KW VIDEOS OF THE YEAR:

THE LAST LINE – ICELAND

FULL MOVIE | KITESURF DOCUMENTARY PRODUCED BY: KIWI AERIAL SHOTS

WORDS: Holly Keenan PHOTOS: Rein Rijke

Producing Michael Bay-esque films for the kitesurfing world, Kiwi Aerial Shots cast Dutch adventure kiter Roderick Pijls as the chiselled leading role in The Last Line documentary series. Reflecting the challenging and often perilous journeys that Roderick and photographer, Rein Rijke, take to some of the world’s most pristine landscapes, the team hope the series will expose people to the vulnerability of nature. They’re succeeding too, with the crew often invited onto mainstream TV talk shows in the Netherlands and beyond, resulting in millions of views.

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In their most recent chapter, released May 2021, we are transported to Iceland, where Roderick kitesurfs among some of the island’s most majestic landscapes, including hard-to-reach volcanic craters, between the icebergs of a glacial lake and next to the edge of a 30 foot waterfall (I really had to check my breath with this one!). Pijls hits full Tom Cruise mode, foiling between treacherous icebergs, while Rijke captures these unique moments with his drone. Plucky Dutch bants, faulty rental car dramas, eight hour driving missions and obligatory frustrations with the wind keep the movie flowing sweetly, even considering its 50 minute duration. This is no tea-break time filler and all the more watchable for the sketchy kite launches. Besides their mishaps, the crew achieve some of the most magnificent kitesurfing photos that I’ve ever seen, including the one of Roderick’s naked wade out into frigid waters at the end of the film, when there was no wind after a long day’s travel mission. Read our interview with Roderick below the video.

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Who came up with the idea for the video? Rein and I travelled to Tanzania in 2018 to kite a poisonous and toxic lake, Lake Natron. Our goal was to create a never-before-seen image: a kitesurfer riding the blood red lake. When we arrived we found that the lake was black instead of red, due to climate change (confirmed by the local tribe and some scientists). Nevertheless, we created some unique photos and this was the moment we realised we needed to do more of these projects to create awareness. Rather than focusing purely on the negative message, we decided to show the beauty and fragility of nature in her purest light. After Tanzania, Rein and I hooked up with Kiwi Aerial Shots who joined the team to create the series. How long did it take to edit the video? It took approximately five months to create the edit. From bringing the clips together for the timeline, to going into the music studio with artists, creating after-effects, audio-checking and ultimately colour-grading, I definitely underestimated the amount of time that goes into a project like this. How long was the duration of the shoot? 13 days of non-stop shooting. It was summertime in Iceland, so we had 20 hours of daylight and we definitely used it. We would wake up at 5am and then only get to finally eat dinner at 1am the next morning. Once home from Iceland we didn’t speak to each other for two full days. Everybody was completely shattered. What were the biggest challenges and how did you work around them? We had several locations in our head that we wanted to visit (the volcano / icebergs / waterfall / glaciers etc.). The most challenging was the volcano. I was standing on top of the crater, looking down and thinking, ‘I am never going to be able to launch my kite down there’. The gusts were swirling in circles and took us several attempts along with some broken kites and lines. We decided to give it one last shot and I’m glad we did. The moment I was kiting inside the volcano, I could not help but scream for joy. I could also hear Rein and Kiwi’s screams echo inside the crater as they got the aeriel shots. A big weight fell off my shoulders and from then on I knew it was only going to get easier. How much equipment did the crew take? Rein took three camera bodies, ten different lenses, two drones and a water-housing. Kiwi took two Inspire drones and a Mavic drone, a RED camera, a smaller Sony camera, ten different lenses, DJI stabiliser, shoulder rig for the RED and a big tripod. I took six kites, four bars, two twin-tips, one directional, one foil, a mini-foil board, two wetsuits and two GoPros, plus a whole lot of motivation, energy and guts! How has the project been received? We gained almost ten million views (outside of kitesurfing). I am convinced the success is because we are creating something that has never been done before, that includes an element of risk and it’s all focussed on a good cause. Instead of just showing pollution and filling the movie with the negative messaging of climate change, we are exposing nature’s vulnerability, hopefully in a thought provoking way.

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