Layne Beachley-Life in the Fast Layne (2004)

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Released 16-Dec-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Surfing Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Audio
Featurette-Learn To Surf
Featurette-Walking On Water
Notes-Aim For The Stars Foundation
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 42:21 (Case: 141)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Brooke Farris

Starring Layne Beachley
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music Various

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Varies Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Layne Beachley is one of the world's most successful competitive surfers, and undoubtedly one of Australia's most successful sportswomen. The six-times World Surfing Champion has been honoured with the DVD Life In The Fast Layne. Apart from providing a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a top surfing professional, the DVD is also part instructional, as Layne provides some surfing lessons as well.

    Born in 1972 in Dee Why, Sydney, Layne (known simply as "Beach"), cut her teeth surfing with and against men at Manly Beach (my home break). Unlike many other female surfers, Layne distinguished herself through her incredible self-discipline, which involved a self-imposed harsh diet and rigorous exercise regimen. Through her hard work, natural ability and persistence, Layne bypassed the amateur scene and in her late teens began competing professionally. By the age of 20, Layne was ranked in the Top 10 in the world.

    Layne is renowned for being one of the very few female big-wave surfers, and for her very serious, competitive drive. Once famously described in the Australian media as the "Queen of Self Promotion", Layne is forever promoting surfing, and in particular, women's surfing. Indeed, you might have spotted her recently on some telco commercials and billboards. Despite her record six World Surfing crowns, Layne remains vehemently competitive, and although she missed out on the title this year, at time of writing Layne is ranked Number Three in the World.

    "Have you ever imagined what the life of a professional surfer is like? Layne Beachley, six times world surfing champion invites you for a behind the scenes look at what she does and how she does it. See Layne charge twenty foot monsters, train her way to six world titles, surf perfect waves with her friends and listen to the champ's surf tips. Statistically the greatest surfer the world has ever seen, Layne's road to the top hasn't been easy but she has certainly had fun along the way. Enjoy the ride."

    Produced and directed by Layne's PA, Brooke Farris, the DVD's feature follows Layne's career from her first title in 1998, and looks at her life of constant travel and publicity. Featuring great photography and locations, the DVD also includes a gag reel of wipe-outs.

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Transfer Quality


    This widescreen transfer is unfortunately marred by its lack of 16x9 enhancement. It's been a while since I've reviewed a non-16x9 enhanced disc, and I think the DVD-buying market has grown to expect widescreen transfers to be 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, but as mentioned above, sadly it is NOT 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness is generally good, as most of the footage is broadcast-quality television. As most of the footage is shot outside, in the blazing sun, the contrast is unusually high and the shadow detail naturally suffers.

    The colour is excellent, and the bright boards, beautiful beaches, and bikinis are well rendered.

    At times, some of the video footage is a little grainy, and there did appear to be some MPEG artefacts in the form of mild pixelization at times.

    There were no problems with film-to-video artefacts, but some of the older footage did display some film and/or video artefacts.

    There are no subtitles offered on this DVD.

    This is a dual-layer disc, and I assume the layer change is placed between the feature and the extras.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are two audio tracks on the DVD: English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) for the feature, and an English Audio Commentary presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).

    The dialogue quality and audio sync are fine.

    The music for the DVD is provided by  a number of unsigned bands, with songs picked by Layne's partner, INXS band-member,Kirk Pingilly, who acted as Music Supervisor on the DVD. Of course Life in the Fast Lane by The Eagles appears as well.

    With only stereo audio, there is no surround presence or LFE activity.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The extras are excellent, and really flesh out this DVD package.


    An animated menu with audio.

Featurette-Learn To Surf (24:42)

    Tips are provided by Layne, and divided into sections:

Featurette-Walking On Water (27:44)

   An episode of the ABC's Australian Story featuring Layne on her way to her 6th World Title. It includes interviews with her father, trainer, and family.

Audio Commentary

    Layne Beachley and Brooke Farris provide a chatty, friendly, and informal commentary. I found this quite useful, as they identify many of the locations and events that appear in the feature. The problem I had was that their voices sounded very similar.

Gallery-Photo (5:11)

   A series of snaps set to music.

Biographies (2:42)

    Scrolling text about Layne.

Notes-Aim For The Stars Foundation (1:23)

    A foundation aimed at helping women achieve their goals.

Credits (0:44)

    The DVD's credits.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Life In The Fast Layne has been region coded 1-6, and I assume the R1 and R4 will be the same, except for the PAL/NTSC difference.


    For those interested in surfing, Life In The Fast Layne is an enjoyable and interesting DVD.

    The video quality is good, but suffers from a lack of 16x9 enhancement.

    The audio quality is acceptable.

    The extras are excellent.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Friday, December 17, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
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How to contact Lane Beachley - Glenda Campbell