backside bigspin that was so close I could taste it. However, that also means he didn't quite make it. Needless to say it just wasn't meant to be but a sweet tre flip and heelflip met his feet, which had "destiny" written all over themselves. Finally, Nick Taylor tore the water apart and splashed about in typical fashion (in between chucking a backside 180 and frontside 3 down the Anderson gap), all to a catchy jam.
There are some nice bonus sections in Esoteric that will not only make you laugh (has anyone seen Ben Carusoís beach ball?), but will also give you some insight to the lifestyle footage that was woven into each of the riderís sections. Thereís also a bonus Nick Taylor section, and a bonus section dedicated to Mr. Keith Lant (which is titled "Keef"). The trailer was also included as a bonus clip so you can watch it whenever you want (and I highly recommend that you do).
Ultimately, Esoteric was a success in that it helped promote and showcase the talents of some up-and-comers and lesser known wakeskaters that involve themselves in our ever progressing artform. The riding matched with the lighthearted vibe, and the upbeat and varied music work well to create a unique and entertaining video that sets itself apart in today's growing batch of wakeskate specific videos. Furthermore, itís going to be interesting to look back at this footage in a few years to see where these riders have taken themselves, because thereís a lot of talent and even more potential in the ďalmostĒ style footage. (Which means, y'all come-a back now, ya herd?) Itís also great that the producers cared enough about what they do and what theyíre a part of to learn the ropes and express their point of view through this video with minimal funding.
Find Esoteric at Boardflix: Esoteric DVD
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