Review: Givin – ONE

11 Nov 2011

You know you’re not gonna get an objective review from me. There’s no fucking chance of that happening what with both a homie and one of my biggest idols having parts in this flick. Of course I’m going to tell you to buy it. Not only because it’s  a real good video that deserves supporting, but also because it’s Givin’s first production and it’ll be a classic in a couple of years’ time.  This is this season’s best snowboard video and here’s why:

It’s real.

A couple of weeks ago I held a little opening speech at ONE’s premiere here in Munich, Germany. The place was almost empty which was partly the host’s fault, but only partly. The other reason was, as I tried to explain in my speech, that REAL snowboarding is almost impossible to market these days. When there’s no energy drink logo at the beginning, no ghetto ass rap blaring out the speakers, no neon coloured jackets, no crazy flip-hucks and no star-cult following the riders, the youth just doesn’t give a shit. I hadn’t seen the video yet and I tried to vent all my anger and frustration at the current state of snowboarding in that speech. Too bad that already the second part has both whack-ass looking outerwear and a doublecork in it…

I guess if you’re really looking for something bad to say about ONE then it’s that there are some parts that don’t really need to be in there. Shayne Pospisil, Brendan Keenan, Robbie Walker, Doran Laybourn and Jake Koia might all be very likeable, able-bodied young men, but it felt to me like they didn’t really fit to the general tone of ONE. I’m not saying it should be a rails-only video, there’s guys like Mason Aguirre and Nick Russel in there, who really bring something new to the table in terms of style, choice of tricks and terrain, but the others just felt a little too generic to me like all the Eero Niemelas and Mikey Renczs of this world… But let me point this out, they’re not BAD, they just pale in comparison to all the beautiful otherness and inspiration that the other parts provide. And I really think we should focus on those.

When I just said beautiful otherness it wasn’t just because I’m German and too stupid to learn proper English but also because I’m convinced that there’s no better way of describing Forest Bailey’s opening part. The first of his two songs is some loungy Jazz music that would utterly ruin any other guy’s riding, it takes almost two minutes until there’s the first conventional handrail shot and there will be no alternative to either worshipping or loathing it. It polarizes, and in a good way. If you’re only remotely into riding a bit out of the ordinary, this part will make you open your eyes to spots that you have walked by the better half of your life and never even taken notice of. Also, I think the true value of Forest’s part will only show itself in the course of this season. It has the potential to put an end to a pest that has been plaguing the trick commonly known as lipslide for some time know. Forest’s execution of the backside variation at 05:50 should be put as definition into one of those really heavy books and this book sould then be repeatedly thrown into the face of all the dingleberries who think that doing a shy backside shifty onto a rail has got ANYTHING AT ALL to do with this trick. Plus he does it through a doublekink. Perfectly. The other kind of lipslide, the frontside one, has suffered from so much abuse at the hands of tight-panted, skinny-jointed, featherweight little white dudes riding to the tunes of heavyweight black men from Florida that it was high time for somebody like Forest to come along and just slam the lid shut on the whole ugly mess. There will never be a better, cleaner, awesomer frontside lipslide than his ender. You might as well stop trying, kids.

Jonas Michilot’s part just shows why he can fill a part almost entirely with his friend’s shots and still be the goddman BOSS. Plus, after his part in Shoot the Moon, the kid ain’t got nothing to prove anymore.

My homeboy Benny Urban opens up a part that has a nicely controversial feel to it. The godfather of oldschool, Mr. Eazy E , accompanying a montage of riders that can only be described as “the new gard”. From the über-proper Benny and Ethan Deiss to cotton-pants, boots-out, never-gloved Alex Stathis – street riding just got that much better.

Nick Russel – the jacket is hell, but he charges and his riding has a genuine feel to it. It’s a powder part that you just don’t fast forward, it’s got personality. And that’s more than a lot of better-known, better-paid guys can say of themselves…

Just watched Jake Koia’s part again. It’s actually not all that bad, there’s some rad lines in there and his doublecork is a fine specimen of its race. but still, Red Bull logo on the beanies, orange pants (!!) and not one grab out of the ordinary – sorry, not feeling it.

Keegan Valaika – I already came all over Forest so let’s not do that again. He’s my hero, it’s that simple, ok? He’s one of the minds behind Gnarly Clothes and this video, he’s wearing what very much looks like a Best Company sweater to me when he’s riding, which single handedly makes him the guy with the most taste to ever enter snowboarding and his riding is poetry in motion. Aaaaahhh, sorry, I just couldn’t resist the temptation. This part is a lot better than the Burton one, it’s got a lot of unreleased stuff in it including some sick Gigi-esque powder shots. Oh, and he’s riding to Black Sabbath. Did I mention taste already?

Wyatt Stasinos – the grand finale. I had never heard of this guy and neither had you before his cameos in Keegan’s Transworld part. By the looks of his intro we would also very nearly have only heard of him once more, in his obituary. I can only assume god wanted us all to see more of him because there is NO rational explanation how he survived that avalanche smashing him through all those trees. I’ve only touched on the subject of music choice so far but let me chose this moment to make it very clear that ONE has one of the best soundtracks ever compiled. How they managed to pay the fees for using a Beatles song remains a mistery to me but Wyatt’s intro montage is one of those very rare occasions where a song not only complements but completes the footage. It’s emotional, it’s uplifting and it’ll have me asking myself What Would Wyatt Do every time before I drop in this season. As for the part itself I’m at a loss of words really. I can only explain it like that: If I hadn’t already decided to build a splitboard last season, this part would have had me down in the basement cutting and screwing the minute it ended. I’ve been snowboarding for thirteen years now. The last five winters I haven’t posessed a season’s pass to any resort even though I live pretty close to a lot of epic places, I’ve ridden some powder, done some hiking, but mainly, I rode streetrails and self-built spots with my buddies. This year I won’t buy season’s pass either, but it’s the first time in many years that I’m spending my pre-season dreaming about riding pillow-lines, finding cliffs and cornices and spending time in the mountains instead of wandering the streets of my city in search for spots… Oh yeah and a two song part to Iron Maiden and Janis Joplin is about as good as it will ever get.

I hardly expect ONE to become an economic success. It’s just not accessible enough for the masses. Too many of the kids won’t get it. They won’t get why a guy who just rides down pillows and doesn’t spin more than 720 degrees gets a two-song ender part. Why Forest Bailey doesn’t ride more “normal” handrails. Why Eazy-E is dope and why Rick Ross is whack.  Why for guys like me, Forest and Wyatt keep alive what little hope there is left that snowboarding may still, ultimately, be saved from itself.

If you are part of what is the majority of snowboarders by now, you might not like this movie. You should still buy it and watch it because maybe it’ll turn some of you around. If you, like me, are bored with and frightened of what is happening in the glossy, extreme, hyper-hyper world of snowboarding right now, if you’re in desperate need of some change and inspiration, if you’re only gonna watch two parts this season, make it Wyatt’s and Forest’s.  Because there is still ONE light at the end of the neon tunnel…