Let It Ride (Jacques Russo, 2006)
The story of the life of professional snowboarder Craig Kelly. His rise, his self recluse life from the spotlights and his tragic death in January 20th 2003.
Mostly told with head interviews of his friends, and himself, his career as a professional snowboarder is told by the founders of the sport Tom Sims, his first boss then Jake Burton. WE learn his ascension towards the bests of the sport and how he perceived this activity.
With lots of footage of all of Kelly’s career, Let It Ride wants to tell the story of the man that is the greatest inspiration of the sport. He brought soul to the sport and integrity. Even if today it is mostly advertised and major companies like Nike or Red Bull have penetrated and are sponsoring the greatest athletes of the sport, there is still a small number of riders who embrace Craig Kelly’s view of snowboarding and how liberating it is to have fun doing something you like.
It brings a little light on the History of this young sport and the many witnesses and interviews come and document the first events of this movement. However, since Kelly wasn’t a man of many words the documentary fells short of substance and even if they want it to be memorable, we kind of have a difficult time trying to grasp and understand this man. His snowboarding, freeride sections, speaks for himself and even for today’s standards he was an outstanding snowboarder. Just like Terje Haakonsen once said : Craig Kelly was the greatest snowboarder of all time. Personally, I would say that Haakonsen holds that title, but it’s a question of perception.
Let It Ride obviously had a low budget and looks a little amateurish and a better script could have helped to make it a better film. On the other hand, I think that a biggest step back like ten years after Kelly’s death could have prove to give a better perspective for the interviews and his influence. I would have liked to have some interviews of his wife and daughter or more profound interviews with Tex Devenport for example.
Having grown up with snowboarding since more than fifteen years I was interested a lot into this documentary and many insides are interesting but I thought that there is not much meat around the bone and I think that with this material it was probably difficult to get more but also they could have made an epilogue with his influence and maybe interviews with a couple of contemporary snowboarders. Not the strongest documentary but still a most for any snowboarder of the 1980’s and 1990’s.