by Jeffrey Schmid
Who needs Hollywood? When it comes to the true meaning of blood, sweat and tears, and real stories of inspiration, look no farther than this list.
It would be impossible to make a “Best Action Sports Movies of All Time” list, because you can’t compare Travis Rice’s 100+ foot gap jumps in “That’s It That’s All” to Scott Stevens’ One-Footed Boardslides in “Stack Footy.” Instead, here is a list of ten action sports films that are better than anything in the New Releases section at Blockbuster.
If you haven’t seen some of these gems, you are seriously missing out, but that’s ok… they’re all available from Platinum Distribution! Here they are, in no particular order…
Flow (ThirtyFourFilms | 2006)
35 years, 70,000 hand-shaped surfboards, 15 world titles, 6 world champions, and 1 man had a hand in it all.
Flow is a feature length documentary covering the lives and unparalleled history of the Channel Islands Surf Team and their legendary surfboard shaper Al Merrick. The film covers the illustrious careers of Channel Islands surfers like Kelly Slater, Tom Curren, and Dane Reynolds, and their special relationship with the man who shapes their boards.
For Al Merrick, passion, humility and kindness turned into something larger than most of us could ever imagine. For this reason, Flow remains one of the most inspiring films I have ever seen.
The Resistance (Mack Dawg Productions/Forum Snowboards | 2000)
Peter Line, JP Walker, Jeremy Jones, Bjorn Leines, Joni Malmi and Devun Walsh… need I say more?
Possibly the greatest team in snowboarding history in their most prosperous years. If you watch The Resistance today in 2010, it’s funny how non-dated it is. Sure there are no Double Corked 1080s, but aside from that you would have no way of telling that this riding is ten years old.
The End (Birdhouse Skateboards | 1998)
At the time of it’s release, The End was by far the most well-produced action sports film ever made… and the skating isn’t bad either.
Highlights from the film include Andrew Reynolds at the climax of his career, and Jeremy Klein and Heath Kirchart’s legendary shared section… the two skate legends set up their take off ramp in front of any sign, bus stop shelter or shed that they can find, all edited to Queen and David Bowie’s Under Pressure. Obviously, it doesn’t get much better than this.
That’s It That’s All (Brain Farm Digital Cinema | 2009)
The Star Wars of Snowboarding.
Insanely creative and hard-working filmmaker Curt Morgan follows Travis Rice around the world for two years as he progresses the sport to unbelievable new levels… the result, maybe the most epic action sports film ever made.
It’s sometimes hard to tell if this film is about helicopters or snowboarding, but either way you’re in for some breathtaking shots and hilariously large jumpers.
Transgression (Sidewayz | 2007)
A crazily progressive wake film that focuses on giganto-sized features and super-exotic locations.
Riders include Matt Manzarri, Keith Lidberg, Ryan Doyle and the return of Randall Harris.
Twitch: Hoodrich (VAS Entertainment | 2008)
The story of the twitchy kid with tourettes syndrome and his rise to the top of the freestyle motocross world.
Follow Jeremy Steinberg as he transforms from a bad-mouthed SoCal kid to a member of the Metal Mulisha, X-Games champion, and freestyle motocross legend.
Everyday Is A Saturday (Poor Boyz Productions | 2009)
When you ski for a living, everyday really is a Saturday… and everyday is probably more fun than most people’s Saturdays.
Here’s a ski film that will leave any snowboarder saying “holy shit”. Double Corking spins, insanely progressive park features, and a really good group of ski kids who exemplify what living in the mountains is all about.
Fully Flared (Lakai Limited Footwear | 2007)
90 minutes of epic skateboarding.
From shit blowing up all over the place in the intro, to Marc Johnson’s closing section which is the length of three songs, Fully Flared is mind-blowing throughout. This video has a unique quality that a lot of action sports films, even some on this list, do not have… it is extremely well-produced and has an elite soundtrack, but the quantity of tricks does not suffer… this thing is jam-packed with skateboarding from start to finish.
Let It Ride (Locomotion Films | 2007)
A movie about life… snowboarding.
Craig Kelly had everything you could ever ask for in Snowboarding… World Championship titles, global exposure, and Jake Burton even offered him his own snowboard company… he respectfully declined.
Craig instead decided to go into the wild, and find out more about himself and the world around him. “Craig did so much for our sport, we’re all in debt to him for the rest of our lives. Let it Ride is a bit of payback” – Jake Burton
The Endless Summer (Bruce Brown | 1966)
The original action sports film… straight up.
Bruce Brown follows two young Americans, Robert August and Mike Hynson, around the world in search of the perfect wave. They find some pretty good ones in places where the locals have never seen a surfboard, and no one has ever surfed.
Even Roger Ebert has seen this one: “the beautiful photography he brought home almost makes you wonder if Hollywood hasn’t been trying too hard”. This film is as good in 2010 as it was in 1966… maybe even better.
When not writing for the Alli Expression Session, Jeffrey can be found standing sideways on wood somewhere in Western Canada, or contributing to his own action sports blog, streetjesus.net.