The makers of 12 Honkeys, Hype, Six Pack and Switch22 have done it again with their latest release titled Natural Born Thrillaz. Sidewayz took a different approach to this film as it is like no other that you have seen yet. It is filled with killer riding locations, riding that is absolutely amazing and some off the water footage that really shows the life of a few lucky professional wakeboarders. From Thailand to Idaho, Argentina to California, this video takes you on a trip around the world and back with an array of different riders and styles. When I watched this film for the first time, I came to the conclusion that viewers will either love it or hate it, but it is a must see in my book.
The concept of Natural Born Thrillaz is the usual concept of any wakeboarding film: Travel to as many awesome locations as possible and get some really good wakeboarding footage on film. Except this time around, it is just different than any other. There isn’t any kind of recognizable format, and that may be the reason why it seems so different. Sideways also included a lot of off the water footage to give viewers more of an inside look at the riders experience's while making this film. Those looking for non stop wakeboarding will surely not like all of the off the water goofs, but some may find it really cool to see what actually goes on while these guys and girls travel the world wakeboarding and having a good time.
The quality of the video is not the best in the world. It looks like a lot of it was shot from a home video camera, which it probably was. The off the water footage looks like it was shot by the riders themselves, so it is kind of like watching a homemade movie of you and your friends. The views and angles of the tricks are the usual as most of the other wakeboarding videos, but the scenery will sometimes take your eyes off of the rider.
According to Sideways, the running time of NBT is 48 minutes. That is about the usual length of wakeboarding videos these days. With the amount of riders used in this film, there must be at least two different riders a minute. At least it seems like there would be after seeing the amount of riders and knowing the length of the video.
The music in NBT is decent. There is a little bit of everything from rap to punk to rock and roll. You probably won’t want to run out and buy the soundtrack, but the music chosen for the rider’s sections jived well with their style of riding.
Wakeboarding is getting insane! The riding in NBT is unbelievable. Josh Sanders, Greg Falzon, Daniel Watkins, Cobe Mickacich, Billy McKee, Randall Harris, Parks Bonifay, Shane Bonifay and Thomas Horrell are a handful of the many riders featured in this film. These guys laid it all on the line for this video. Going huge and spinning like crazy seemed to be the goal of each of the riders. Some slider sessions were also caught on tape at The Projects and with the Pointless Crew that is sick. These riders definitely know the definition of style. Everything is big, everything is grabbed and everything is as smooth as silk.
On The Water Highlights
When a group of riders get together at The Projects, you can be sure that some crazy stuff is going to go down. For instance, Jim Leatherman takes a ride up a slider that is over land and goes into some kind of wooden pool contraption. He then rides through the “pool thing” and ollies back onto another slider going back into the water. He then takes this a few steps further and adds in some backside slides and different spin variations off he second half of the pool slider. Ryan Doyle completely tears up The Projects on his wakeskate with a chair start, a shuvit on top of a 3/4 rainbow and another board slide with a shuvit off of the end.
More craziness and unreal sliding was captured once again at The Projects. Highlights from The Carnival include Thomas Horrell's acid drop from a platform onto a slider, a backside slide the length of the whole rainbow slider by Shane Bonifay and Collin Harrington, a backside transfer from a fun box to a bicycle rack by Wahlman, and a backside 360 gap transfer to backside 180 off from Parks Bonifay. Danny Harf also adds a straight air to back bumper on a vert quarter pipe in the water.
Scott Byerly, Daring Shapiro, Gerry Nunn and Ryan Seibring star in a section that was shot in Hawaii. Shapiro starts it off with a backside 180 that is absolutely humongous. He also does almost every other trick to blind. Byerly rips the skate with some 360 shuvits and straps on the bindings for a few tricks. Nunn gets tweaked and Seibring flows like water from trick to trick.
From here the video jumps around quickly from location to location and from rider to rider. Some of the riders featured in these sections are Greg Necrason and Shawn Watson mostly sliding and spinning. Both do some technical slides, technical wake tricks, a lot of spins and some really smooth grabs and pokes. Ryan Wolfe also gets in on the action along with Chris Bischoff, Cobe Mikacich, Charley Patterson and a few others for some riding in Argentina. Chad Morin, Erik Ruck, Billy McKee, and Drew McGuckin bring it back to the states and showcase some more phenomenal riding. The video then goes into a few more quick sections shot in different locations featuring Byerly, Parks, Harris, Brett Eisenhauer, Josh Sanders and Daniel Watkins.
So far this video has shown more riders than anyone could possibly imagine, but this is the part you do not want to miss. If you only had ten minutes to spend watching this video, then I would highly suggest fast forwarding to this section. You will know when you get there because the screen will turn to black and white and you will see a skinny life jacket-less fellow rise out of the water on his wakeskate that goes by the name of Thomas Horrell. If the previous riding did not blow you away then get ready to be absolutely amazed. Horrell’s wakeskating looks more like an art form than a sport. He throws tricks such as frontside lipslide to backside lipslide to shuvit, backside 360’s wake to wake, huge ollies onto a flat bar slider then shuvit's off and the list goes on and on. This is something you have to see for yourself to appreciate. Mad props go out to Horrell for this section, it alone makes this video a must buy.
Another section that makes this video a must buy is the very last and is designated to Randall “The Vandal” Harris. Harris comes unglued when hitting the wake on every single wake jump. The air that this kid gets makes you wonder how he can still walk. Spins are the name of the game, but The Vandal also throws a crow mobe out into the flats and a slim chance off the double up just for starters. Everything he does is grabbed, huge and is thrown with nothing but style. He also manages to do just about every trick both regular and switch. After watching Horrell’s wakeskate section a few dozen times, be sure to let it play a little longer to see Harris throw down Westside style.
Off The Water Highlights
As mentioned before, NBT is full of off the water action. Most of them are funny, some of them are crazy and others could have been left out. A lot of the off the water footage explains the situation that the rider(s) have found themselves in at the present time or gives an explanation of the location and a little background information about their trip.
A few to look out for are some scenes shot from inside of a few different cars, some nightlife sections with references to various pop singers, Cobe with a bullhorn, The Bisch Bomb and The Vandall’s indoor skate session. There is also a Vandall outdoor skate session, but I think you will find the indoor session a lot more amusing. If you like to see the life that some of these guys and girls are able to live through this sport, then you will enjoy these sections.
Natural Born Thrillaz definitely shows a lot of different riders and riding styles, which is always a plus when watching videos. The locations were also a big plus for this film. The sections were short and sweet for each rider or riders, but it really breaks the video up good and keeps you interested. The off the water footage can go either way. If you like stuff like that then you will enjoy it. If you want non stop riding then you will not like it at all. I thought it was cool and funny for the most part, but had way too much of Randall Harris talking to the camera. Sidewayz shot some really good wakeboarding, sliding and some killer wakeskating and for that I give them 4.75 out of 5 stars. As mentioned before, I feel you will either love this video or hate it. All you can do now is check it out for yourself. To find out more information or to purchase this video, check out sidewayz.com.