Refreshing, laid back, personal; these are the words that describe the new film "AWAKE" by Bruce Clem and Freedom Films. Unlike the trend in recent videos, AWAKE does not present wakeboarding as a sport that is only about who can do the hardest tricks. Rather, it shows the sport as Bruce sees it; as an art form, a form of expression. I can only agree with this interpretation.
Like I previously stated, the video is not about showing the hardest tricks, nor is it about showing the most recent riding. As Bruce said, "...I wanted to do something slower where you could actually see the trick and enjoy the vibe." The film follows this concept through and through.
Because of its slow nature, it's not a video I would necessarily recommend watching to get pumped up before going out to ride. Conversely, it's perfect for just dimming the lights, kicking back in your easy chair, and cracking open a cold (insert favorite beverage here). It's apparent that AWAKE is a personal effort from Bruce and the intimacy of this film is punctuated by the use of digital video to shoot the riding. The video retains a high quality picture while still giving you the feeling that you are watching the footage live; an attribute that 16mm simply does not possess.
Running time for AWAKE is about 26 minutes. It is a bit short, and it could have stood to be a little longer by adding some more riding. Even so, the length is only a minor complaint.
The music consists of laid-back island beats and mellow rap tracks. The style of the music lends itself favorably to the style of the video. While in most videos I prefer fast, hard music; the music in this video fits perfectly. Some of the artists are Revival, 9 Miles, and Cyne.
It may be trivial, but I think that the case this video comes in is pretty cool. As with the film itself, the case is somewhat old school. It is made of hard plastic and has black and white cover art. It may only be a little thing, but it's different, and different is good.
A large part of the film is devoted to showing the different riding locations that BC and friends have been privileged to visit over the past few years. The film shows the lush tropical locations of the South Pacific and Noumea, Nouvelle Calidonie. More typical riding locations in Florida and California are shown as well. There is also a short slide show in the video consisting of various pictures that Bruce has taken over the years. The pictures include everything from wakeboarding to music concerts.
There may be a lot of scenery shots in this film, but there is still plenty of riding to watch. The footage is from a few years back, but it's still impressive. Myself, well, I'm a sucker for older footage anyway.
The other riders basically have separate sections, but Byerly is shown riding throughout the film. As of late, videos have predominantly showed Scott either sliding or wakeskating. In contrast, Scott is shown in this video doing moves mostly off the wake. His riding includes moves such as his signature Pete Rose and double grab 5's. He also does some Half-Cab Indy fronts, among other moves, with patented Byerly style.
Stephan Tranne also receives good coverage in this film. His section is set mostly in his home turf of New Calidonia. The majority of his riding consists of inverts like Moby Dicks, Skeezers, and Batwings.
Bruce makes a pit stop at Canyon Lake to take a ride with Ricky Gonzales and Randy Harris. It's a good section, and both riders pull off some solid moves. Randy does some of the most impressive riding of the film. He goes huge off the double up and hits some big front flips and Slob 720's.
Wahlman's section shows him sticking some smooth rolls and grab 540's. My only complaint with his section is the same complaint I've had with other films. He needs to have a longer part! Wahlman has a sick style and his efforts deserve more coverage.
Collin's riding is smooth and technical as always. Highlights include a nice rewind backside 180 along with both regular and switch backside 5's. He also does many other grabbed FS and BS spin variations.
Bruce sets the camera down long enough to make a brief appearance in the film. While we only get to see him do a few moves, BC still manages to pull off a crow mobe, FS and BS spins, and a butter smooth tantrum to blind. Maybe Bruce should spend a little less time behind the lens and more time behind the boat.
AWAKE is a wakeboard film with a truly new concept and that's something I haven't seen in a long, long time. It's refreshing in the sense that while watching the film, you do not feel as though you've seen it many times before (as is the case with other recent videos). For these reasons, AWAKE gets a solid 4.5 out of 5 stars. Go grab your copy before they're all sold out.