The Jan Sleigh Review - Boards Windsurfing

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The Jan Sleigh Review

Below The Surface is a movie that has been making headlines in and around the windsurfing world for many months now. In particular the last few weeks where it has achieved multiple sell out performances in cinemas across Europe. It is undoubtedly a top hit sell out windsurfing movie, but what makes it so special? We head on over to one of our favourite independent reviewers, Jan Sleigh for more…

It seems fitting that I was rushing home to Cornwall for the weekend for an epic forecast, with the wind already up and my windsurf senses heightened, anticipating what might be thrown at all the windsurfers travelling to the BWA event at Gwithian and anticipating that I had a copy of Below The Surface waiting for me on the floor beneath the letter box. I didn’t really know what to expect from this DVD and I opened the parcel and the booklet that accompanied the DVD and read:

“Don’t be too hard on yourself, be nice to one another and enjoy every moment in life”. Poignant words from the late Andre Paskowski – I remembered reading those words in his farewell note on Facebook, and while this DVD is certainly overshadowed by Andre’s passing it is uplifting that his girlfriend Carolina and a few other friends completed the project and we’ve been given an awesome windsurfing movie.

Right from the first few seconds I was captivated. Robby Naish’s introduction stuck a chord with me – and I think it will probably strike a chord with every windsurfer on the planet. It got me psyched. For a brief moment, while the opening section and credits played at a relaxed pace, I became hungry with a Gen-Y expectation of a You-Tube-esk forty minutes of snacking at 30 second intervals on fast charging hard core windsurfing action.  But then I had to stop and re-start the DVD again. What I had just watched was pure hard core windsurf action but from a different perspective. Amazing angles and backdrops, multiple angles, contrast and colours, sunlight and flares captured in the sail: Shove-it, goiter, massive back loop, one leg one foot backie table top forward, planing backie, massive backie, tweaked out to hell push loop table top, multiple double forwards, wave 360  takka, backside 360. The action was all there. What was to follow in BTS, is in part a portrait of World Wave Champion Victor Fernandez and in part a movie that captures the spirit of windsurfing through the camera lens, played out at different locations around the globe with truly amazing action. I won’t give too much away but I played the Peru section over and over again before going any further – it is breathtaking and the music is haunting. The haunting music continues in the Hookipa section slowly building to a crescendo as does the imagery with Marcilio Brown shredding it to pieces. There is totally mental freestyle action from Gollito Estredo in Brazil with moves I can’t name and the boundaries of what is possible pushed further. New school Pozo action from Alessio Stillrich and I loved the section with Klaas Voget in Norway, its got humour and the dark North Sea is a stark contrast to warmer climates, but the waves are amazing and Klaas rips them apart. All of the vignettes contain beautiful filming that capture the essence of windsurfing.

Below The Surfer captures the things we see as windsurfers, and some of the things we don’t see. Windsurfing gives us the opportunity to see things from a different perspective – you get to look back at the coastline from the ocean. You get to see the ocean from the sky. You see rainbows that you made in the water droplets of a tail slide. And you see things no other people will see except other windsurfers.  This is what this movie captures. Windsurfing, action, scenery, sound, colour, light, and in that friendship, feelings, emotions, and inspiration.

At the end I am left with the feeling that I was looking at windsurfing with Andres eyes.  That is an incredible achievement from Andre, Carolina and the whole BTS team from rider to camera to editing to production and what they have made together. Moreover I am left with the feeling that I want to go windsurfing! Only a windsurfer knows the feeling.


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