Here at Novel Ways we watch a lot of parkour and freerunning videos, so we decided to compile a list of our very favourite ones from the last year. With gimbals and GoPros already being standard kit for most serious parkour video makers, 2017 was very much the year of the drone, VHS effects, Vlogs and the phrase "send it!" However for this list we are focusing primarily on the movement content of the video with everything else being a bonus.
One of the other biggest shifts in the parkour media landscape was also that Instagram bumped up the maximum video duration from 15 seconds to 1 minute in 2016, allowing traceurs to easily push out a large volume of quick training clips in a platform that rewards immediacy. High quality parkour video production may have suffered slightly but it is undeniable that this format does suit the lifestyle of traceurs who would prefer to train and document rather than make cinematic masterpieces. For this particular list we are excluding Instagram videos mostly because they are just too numerous to compile. Luckily for us many other great longer format videos did get released over the last year.
Click here to start the playlist or continue below for our full write up on why you should watch each video:
Nothing beats this hard running style where traceurs cover some proper ground and traverse multiple storeys of terrain. The Storror guys have honed this style of movement over the years and are some of the very best at it. The use of black and white adds to the gritty, no nonsense style of this video and helps make it an instant classic. No clickbait title is required on this one when the content itself is this good.
The fact that this tandem of Max and Benj Cave are brothers makes the video even cooler. Their styles compliment each other so perfectly. Max has an intensity to all of his runs that puts him in our top 5 traceurs that you would not like to be chased by. His running wall splash to 2 storey wall slide was one of the gnarliest things we have ever seen. Benj in contrast always looks super light on his feet and very fluid with all of his lines. The third star of this video is the amazing English rooftop spots that the rest of the parkour world is envious of.
N.B. We could have easily put a number of Storror videos on this list, so before you cry foul for Callum's vids not being here, please note that we had to cut it down to our favourite 2 Storror vids to spread the love.
Uro - Uro
This video came out of a nowhere to blow us all away with its dark brooding intensity and hardcore freerunnning moves. All we actually know about this guy is that he is from Norway and that we may have just witnessed some sort of satanic ritual. This video contains a tonne of gritty looking moves that you have never seen before, thrown down hard to a soundtrack of guttural heavy breathing/trance-like chanting. The whole thing is made up of lots of fast cuts combined with an under-exposed dark colour grading, which further adds to the mystique and animalistic quality of this video. We like to imagine that this is the dream parkour purist wake up in a cold sweat from.
Resurgence - Motus x RUN LDN
Motus and Run LDN pretty much dropped the new London par-reel with this video that contained some truly massive movements. We saw a lot of ground-breaking things happen at familiar and iconic spots. The movements in this video had that signature English style of clean moves and precision but also an intense, raw, youthful energy from all the young guns in this video that could not be suppressed. Another Giles classic.
TRANSITION | Woodward | Parkour - Team Farang
One of our favourite Team Farang videos in recent years. One thing that is immediately evident when you first watch this video is that a lot of time and effort went into the planning and production of this video. It features a clever idea of transitioning athletes Dominic Di Tommaso and Jason Paul near seamlessly together, mid-movement. The execution is top notch and the sweeping overhead drone shots are superb, adding a very unique feel to this video. The soundtrack gets bonus points, using a mix by the artist Fuzz me who featured prominently in some formative, early Farang videos like The Temple and Roof Gaps and Ankle Traps.
World's Longest Stride Challenge - Storm Freerun
Don't let the clickbait sounding title of this one fool you, this video is no joke when it comes to the title of "World's longest stride challenge." It starts out like a low key challenge video with four likely contenders Kie Willis, Nate Weston, Joseph Henderson and Jai Battrick taking on the same stride line but what transcends is something truly epic. Jai and Kie's runs are largely forgettable and while Nate is one of the most transcendent freerunners in the world, his arms look utterly hilarious when he strides.
Then, along comes Hendo who nonchalantly decides to catpass into the stride challenge. He strides calmly with a steady cadence and just keeps powering through, the drone shot pulls out even further and reveals how vast the scale of this challenge actually is. The whole time Joe just keeps striding like he was born for the purpose of doing strides. When he gets to about two thirds of the way, you realise that he could actually go all the way and you find yourself cheering and yelling at the screen! He is a god amongst men. Massive respect to Joseph Henderson for completing this epic feat of endurance and skill. Great content Storm.
Touring Around Portugal - Galizian Urban Project
Galizian Urban Project have a knack for making cinematic masterpieces and adding a drone to their repertoire simply enhances their ability to do this. This video has that signature baggy pants Spanish style of of movement that oozes cleanness and flow. It has everything you expect from a GUP video in 2017. The only thing this video lacks is more of Phosky! What makes GUP's films so special for us is their remarkable ability to capture the mateship and comradery behind the jumps. [edit: GUP videos are usually made by Serio Cora however it has been brought to our attention that this one was edited by Santi so the text above has been edited to be more accurate.]
CUBA LIBRE - Jesse La Flair Freeruns Cuba - Tempest Freerunning
Shot on location in Havana, Cuba, we have to admit that when we first sat down to watch this video we were expecting something very cheesy with a lot more gimmicks, however we were pleasantly surprised by the true character and culture that they were able to capture. One of the first things that you notice is that this video has a great soundtrack and it is also evident that they actually put some effort into the sound design too. Many parkour videos that work on sound design are often guilty of overdoing the sound effects, but this was not the case here. On the movement front, Jesse La Flair delivers with fun, creative lines that are always unique and interesting. This is a video that has a narrative and concept but the movement still comes before anything else. Props to Victor "Showtime" Lopez and Jesse for giving us a cultural experience within a parkour video.
Leeds Boys X Manifest // Levels 2017 - David Nelmes
Leeds guys have always had a reputation for a hard running style of parkour and what you get here is exactly that with some added drone shot goodness. David Nelmes has given us one of the most lit parkour videos of 2017. The song used fits the intensity and serves to hype you up. This is the one you watch before you leave the house when you want to get motivated! It gets bonus points for throwing in those silky Ben Reddington traversing runs and a PK Guy With Glasses cameo.
N.B. With very similar themes, Powermoves 2017 has to receive an honourable mention in the same breath for its epic 17 minutes of balls to the wall sprinting goodness.
Strap in or Strap on - Owls Gang Parliament
From choreographed group runs, mini tramps, crash mats, Tim Champion cameos and gnarly bails, this fun, dynamic video had it all. Owls Gang Parliament is a team based out of Melbourne, Australia. They don't post videos as frequently as many other groups, but when they do, it is always 'watch now status' quality.
Project DIVE ROLL - Denester
Denester AKA CP AKA Koh Chen Pin from Singapore loves his meaty dive rolls so much that he has given us an entire concept video dedicated to his signature move. The dive roll is a move that can take a special type of madness in mentality to complete on a larger scale. To the untrained eye, this is a dramatic technique that can look quite extreme and dangerous with the traceur throwing themselves headfirst, kamikaze style and absorbing the impact in a roll. This is also why the dive roll can be one of the most exciting moves to watch! This video features CP and his partner in crime Justin Louey from Owls Gang Parliament, plus an assortment of other mad cameos. The whole video was done in a retro VHS style, which love it or hate it, was big in 2017. Look out closely for the very last dive roll that plays out in the background when the social media stickers are slapped on. This was in our opinion one of his biggest and ballsiest ones ever. It was executed first time, live in competition at the 2016 AAPES Jump Off to start off his run, however it only got a minor feature because CP wanted to keep all of the movements for this project outdoors to make it even gnarlier.
CP And The United State Of My Bagel (and Mexico)! - Denester
CP unashamedly makes this list twice with one of the feel good parkour videos of 2017. He spent 3 months travelling around the United States and Mexico capturing nothing but great movement and pure uplifting, positives vibes. This video is sure to put you in a good mood. CP makes travel a big priority of his life and makes some of the best parkour travel videos. He has been kind enough to do a short write up on his top travel tips and how he is able to travel so much, that is well worth a read.
Jannis Schauer 2017 - Jannis Schauer
Jannis Schauer from Munich is low key one of the highest skilled traceurs in the world. He is humble man who is never one to shout from a rooftop to promote himself so he tends to be often underrated. His videos are usually very chilled with the soundtrack more likely to feature acoustic guitar and flutes rather than gunshots and people screaming cuss words repetitively, so his videos seem to go under the radar for a lot of people. Don't let any of that fool you though, because there is some world class movement in here.
The Descent - White Bread
This video out of Adelaide, Australia by Frazer "Fraz" Dempsey may be the dankest pk edit of all time. If you came here expecting a descent video with people climbing down the outside of multi-leveled parking garages then you are in for a surprise! It chronicles the largely fictional descent of local traceur Henry Nash. Channeling classic music videos like The Prodigy's Smack My Bitch Up and Radiohead's Karma Police, it is dark, it is intense and it deserves way more views. Fraz is fast becoming one of our favourite parkour film makers.
Max Barker | 2016 - The Motus Projects
This is a video that legitimately leaves you thinking, holy shit! A 15 year old may be the best person in the world at parkour! His movements are just so clean and natural. His parkour technique is exceptional. This kid is pretty much the textbook example you want to show people when you teach parkour. He has the ability to make big movements look safe and normal. He has some of the nicest, toesiest precision landings of anyone and even executes them exactly the same on flip precisions. This kid is the future and the future is happening right now.
Phosky vs Jy Paulson - AAPES Jump Off 2017 mens speed run final - AAPES Parkour
This is a very unusual video format with 2 speed runs overlayed from the 2017 AAPES Jump Off mens speed run final. It came about because the top 2 recorded times were so close that Mr Novel Ways personally demanded a video review. Christian Wallman who expertly shot tracking gimbal footage of the entire event was tasked to review the footage for exact times. We went into the back room for him to hastily whip together an overlay of both the runs and when we saw the result of his wizardry, we all lost our shits! While the footage does not line up perfectly, it is completely captivating with both athletes exchanging the lead several times. It shows where each athlete gains ground in different parts of the course. When the results were announced to a live audience, this footage was used as the coolest way to reveal the winner. In the end Phosky won by the smallest of margins. It is worth noting that Jy Paulson, an unknown 17 year old from Sydney almost upset seasoned international veterans like Pedro Salgado, Brodie Pawson and Phosky. Look out of this kid.
Ben Reddington - Ups & Downs - Ben Reddington
In 2017 multi-storey descent lines became a lot more mainstream with many top traceurs starting to play around with them. Ben is hands down one of the best at this special branch of parkour with the ability to effortlessly go down and up with safe technique, speed and style. If you haven't heard of Ben Reddington before, know that he is probably your favourite traceur's favourite traceur. It is no secret that his style of movement is also one of our favourite styles to watch. When we finished our Like a Thief in the Night tall tee, Ben Reddington was the first guy who came to mind to send one to, so he got the very first one that was released into the wild. Watch the video and you will see why.
The Air Wipp Challenge 2017 - Air Wipp
So much mind-blowingly amazing stuff went down at this comp that we had to include some footage of it on our list. Plus it would be a travesty not to include gun athletes likes Nate Weston, Joey Adrian, DK, Krystian Kowalewski, Alexander Titarenko, Joe Scandrett and Erik Mukhametshin on our list in some way. This three and a half minute long highlight video barely does the event justice. With the biggest list of top tier freerunning athletes plus standalone women's and youth competitions, there is little doubt in our mind that the Air Wipp Challenge is now the world's premier freerunning competition ahead of the Red Bull Santorini Art of Motion. Yeah you heard it right. Air Wipp guys really know how to put on a show.
Stiven Quintero 2017 Add - Stiven Quintero
Any time a video starts out with an Al Green song playing it is more likely to make this list. Stiven Quintero does not have the fanciest edits but this video makes the list because his parkour skills are so undeniably good. Hailing out of Bogotá, Colombia, a place we don't see that much parkour media from, it is reassuring to know that the level is so high over there. Stiven currently only has about 70 subscribers on Youtube. Go show him some love.
7 consecutive 180s - Brodie Pawson
Brodie Pawson released some of the most viral content to come out of the parkour world over the last year and for all the right reasons. Hailing from Brisbane, Australia, Brodie completed an absurd challenge consisting of 7 consecutive 180s up two storeys of smooth marble walls with zero gimmicks. It looks completely like something out of a Prince of Persia video game rather than something that is possible in real life. It is so out there, even for most traceurs, that there is no doubt that many muggles view this gravity hacking feat as fake. But if you have been following Brodie's exploits over the last few years, you will probably know that the 180 is his signature move and one that he is very good at. Brodie is one of the busiest men on Instagram so we have seen him progress his 180s in this exact spot, getting slightly higher each time. This was no fluke, it was years of dedicated training. To put it in perspective, he says it was literally the hardest thing he has ever done. A full breakdown of how he completed this challenge can be seen on his Instagram.
Endijs Miscenko - Best of Spring - Ashigaru - Parkour & Freerunning
Endijs Miscenko has been totally killing it in 2017, so something would be amiss if we didn't include a video of him in this list. This baby-faced assassin has some of the strongest legs and stickiest feet of any traceur today. We picked this particular video of his because it demonstrates some of his flowiest lines for a guy that is more well know for his strong, technical parkour. His line at 1:41 was particularly cool and interesting.
FORWARD | Freerunning in the winter forest (4k) - GRADRUND
A beautiful nature video with legitimate snow training. This gorgeous video by Nicolas Jansky features the talents of Waldi Müller and Nikita Marinov. Besides the unique winter forest setting, what sets this video apart is the tight choreography and expertly steady shooting of it. Both athletes maintain a fast pace and high intensity throughout the video giving a nice contrast to the serene setting. The eerie soundtrack fits in seamlessly. Waldi's roll bomb up off the tree also stands out.
Lucas' Castback Tutorial (Brought to you by SBG) - Sandy Banana Gang
After his successful webster tutorial, our favourite potty-mouth american host Lucas is back with another informative and hilarious lesson for us all. This time we are blessed with a castback tutorial featuring the cast master himself, Alfred Scott. This video makes the list because even though they are constantly taking the piss, it could still be used as an effective tutorial and we haven't laughed harder watching any other parkour video this year. Lucas' expletive ridden delivery strikes the perfect tone of confidence and playfulness, while Alfred Scott steals the show from the moment he emerges with the most glorious and unexpected entrance. The dank ukulele remix is so on point too. At the time of writing this video only had 2400 views. If you haven't already seen it, do not let it pass you by again.
This "floor is made of lava" challenge starts out as a gentle climbing mission around a church building, but soon evolves into some really high level slanted wall parkour. The clambering is punctuated with short, intense burst of sideways wall running and tic tacs that seem to get harder each time, climaxing in one of the coolest lines we have ever seen at 2:10 of the video. This video stands out because the challenge was completed in one 2 minute and 16 second take with no falls or editing cuts. Bart executes swiftly and flawlessly with an ease that belies how difficult this challenge actually is. The first episode of Bart's Floor is Lava series is also well worth the watch, especially if you like the art of rail running. It makes us so happy that this guy was the Red Bull Art of Motion Santorini champion last year.
WE LIVE WAVY!!! - Squadron Official
Darryl Stingley is one of our favourite movers on the planet right now. His combination of raw power, creativity and and style make him one of the most charismatic traceurs to watch. He is an explosive upper body beast who moves unlike anyone else. He has developed a diverse skill set but it is on gym set ups with bars that he seems to really dominate and goes to another level. Look out for the run from the thumbnail near the end.
Roof Culture Asia - Storror
This was one of the biggest and most ambitious parkour video projects ever made and it did not disappoint. The trailer alone was one of the best videos that came out this year but the actual full length video is some truly groundbreaking work within the parkour world. Storror have been constantly pushing the boundaries with the filming and production of their videos, and this film features some of the most thrilling GoPro and drone footage they have ever captured. Movement-wise, this video delivered too with some exceptionally mentally challenging jumps getting broken over rooftop death gaps. The lads went all in for this project showing us the level of commitment required to pull of this job. What they do truly is a lifestyle. This film was significant for so many reasons but possibly most importantly because it is forging an entire branch of parkour culture. This is a video worth paying for.
Do you agree with our list? Tell us below if we missed any and help us share this list if your enjoyed it.