In this modern era of social media, full-length kite movies seem to be a thing of the past. I recall the old days of waiting for the latest windsurfing or skate VHS release to arrive and then watching it over and over until you knew all the sections and words off by heart. Thankfully there are still a few riders and filmmakers out there keen to put the time and effort in and create something with a little more girth than the 3-minute web hit.
After a year in the making here comes this stellar effort by Aaron Hadlow and Laci Kobulsky, we’ve been following the progress in the magazine for with some inside scoops, with the project video footage tightly under wraps, we finally got to see the full edit at the premier in Tarifa this week. Laci and Aaron previously worked on a short web clip, Reflections, filmed in Sicily. Aaron was keen to create something to commemorate his twenty years in the sport and Laci didn’t need asking twice to get involved. With support from Aarons sponsors, Duotone and ION, the stage was set and the two spent a year creating what has become known as Aaron Hadlow TWENTY.
It’s not just a 40-minute latest trick and footage fest, instead, it chronicles Aaron’s impressive journey through the sport from his first flights on the beach at Gwithian in the UK to more modern shredfests in South Africa, the Caribbean, Cape Hatteras and more. Featuring everything you would expect from the five times World Champion, this film really has it all, big air, freestyle, park riding and even a bit of foiling action too.
Perhaps the best part about this film are the cameo’s from family and friends, talking about how Aaron got started, progressed and eventually changed the sport as we know it. It’s easy to forget the incredible journey Aaron has been on and this movie cements that in our minds in an extremely pleasurable manner. His dominance of the freestyle scene and changing the sport from board off dangling, which he was a master at, to powered wakestyle moves, is a good reminder of the influence he has had. From there he moves away from the comp scene and into the park, where he then proceeds to earn the utmost respect of his peers, often besting them on the podium.
All of this is set to the backdrop of archive footage, expertly cut, and a killer soundtrack with the ever-present narration that hits home the importance of this career. The balance between old and new is near perfect and you never feel like the movie jumps too much, instead, I felt inspired to go ride and privileged to have been part of the sport while all of this was going on. My only small gripe for the film is perhaps some of Aaron’s on camera talking scenes feel a little scripted and staged (which of course they are), maybe a more natural environment would have worked a little better. I’m thinking Robby Naish in the car park at Taco Bell in RIP here. Other than that though the riding is utterly flawless and characters like Rob Claisse, Ruben Lenten and Lewis Crathern, alongside Aarons parents and a few others carry the torch for the narration really well.
A highlight for me was Aaron with his trophies, a brilliantly cut section that kind of blows your mind; if there is an event out there the chances are this guy has won it. The whole film has a touch of the documentary feel to it rather than just a straight up kite movie. It’s an impressive stamp on the twenty years Aaron has spent in the sport. He was blazing a trail right from the start and there isn’t a dull moment in the whole movie.
This is definitely the sort of film you could watch again and again, perhaps it will spur a new generation of youngsters to appreciate the longer format and in twenty years they’ll be relaying famous quotes from the movie. Although in reality those days have probably passed and they’ll be glued to Instagratification instead.
Personally, I loved the movie and I think you all will too, it’s a full 5 Stars from me for an insightful look at one of the true legends of our sport. If you’ve been kiting for twenty years you’ll love the trip down memory lane, if you’ve only recently joined the sport then this is must-watch stuff that will educate you on just how important and integral the name Aaron Hadlow is within our sport.
The countdown is on and the movie will be available here on YouTube on the 30th of June: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-K4DXyNDyjU
By Rou ChaterRou has been kiting since the sports inception and has been working as an editor and tester for magazines since 2004. He started IKSURFMAG with his brother in 2006 and has tested hundreds of different kites and travelled all over the world to kitesurf. He's a walking encyclopedia of all things kite and is just as passionate about the sport today as he was when he first started!