How do you begin to give a critical review of a skate DVD that was a certified hit before it even hit the shelves? Lakai’s first full length motion picture, Fully Flared, is probably the best portrayal of digitalized skateboarding the movement has witnessed in over a decade.
The last time I heard such heated debate and anticipation for a recorded image of the world’s best skateboarders was on a Sunday afternoon in an empty parking lot, just weeks before Virtual Reality was premiered. I must say it comes as no surprise to see that some of the skaters featured in those first VHS reels of goodness, are also featured in this DVD. You see, skateboarding will always change but the general rule of thumb is learn from the past and do something different. Only a select few can abide to these rules because only a select few have the ability to grasp skateboarding and run with it, way ahead of the crowd, into unknown directions. What you witness when viewing Fully Flared is the future of skateboarding. But not next month’s trend, or next years tramline, Lakai is taking us a good ten years into the future leaving everybody else to play catch up.
So, trying to remove the 900 or so comments, opinions and topics I have read about FF over the last three years, I shall try and dissect this DVD a bit more so that you really understand what you’re about to witness. To begin, just read the list of riders repping Lakai footwear. Bar a few discreet faces, the team reads like the US Olympic Dream Team of basketball: Mike Carroll, Rick Howard, Eric Koston, Guy Mariano, Marc Johnson, Cairo Foster… Add the cream of European skateboarding in there thanks to Jesus Fernandez, Lucas Puig, JB Gillet, Nick Jensen and co., and you have a recipe for some of the finest skateboarding ever. I mean, you might wonder where the vert part is, or who’s taking care of all the leaps of faith amongst this lot, but that’s where you’re missing the point entirely. Lakai supports skateboarders not stuntmen, in other words people who skate everything and well. In fact better than well, they ride their skateboards to the best of their abilities and stretch the limits of a plank and four wheels to the point of pure wizardry.
Ty Evans, Aaron Meza and Federico Vitetta are the men responsible behind the viewfinder, with creative collaboration and direction from visual heavyweights, Johannes Gamble and Spike Jonze. This outfit makes for a visual presentation that will blow you away with angles, effects and editing techniques very few could master in a dream. Fully Flared almost has a film like quality to it as the counter hits the 75 minutes mark and credits roll. That’s a tad bit too long for a quick viewing to spark the hype and get you skating, but in the digital era of chapter skipping you only need to jump to your favourite part and get the adrenaline flowing.
Any part will do because they’re each worthy of your full attention. I won’t get bitter and compare parts, styles or tricks because it’s horses for courses as they say, but I will make a point of saying that each section has more than one hidden gem cut into the barrage of tricks. No need for hidden sections and the like when each skater slips the odd magic trick into their part. You will need to watch Fully Flared a lot to scratch the surface of where skateboarding is heading. Sometimes words do not suffice…