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NERF Sponsors the Dew Tour

Friday, February 13th, 2009

Yes, that NERF, the same NERF that brought the foam footballs you played with when you were five. They’ve signed on to sponsor the ‘09 Dew Tour. And… as part of the sponsorship, the DEW Tour Festival Village (whatever that is) will host the first ever NERF dart tag world championships. So when Shaun White is done cleaning up in the pipe, he can NERF his way to another championship title.

The NERF Brand continues looking forward by signing on as a sponsor of the 2009 Dew Tour, the world’s premier season-long action sports tour. As part of the Dew Tour’s award-winning Festival Village, the first NERF DART TAG World Championship will offer fans and consumers an alternative competitive sporting environment unique to NERF. More details to come on how Dew Tour and NERF fans can enter and compete in the NERF DART TAG World Championship.

I’m not sure how to feel about this one. Look, I like shooting people with NERF darts as much as the next guy. But is there really any cross over here to action sports? It seems like all their products are ball-sport stuff. Are they not? Maybe they’re developing a line of NERF skateparks or something. That way it won’t hurt when you eat shit.

Whatever, the economy’s jacked so you can’t hate on the Dew Tour for taking the cash. At this point we’d probably take NERF on as a sponsor too.

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Winter X-Games 13 Sets Multiple Viewing Records

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

winter x-games 13Although actual attendance was down this year, Winter X-Games 13 has set multiple viewing records across its various platforms, including TV, Internet and more. An average of 950,000 people tuned into the each TV showing, with the highest showing receiving almost 1.4 million views. Almost 700,000 videos were viewed on ESPN’s website and each of the big air competitions logged over 100,000 fan votes in less than 10 minutes.

“Once again the Winter X Games delivered the best in action sports to fans worldwide,” said Rick Alessandri, senior vice president, X Games Franchise. “The continued growth across all our multi-media properties is a testament to the passion, athleticism and drama the X Games athletes deliver each event.”

It’d be nice if there was way to measure how many so-called ‘core’ enthusiasts the X-Games is reaching. I know myself and several amigos who normally watched in the past, didn’t really watch any of the events this year. And it seems pretty obvious by how both the ski and snowboard big air comps ended, that the majority of folks voting don’t have much of a clue on what they were actually voting on.

I don’t think ESPN really cares though- the only number that’s important to them is shear volume. Because that’s how they sell their advertising, by the number of eyeballs. So congrats to ESPN and the X-Games for another successful event.

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8 Ways Actions Sports Brands Can Tap Into Social Media

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

smm-logosI wasn’t there, but I heard at one of the Group Y events last summer, marketing execs were saying that Action Sports (probably more specifically Action Sports apparel) Brands can’t tap into and experience the full potential of the web and social media/news. I don’t know about you but in my experience, Action Sports and the web go hand-in-hand. In my opinion, it isn’t about the scary new thing called the internet, it’s about knowing how to tweak what you’re already doing in order to take full advantage of the webs potential.

1.) Understand the concept and the demographic: There’s Social Media and there’s Social News. Social Media is all about connecting on a personal level with your audience. The stuff they don’t get to read about in the mags. It makes them feel like they are a part of your crew. FaceBook, Twitter etc. can all help with reaching out and communicating with your following.

Social News on the other hand is all about sharing photos, videos, articles, etc. It’s the sensational side of what you’re doing and getting your peers to share and promote the content via sites like, Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon and Twitter. Think Ken Block busting gaps, Shaun White killing it in slopestyle, Bruce Irons perfect 100 at Wiamea, Travis Pastrana busting double backs on his dirt bike.

2.) Don’t sell out, just tweak the approach: A lot of people think they need to do something risque or something that doesn’t represent their brand in order to do something viral. That couldn’t be further from the truth. What good is a viral campaign that projects your brand image in a light that you don’t really want to be seen in?

In Action Sports especially, there is so much going on that’s already viral in nature just the way it is, you just need to package it right and know how to share it. When Ken Block hit up DC Mtn Lab in the snow in his Subaru, we were one of the last to cover it here on 5ones. But no one submitted it or promoted it via social news, so we did it almost a month later and received over 90k unique visitors in less than 2 days. Don’t you think Subaru and especially DC would have loved that exposure instead of us? (were not complaining though)

3.) Personal communication/blogs and twitter: Have your FaceBook page grab your Twitter feed, and have your Blog link to your FaceBook and Twitter accounts. We plan on releasing a blog post specifically talking about Twitter and Blogs in action sports and how to connect them all so this will be brief. I was just cruising over at Shaun White’s blog and it has some super good stuff on there. He’s on Twitter as well and he would get a lot more followers (which is personal branding for Shaun) if his blog linked to and promoted his Twitter profile. Also, every time you write a new blog post, make sure you announce it on Twitter. Interact on Twitter too, imagine how stoked a grom would feel if he/she got a reply in blog comments or on Twitter from their Idol rider. That would be a fan for life.

Brands can hold contests on Twitter to interact with and attract new followers, PacSun just did this and I think it worked really well. Also, brands that have riders bio’s on their sites should link to those athlete’s blogs and Twitter profiles. It’s building personal relationships with each individual customer and it’s very effective.

4.) Hire someone with good social news accounts and background: Please hire someone to take your Blogspot blog and move it to a Wordpress blog that is hosted on your own domain. Please hire someone to design your blog in PHP/HTML and not Flash. Please hire someone that knows what they’re doing and has powerful accounts at social news sites or knows other people that do. Until you do, we here at 5ones we will continue to reap huge traffic rewards from submitting your cool news ourselves. :)

There are a lot of PR firms that say they understand social media but they don’t. There are a lot of your current employees that say they have a FaceBook profile and can easily fill that slot you have to run your social media campaign but they can’t. You don’t sponsor a rider just because they own a board. You want someone who can represent your brand and build an online community around your brand and athletes with the same ability that your top riders promote you through their shredding. You need a social media shredder. They are out there and who knows, maybe it is a current employee, if it is you need to lighten their load that takes them away from social media and let them be creative and let them be involved with the web team and let them talk to consultants. I CAN’T EMPHASIS THIS ENOUGH, LET THEM HAVE A DIRECT EXPRESS PASS THROUGH LEGAL. So many companies get held up because of legal departments. Social media waits for no man. Social users digest hundreds if not thousands of articles, videos, and pics a day and if yours is old news then don’t even bother. Make sure those people in charge of your social media campaigns get a “pass go and collect 2 hundy” straight in and out of legal.

5.)Test and try. Rinse and repeat: If you get a ton of traffic to a rider who is busting out, then make that a common bit of content. If you get positive traffic, links mentions, or comments from a behind the scenes video of an athlete, interview, or contest, then work that into a regular schedule. The best thing about web business is analytics and knowing exactly what works, why it works, and when it works. It’s unlike any other business in that regards. Use Google Analytics, or BLVD Status, and if you have dough, Omniture Analytics.

7.) Set up alerts: Google Alerts, RSS Alerts from Google News, Google Blog Search, Twitter Alerts, any and all other alerts. If someone else does an interview or awesome article about your brand or your athletes, it’s your job to find that and promote it. I absolutely loved the Fast Company article on Shaun White. I loved the business side of it and the little bit of insight into his team and his business decisions as I have often questioned his leaving Volcom and going to Target (that is for another post). However, I see no links to that article from any of his sponsor’s sites or even his own personal blog?

Use alerts to monitor your brand as well so you can watch what is being said about your brand. That way you can interact and comment and take control of the conversations that are happening ( and they’re happening whether you’re a part of them or not). I consult with huge companies concerning Online Reputation Management and one of the biggest things I can never emphasize enough is; being responsive and being transparent.

8.) Tweak the press release: You are all press release whores, submitting your news to Transworld, Surfline, and other more traditional outlets. Press releases are fine to post on your site but you should tweak them for the social audience. If you mention Kelly Slater won the world title for the 9th time, then also show his winning wave and his victory walk onto the sand and embed a video of all his perfect 10’s from that year. If you’re sending out a press release about an acquisition of a company or a new product line, tweak it for your site with a demo video or pictures. Then use that URL to promote socially, not the PR News Wire text heavy and picture lacking URL.

Social Media is an incredible tool to promote your brand and engage with your audience online. And it can be very easy to play in after you have tested it out for a while and you understand how it works. You will build strong, loyal followings and a sense of community around your brand with social media. You can reach hundreds of thousands, if not millions of new people that you had not reached prior. We’ve had single articles on 5ones that have been viewed over 100k times thanks to social media. To me, social media and action sports are a match made in heaven.

Follow us on Twitter: @50nes, @chrisbennett, @factive

Check out our ongoing list of Action Sports Twitter Accounts and add yours if its not on there.

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ASR and Surf Expo Recap

Monday, January 26th, 2009

Back from yet another tradeshow season, this month’s shows focusing on the upcoming Fall 2009 season and back to school fashions. Last go around of tradeshows I reported a noticeable decrease in attendance from both brands and retailers, needless to say with our current economic status, turnout was again less than desirable. Booth sizes have been cut back, details have been minimized, and the normal above and beyond attitude reflected in the booth designs alone have been greatly scaled back. I saw a lot more “pipe and drape” style booths this year, reminding me of days back when ASR was just getting going. Gone were the full production showroom style booths giving out free shwag, beer, and holding concerts. This year it was strictly business.

It was estimated that only 1/3 of the regularly attending exhibitors were in attendance this month, at shows on both shows, Surf Expo in Orlando, FL., and ASR in San Diego, CA. Equally so were the lack of retailers in attendance during normal business hours. This year Surf Expo hosted a preview day, one day earlier than the scheduled show dates, to give a sneak peak at the line. This offered major retailers more of a comfortable and quite experience allowing more time and focus to be paid, a nice new advantage for both brand and buyers. At ASR, something else brands opted to do was create separate meeting spaces outside of the tradeshow space, renting meeting rooms in the convention center, but out of the main floor mix. Upstairs brands such as DC, Reef, and Rusty gave accounts more seclusion which may in fact helped as it brought more attention to them outside of the hodge podge of booths. Notably missing were the big time brands of Quiksilver and Hurley, two huge surf empires that left a void on the show floor as they are usually a major part of the essence of the tradeshows.

Though the shows were smaller and much quieter than seasons and years past, there was a positive feel amongst the quietly shuffling crowds. Business as usual for most of the brands, staying the course and knowing that even though times are tough there is work to be done. We will see what the months ahead bring for the action sports community and what the next round of tradeshows in September will hold.

Here are some pictures from ASR:

Camp recession

Volcom’s Vee-Haw

(more…)

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And the 2009 X-Dance Winners Are…

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

x-dance

Tonight concluded the X-Dance Action Sports Film Festival with the awards ceremony that was hosted by Transworld Surf Editor, Chris Cote. It was a great party to end a great event and you really have to hand it to the wonderful crew responsible for putting on an amazing event. That and it’s really great for someone to recognize all the hard work that goes into making these films, both from the athletes and the filmmakers. Here are this year’s winners…

Best Editing
Uniquely

Best Cinematography
That’s It That’s All

Best Soundtrack
Archy

Best Short-Film
Looking Through the B-Sides

Best Adventure Film
The Sharp End

Best Original Score
Chasing Waves

Best Core Movie
Reasons

Green Ambassador Award
Jeremy Jones

Best Documentary
Between the Lines

Best Biography
Clay Marzo: Just Add Water

Best Emerging Filmmaker
Chasing Waves

Athlete of the Year
Travis Rice

Best Director
The Fine Line (they didn’t announce the name of the director)

Best Film of the Year
Surprise-Surprise… That’s It That’s All
(Can we just change this category to the best film in the history of ever?)

I’d like to personally thank the crew behind X-Dance for having us out here to cover the show. We look forward to coming again next year.

X-Dance Day 1 Recap
X-Dance Day 2 Recap
X-Dance Day 3 Recap

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Barack Obama drops into the United States Presidency

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

“What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.” -President Barack Obama

barack obama body surfing

As I plunk my fingers down on my keyboard. Barack Hussein Obama is getting sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America. With this, barriers are broken that many thought they would ever witness in their lifetime, and a new era of hope is ushered in. For the first time in our lifetime, and for the first time in the history of the United States of America, we have a President that eats plate lunch, wears slippahs, and drops into Sandys’ shorepound with all the style of a seasoned local.

We are an Action Sports site, a place where many come to escape the world of politics and such, so I won’t get into any sort of political rhetoric. But to act like this historic day isn’t something that will directly affect all of us would be just plain silly. If you’ve traveled to surf breaks throughout the world over the past eight years, you may be aware of how reluctant people from foreign countries have become to embrace us. For me, having spent Election Day in Nicaragua, it appeared as though a door was closed on the past 8 years and people from all over the world were ready to once again embrace Americans. It was a really cool feeling, and one that I hope will continue to permeate throughout the world over the coming years.

Congratulations Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States of America

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X-Dance Film Festival Day 3

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

x-dance film festival

Yet another strong line up at X-Dance yesterday that also included a very informative panel discussion with some industry media big wigs. The highlight of the night was definitely Shaun White’s new movie, Don’t Look Down.

X-Dance Institute Filmmakers Panel
The panel was moderated by X-Dance Director, Brian Wimmer, and included Shon Tomlin from Fuel TV, Chris Cote from Transworld Surf, Mick Hamilton from Transworld Snow, Eric Barrett from X-Dance, and Michael Starivan from Bonnier Corp. Most of the discussion was focused around piracy issues. It’s obviously a huge problem as Brain mentioned that Bra Boys lost over $800k from piracy issues alone. Surprisingly, most of the media guys are realizing there is nothing they can do to stop piracy so they’re focusing on ways to monetize beyond DVD sales. Some are even embracing it by spreading the content out there themselves, which makes sense because at least this way it can be tracked and monitored. It’s going to get out there anyways, right.

Another key takeaway from this discussion was from Eric. He’s also a producer for commercials and he said that two years ago, only about 5% of his clients were working on commercials for the internet, now it’s around 60%.

Rip City
The first movie I made it to was Rip City, a film that tells the story of Portland through the eyes of eight skaters who live in Portland. This was an excellent film and I noticed in the credits that it’s associated with Fuel TV. I haven’t heard anything about it airing on there yet, but I’d watch for that. What impressed me most about this film was that it was shot completely on a DV cam, not HD. One of our contributors, Caleb, is actually from Portland so I’m going to send him my copy of this disc so that he can review more in depth at a later time. Makes sense, considering he’s a part of that scene and all. Great story though.

Between the Lines
Some of our readers may know of Scott Bass. He’s the dude down at Cardiff Reef who likes to pull sharks out of the water with his bare hands, or so the legend goes. He’s also one of the main producers of this epic movie which tells the story of several surfers during the Vietnam War era who struggle with the decision of going off to fight in a war or dodging the draft to stay behind and live the dream. I totally respect the decision of anyone that refused to fight in that war, regardless of what the law was back then. That’s a choice and a freedom that all of us should have and can’t think of anything more pointless than two dudes killing each other. If you’re looking for raw surf footage to get amped for a sesh, this movie isn’t for you. But if you want to hear a very interesting story about a very controversial topic that’s told from several points of view, I guarantee this film will satisfy. It’s a movie that every surfer should see at least once.

Inside Teahupoo
‘Chopes is a fascinating wave, whether you surf or not. And this is a fascinating movie about Teahupoo that follows Jaime O, Ian Walsh, Raimana, and other big wave surfers as they test out Red Bull’s revolutionary 360 degree camera. Add to it, one of the biggest swells in five years and it’s on for one of the meanest and heaviest waves in the world. Now this is a movie that’s chuck full of raw surfing footage that will amp just about anyone. And next time you complain about getting pounded by a little 4-footer, just turn this on and watch Maya Gabeira get crushed by a few of Teahupoo’s gnarliest. And yet she keeps going back for more. Check out the site Red Bull put together to see some of the footage of Inside Teahupoo.

Shaun White: Don’t Look Down
Definitely the highlight of the night. Unfortunately, Shaun didn’t make an appearance but that didn’t stop this from being an awesome screening. Shaun is such an incredible athlete and in my opinion, deserves to be up there with the likes of Kelly Slater, Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong and the other greats. This is a documentary style film that follows Shaun around for a whole year. Everything from not winning (for once) at Winter X, to traveling to Africa to chill with the locals, to winning the gold at X-Games skate vert, to the business side of Shaun. It’s a tale of both the ups and downs and it’s really incredible to get inside the mind of such an amazing human being that excels at everything he does. His competitive drive is second to none. The only thing this film lacked was footage of Shaun freeriding, which I guess he doesn’t really get to do much of anyways as it’s too much of an injury risk. That’s something we’d all like to see more of from Shaun in the future. This DVD is a must buy.

The Don’t Look Down screening was followed by an after party put on by X-Games. Not much to say but more open bar and good times.

Day 1 coverage of X-Dance.
Day 2 coverage of X-Dance.

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X-Dance Film Festival: Day 2

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Yesterday wrapped up another wonderful day at X-Dance. The obvious highlight of the day was the screening for That’s It That’s All. I was especially stoked to see it on the big screen and apparently I’m not the only one as it was literally standing room only with people stacked out the doors.

There were also plenty of other good films throughout the day that you can read about below.

Whitewash
Whitewash is a documentary that aims to tell the story of the history of black surfers. I made a special point to show up for this screening as I had met one of the producers that night before that sold me on the storyline of this film, which did an exceptional job detailing not only the history of black surfers but black aquatics all around. Add to that, narration by Ben Harper and a soundtrack by The Roots, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a compelling movie. I honestly have never given much thought to the state of black surfers and maybe that’s just because I don’t really look at it as a black and white issue, instead as either a surfer or non surfer. Or maybe it’s just not something I am consciously looking for. I’m sure I will be now though. One thing that really stood out about this movie was that the director is actually white. When asked what the inspiration for the film was he attributed it to the way he was raised, calling his family “socially conscious”. The director also said the inspiration was to “explore the complexity of race through the eyes of the ocean.”

Storm Surfers
Pretty much from the start of this movie I was thinking, this is going to end up as a show on Discovery Channel, guaranteed. You could just tell by the way Storm Surfers was made and it was confirmed by Ross Clarke-Jones who said it’s actually already been airing on Discovery Asia Pacific. That’s not a bad thing. The movie was actually really really good. It follows Ross Clarke-Jones and fellow nut-case, Tom Carroll, as they set out to surf a gnarly big wave in Tasmania that’s never been surfed before. I am telling you, these guys are absolutely nuts and it was super enjoyable to watch them and their energy as they tracked this beast. Especially Ross, he’s on a whole other level of nuts. The wave actually turned out to be a little disappointing but the adventure and science behind it all, made for a compelling show anyways. It was awesome that Ross made it all the way out for this screening and had some great stories to tell. Like getting smacked by the lip of a gnarly wave that’s left him sidelined for the last 3 months. They’re also after a new wave in BC they found on Google maps, but I’m not going to be the one to out the name of it. Oh, and to attest to Ross’s nutty-ness… He actually said he likes falling on big waves and compared it to the excitement of a ride at the amusement park. Umm, sure thing.

Hunting Yeti
Hunting Yeti is a ‘break from the norm of pro athletes hitting jump after jump with contrived lifestyle segments, and communicates what ski culture is and the community it creates.’ We’ve actually been following the Hunti Yeti webisodes since last winter when they first starting airing. The number one thing that stood out about this movie to me was the soundtrack. Awesome song selections and order that flowed from stop to finish. Add to that the timeless styles of Eric Pollard, Chris Benchleter, Pep Fujas, and Andy Mahre and you’re pretty much on point for a ski movie that will be watched again, and again, and again. Great mix of freestyle and backcountry skiing.

Waterman
If you put Laird Hamilton, Gerry Lopez, Rob Machado, Dave Kalama, and the Malloy Brothers on a boat in the Mentawais that’s filled with various wave sliding devices, you’re going to end up with a film filled with flawless barrels, good stories, and plenty of new ways to ride the waves next time conditions aren’t ideal for your standard thruster. I was a little skeptical before I first watched this movie. I guess I just wasn’t quite sure what to expect with Laird being the main guy behind it. I could see it going two ways, either a complete commercial surf movie for the masses or something that true waterman could connect with. It was the latter. Perfect amounts of both epic action and story telling. And when it’s these guys telling the stories, you shut up a listen. What a great reminder of why we love the ocean so much and base our lives around it.

That’s It That’s All
I have so much to say about this screening I am actually going to end up writing a separate post about it. Lets just say that an already mind blowing action sports film is taken to a whole other level when you watch it on the big screen. I invited about 10 friends up to this screening who don’t even snowboard, some of who don’t even participate in action sports, yet, every single one of them could not believe what they were seeing. Travis Rice, Jeremy Jones, Scotty Lago, and Director, Curtis Morgan showed up as well and gave a great Q&A session afterwards. Look for the separate write up in the next day or so that will be filled with some juicy info. I had the chance to have in depth conversation with both Travis and Curtis as well, so I’ll share some of that as well.

That’s It That’s All Party
The night ended with another great party. This time put on by VAS Entertainment and That’s It That’s All. The free booze were flowing and lots of pro athletes were on hand to entertain.

I wish I could write a little more but I’m already late for some of the screenings today. On my way back for another 7 hour marathon session of action sports films. If you’re in the Salt Lake City area and you haven’t been attending the show, you’re missing out. But it’s not too late, we still have two more days of great films so get your ass down to X-Dance at 272 S. Main in Salt Lake.

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X-Dance Film Festival: Day 1

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

You have to hand it to the organizers of the X-Dance Action Sports Film Festival. Putting on a single showing is hard enough in itself. Putting on a whole festival, with many shows over many days, and doing it well, is a huge feat.

Yesterday was the first of five days of the festival. I had the pleasure of sitting through a total of six movies, of which I will give a brief overview of each below. But first, I just want to encourage anyone in the Salt Lake City area to make it out the film festival. If you’re an action sports junkie as we are, then this is pretty much like heaven. Most people might think sitting through 7-hours of films is a little much but I actually left last night wanting more, and I’m stoked to go back for more today.

Forum or Against’Em
I was actually a little late to Forum of Against’Em so I’m sure I missed some good stuff. There’s a lot of urban riding in this film and although very impressive and innovative, that’s not exactly my cup of tea. The segment that really blew me away though was Jake Blauvelt’s. Jake has pretty much shunned all forms of riding except backcountry. He himself said “I have a rule, if it takes for than 5 minutes to build it, screw it.” Meaning that he’s all about natural backcountry hits. His segment was incredible and worth watching the film alone. Soundtrack on this movie was awesome too.

Archy
Wow! What an incredible movie. One of the best surfing movies I’ve ever seen. Archy has been on my ‘to watch’ list for some time now but for whatever reason, I hadn’t seen it yet. My bad. I’m ordering this DVD right away! Archy tells the amazing story of Matt Archibold. It’s a story that’s hard to understand without watching the film and hearing the real story from the perspective of Matt, his friends, and his idols. One of the most gifted surfers ever, Matt was thrust into the limelight at an early age. By the age of 15, Matt was making top dollar, had dropped out of school, and was living a life that consisted of not much other than partying and surfing. The movie goes on to tell his story that is filled with ups-and-downs, drug addictions, comebacks, fame, pro surfing tours, freesurfing, and much more. This is a must watch.

A couple notables from the Q&A session with Director Bill Ballard from Billy Goat Productions. Most importantly, he’s been hired by Volcom to film a Bruce Irons movie this year. Bruce is one of the best free surfers in the world and we will all eagerly wait for this next film.

I Ride Park City
Again, this is a movie that I showed up a little late to so I missed some good action. Unfortunately, I missed Shaun White’s part, which I heard was the best. While enjoyable, there’s nothing really that exciting that stood out about this movie. It does a great job of showcasing Park City’s many parks, pipes, features, etc. What it doesn’t do a good job showcasing is Park City’s big mountain terrain. PC actually has some really good terrain and I think they should have done a better job showing that. I will say, that I think Park City has done a fabulous job with their park over the years. I remember only about 10 years ago when none of the resorts in Utah had anything that could be considered a decent park. While other resorts around the world where building world-class terrain parks, Utah seemed content living on their legacy of having the best snow on earth. That’s great and all, but what about the majority of days when there isn’t a foot of fresh? PC has stepped it up in a back way over the years and now boosts one of the best parks (and teams) in the world. Still a great movie.

Chasing Waves
Chasing Waves is the story about Dede Suryana, the ripper from Indo. The film tells the story of Dede’s struggle to become the first Asian to qualify for the WCT, something he is still trying to accomplish. In my opinion, he has the talent but I think it must be hard for someone to compete on that level that’s grown up in a non-competitive environment. While a really good, compelling, movie, I think there was a lack of actual surfing footage. Dede’s hails from the land of flawless tubes and I would have liked to see more footage of him killing it on his home waves. This was the directors first film though and he actually started it as a hobby. So taking that into consideration, he did a hell of a job. Dede also came all the way from Indo to support this film showing, now that’s rad!

And Now
Transworld’s latest skate flick, And Now, was next up. This is a sick skate flick and Richie Jackson’s segment alone will absolutely blow your socks off. I am not kidding. Some of the most stylish, creative, and technical skating I’ve ever seen. I’m still shocked by some of the stuff he pulled off. Plus, he’s got a really dope mustache. The soundtrack flowed super well, too. One of the better soundtracks of the day, in my opinion. The directors talked about how they tried to film a lot of this movie in hi-def but actually had to format it in standard-def. The close up shots of skateboarding movies makes filming in hi-def super hard, apparently. They did promise to figure it out in the future though. And Now is another must own.

One Track Mind
One Track Mind, from the Malloy Bothers, is another movie that’s been on my ‘to watch’ list but I still hadn’t seen it, for whatever reason. Again, what the hell was I waiting for? Like Archy, I would put this film up there as one of the best surfing movies I’ve ever seen. The cinematography, unique camera angles, soundtrack, surfing, and perspective from THE best surfers all come together to make one super awesome surf flick. Dane Reynolds is a funny mofo too, he had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion. This is another DVD that I’m ordering right away.

Transworld Party
What’s a festival without a killer after party? Thanks to the boys over at Transworld for hosting a wonderful after party that was filled with beautiful women, open bar, and great conversation with the best filmmakers and producers in the biz. The atmosphere was great and I’d like to personally thank Scotty for showing us all his awesome dance moves and footwork.

Today is shaping up to be another incredible day at X-Dance. The line up of films for today looks incredible and I’m especially stoked to see That’s It That’s All on the big screen. I’ve even been calling up everyone I know, lots who don’t even ride, to come check out that movie. I honestly think the winner of this festival was over before it started as I can’t imagine any of the films beating out That’s It That’s All. It’s the best action sports movie ever, in my opinion. Last but not least, word on the street is that Travis Rice will be there tonight.

If you’re in the Salt Lake area make sure you make it out today. I’m headed up there right now so make sure you check back tomorrow for another recap.

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Sorry, No Kokua Festival This Year

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

It breaks my heart to be writing this right now, but it looks like all of us looking forward to Jack Johnson’s annual Kokua Festival are going to have to wait at least another year. After 5 straight years of absolutely incredible shows (including the one I was privileged enough to attend last year) under the Hawaiian skies, the Kokua Hawaii Foundation released the following statement regarding the 2009 show, and lack thereof-

“After hosting five consecutive and successful years of the Kokua Festival, we have decided to take a break. We’d like to send out a big ‘mahalo’ to everyone who has supported the festival over the years, and especially thank the artists who have donated their positive energy and memorable performances.”

kokua festival

You’ll notice that there was no reason mentioned for the ‘09 hiatus. The likely culprit would be the current status of the economy, but that is simply speculation on my part. And let’s hope it’s just a hiatus and not a permanent end to what has been one of the top music festivals around. Beyond the world class music talent the Kokua Festival has featured annually (Johnson, Eddie Vedder, Ben Harper, Dave Matthews, Mason Jennings) the environmental awareness raised by the Kokua Festival has been priceless and something that will be sorely missed.

Let’s hope the Kokua Festival comes back stronger than ever in 2010. And even if it doesn’t, continue to check out Kokua Hawaii and do your part to preserve our environment.

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