Bang Chong is the first visual dish to be served up by South African skateboarding connoisseurs, Familia. Featuring a collective of well-travelled skate rats who, despite having footage from all sorts of places, our own docklands skate metropolis being one of many notches on their lacerated bedpost, manage to remain a homely bunch with a viciously strong relationship with their hometown, on and off the skateboard.
Reasons like this is why I adore smaller productions like this so much, whether their whizzplank talents are up to scratch with the latest person to (insert fliptrick and/or backside or frontside rotation here) MACBA or not, their passion for skateboarding is relentless, and that makes me want to go out for a skate much more so than any high budget mega ramp malarkey.
So who’s in it then? Well, if you are locked into the Worldwide scene and don’t miss a trick you would have heard of these guys. But if not, you will not be too ‘familia‘ with the cast. Fuck I’m sorry; I tried my hardest to resist temptation from the beginning with that one. The people in this probably couldn’t care less if you knew their name or not, their skating alone not only does all the talking, but it buys you a drink and flirts with you a little bit too. In fact, the slick, unique styles offered by Mark Donaldson, Clint Van Der Schyf, Adrian Day, Gavin Morgan and numerous others all leave you immensely satisfied, relaxed and even a wee bit informed.
The consistent non-skating elements of this DVD offer an in-depth emotional tour of South African culture, and a fitting divider in between each section. Filmed gorgeously in 16mm by the enigmatic Mitch, whose approach to filming is just as imaginative as Fred Montagne, yet not once does it suggest that it is anything other than his own idiosyncratic style.
Accompanied by complimentary sounds from the likes Boards of Canada and Sonic Youth make these segments insightful and documentary, but never steering away from escapism. The perfectly delightful combination of the two is rarely achieved in skate videos, and is something special indeed.
The skating remains a joy to watch throughout. Mark Donaldson opens the video with a varied collection of ledge trickery and some worryingly consistent lines, all peppered with a relaxed style that goes down well with a brew on the side. Clint follows up this with a barrage of bank nonsense and he even manages to introduce himself with one of the finest switch f/s 180s I think I’ve ever seen. Classy. After a nutritious ‘friends‘ section, which features near enough the entire skate population of South Africa, Adrian Day takes the biscuit with the most memorable section in the video. His section closes with a complete shut down and wipe out on those marble banks Jason Dill skates in Skate More. Seriously, if you think about any line/trick to do there, Day has already claimed it, and done it with more style than you can pull out of Giorgio Armani’s portfolio. And finally, Gavin Morgan, who provides a fitting end to a superb little video that I have already enjoyed several times since it fell into my hands.
Get over to www.familia.co.za to see the entire picture and pick this up at VAS if you already haven’t you filthy uncultured swine. While you’re at it, check out the boards that were released alongside them, they’re pretty darn tasty if I do say so myself. Jeah.