DVD Reviews

Element – “Rise Up”

When the American Element team dropped their video, I was less than blown away- with the utter exception of Brent Atchley- so when I heard Element Europe were next to drop a video, my emotions were mixed to say the least… Would they over do it on the ecological front? Would it resemble an above average Puzzle video? Would the best skater have an unpronounceable name..?

Luckily I was pleasantly surprised by ‘Rise Up’. It is shorter, sweeter and way more tech than the American’s take at a video. Phew! Even if I thought the intro with it’s pretty 35mm film footage ran a bit long, the video quickly picked up pace as Europe and the States got pillaged taken to the cleaners by Element’s Euro squad.

Here is a quick run down:

Michael Mackrodt opens up the show with some really good and fast skating. Michael holds it steady on the grinds and skates a whole array of spots. Good stuff. Jo Lorenz looks like a bit of a joker, but that doesn’t stop him from putting down some nice switch tricks. Take note because a lot of these Euro street technicians will have you hitting rewind for stance confirmation. Jean Marc Soulet is a bit of a Biebel which people will either love or hate. However, Jean Marc is not scared to huck himself at some big gaps, and get the job done to a good gangsta beat.

Halfway through ‘Rise Up’ we are introduced to various flow members of the Element Europe team. Keep an eye open for the fearless little Evelien Bouillart who leaps at the gaps and rails faster than the boys. She has actually been knotched up to official team status whilst you read this, felicitations Evelien! Team Manger Christian Vankelst has a couple of nice tricks and Chris Gibbs represents the UK with some well balanced manual madness. Note for filmers and skaters: DON’T keep that little snippet of footage of the skater screaming and beating his chest as if he just slayed the dragon when he lands his trick. It makes the guy look like a prat. Sorry… French heads Gauthier Rogier and Julien Benoliel take care of the tech and transition, whilst finnish Pirkka Pollari runs the style ticket with his little hat and huge backside flips. I don’t really know what else to say about Pirkka because his part is very style conscious and sometimes that’s a lot better than a huge bag of tricks.

Back to the main rundown though, and Bas Janssen is let out of the closet to sow together a few sweet lines. I reckon video doesn’t do this guy’s steez and smooth operations justice. Sebastien Hepp (who a few might recognize from previous issues of Puzzle) is proper gangsta like Jean Marc and lays a serious beatdown of spots all over the world- notably the States. Even if you get a slightly boastful apprehension from this kid’ part, the skills are definitely there! Finally, the Euro manual monarch that is pretty much on par with Daewon Song- Janne Saario. Janne has that amazing balancing talent that allows him to twist, turn and add tricks to his two wheeled demo. This last part is the definite highlight to a fully European video that runs short at approximately 35 minutes. If you love the Euro scene and al the spots and characters it has to offer, then ‘Rise Up’ is for your DVD collection. Oh, and in case Ty Evans or any other wannabe pro filmer is reading this: You see that guy who grinds that Pat Duffy-esque rail at the very end? That’s Yves Marchon the guy who filmed ‘Rise Up’, so yeah chomp on that!

Oh! And news has just come through that London Ripper Lucien Clarke is now a fully fledged member of the Element Europe Green team (see news). Things just got a whole lot better!

Ralph Lloyd-Davis