This past Tuesday I shot down to Oakley’s HQ in Irvine for the world premiere of Naturally starring fellow Vermonter and #vanlife afficionado, Jake Blauvelt. As I sat in traffic on the 405 I had plenty of time to think about what I was expecting the film to be like and how it would stack up against the film I’d seen just 5 days prior, Nike’s NeverNot. I was completely (and pleasantly) surprised by the style of Naturally and I cant’t say how it stacks up against NeverNot because they’re such different films. Even though they’re both comedies about golf you can’t (shouldn’t) compare Happy Gilmore to Caddyshack so I’ll leave it at that.Naturally is a project two years in the making (Jake’s shoulder injuries and subsequent rehab delayed filming) and was certainly worth the wait. Jake bounces around to the world’s best locations for natural terrain, along with New Jersey’s biggest Niner’s fan Shayne Pospisil, Swiss legend Freddie Kalbermatten, ladies man Kazu Kokubo and a prospector posing as Eric Jackson. The riding is completely next level but not in the ridiculous video game way that I’m sure we’ll see in other films this year. Yes there are some double corks here and there but for the most part Naturally stays true to the essence of snowboarding, big technical lines, highspeed backside 180’s and more stylish method’s than you can count (seriously, I tried to keep track). There are some stand out moments, E-Jack’s slob frontside air transfer from a wind lip to a large pillow (sprecken sie snowboard?) Pizzle’s monster Cab 9 and Jake’s McTwist on the hip in Riksgransen come to to mind but there were so many amazing moment’s it’s hard to remember all of them.
I did however remember something when I saw the Riksgransen sign appear on the screen. I’d seen it before, a long time ago in another snowboard movie that starred an incredibly talented young rider with a penchant for soccer. Then it clicked, I suddenly knew why I liked this movie so much and why I feel nostalgic when I watch Jake ride, he’s our generation’s Terje and Naturally is our Subjekt Haakonsen. There are a bunch of similarities between the films, maybe it was even a concious decision by director Greg Martin to pay homage to Subjekt(which I intend to ask him next time I see him) or maybe I’m just way over thinking it. Either way, I stand by my statement and am truly proud of Jake for bringing together a great group of people to make not just an impressive film but one that transcends snowboarding. From Subjekt to Afterlame (RobotFood ’04), to That’s It That’s All (Brain Farm ’08) snowboard films are at their best when progression is evident both in front of the camera and behind it. These films are memorable because they pushed the envelope, elevated the genre and you can count Naturally among them.