How the hell do you write an intro for someone like this. They are world famous.. I mean literally. Well as far as the world of Push bikes is concerned. He has bags of style, a Trick bag as big as a Postmans sack, Isn’t afraid to, as the kids say “Send it”, and quite often by throwing a crazy move in there. He has taken some really hard slams, ( watch From Where The Trail Ends). Whilst he is well known for throwing a Full susser full tilt down various mountains either for Filming or in the name of competition he is also more than a little handy on a Hardtail too.
I think I first saw him in a NWD film or similar pulling a Manual down some steps and hitting a wallride way up around the 6 ft mark and ghosting his bike. It was a while ago and since then he has evolved into one a of the best Freeriders out there. He seems to be always up to something usually fast and fun. From what I remember he has an awesome backyard too.
Like I said at the start it’s a tricky thing to write an intro to someone you have seen on numerous dvd’s but as yet never meet. Well I guess sometimes you just have let their words speak for themselves. It gives me great honour to ask one of the coolest,nicest and down right stylish riders out there. ” Who are you?”
1, Who are you?
The son of Howard and Lenna Zink and Brother to Howie. Born on March 8, 1986
2, Where do you live?
3, What do you do for a living?
I ride my bicycle in contests and in front of cameras.
4, What’s the best and worst thing about it?
The best thing is getting paid to do what I would be doing anyway, getting to ride in front of crowds of cheering fans and travel the world to do so.
The worst part is the lack of loyalty and no job security. A lot of companies out there will drop a rider on a whim leaving them with no warning or pay. In 09 I was told everything was great from my frame sponsor and led to believe we would be renewing our contract, they knew I had just bought my first home, and late in the year, after interbike, they refused to renew my contract. This nearly forced me to get another job to support myself, but luckily all my other sponsors stepped it up and had the best year of my life in 2010. I have the best group of sponsors and I can honestly say I would ride the exact same stuff I do now if I had now sponsors and they all support me in whatever path I have wanted to take. It’s pretty insane how much freedom they give me.
5, Where do you ride?
I ride anywhere I can. At home, I have a trick jump in my yard, amazing dirt jumps 5 minutes away, DH trails in town for when it’s snowing in Tahoe, and a ton of DH trails in Truckee and Lake Tahoe only a half hour away. I frequently take trips to Santa Cruz and Orange county, but most of my out of town riding revolves around contests and film trips.
6, Who do you ride with?
At home I ride by myself a lot… A lot. I have a few friends and my brother that ride sometimes but they all work during the day and I’m usually gone weekends. That is one thing I enjoy about being on the road; I get to ride with my best friends, who happen to be the best riders on the planet, on some of the best jumps on the planet.
7, Who are you riding for now?
Monster Energy, Hyper Bicycles, Troy Lee Designs, SRAM, Rock Shox, Avid, Mavic, Geax, Sensus, Contour Cameras, Oakley, Osiris, Deity, SDG.
8, Tell us a bit about them?
If I wanted to skip all the contests and only film this year, they would all support me. I want to do contests, so that won’t happen, but they will support me and let me manage my own career to do whatever it is I think is cool and will get the job done.
9, What bike/s do you ride?
I just built up a chromoly Hyper hard tail, my first single speed, but I will normally ride a 10 speed aluminum hardtail.
I have a proto Hyper DH bike with a DLC World Cup Boxxer and Vivid Ti-Coil on the back.
My brand new signature slopestyle frame just came in! I will have it at Sea Otter and it is bitchin!
10, What’s your involvement with Sensus grips?
I am the founder, owner, video editor, graphic designer, and up until a couple months ago, I personally shipped out every online order, distributor order and was the only person in the company. My brother has recently started helping in his spare time and some friends are repping to shops for me. I could not have done it without all my friends who run them for free and all the photographers and filmers that have given me photos and footage. One day I won’t have to beg and I will be able to pay them what they deserve!
11, How did that come about?
I have always been picky about grips and there were a few I always liked, but never loved. So I made em. I got samples from Taiwan and originally was calling it Salute. The first business license I got was actually under Salute Grip co. One day Sensus popped in to my head and I fell in love with it. I always wanted them to be made in the USA but I found out why everything is made in China and Taiwan; the price. Grips cost about half as much to make over there, but you get what you pay for. I hated the Taiwan samples and started talking to ODI and we made it happen. They have the best rubber in the world, with the best patented lock design in the world and they are amazing to work with. Being made in the USA is a huge bonus and well worth the loss in profit margins. Now the brand is Sensus LLC and eventually we will be more than grips, but for now they are my top priority and I want them to be the best grips on the planet. I won’t make any other product unless I truly believe I can make it better than anything else on the market.
12, They seem pretty well received?
I could not be happier. Everyone I know genuinely loves them and thinks they are a great product. It is pretty easy to stand behind your product and promote it if you truly believe in it. Crazy soft compound, but somehow they last forever. I use one set, per bike, per year. I have had people tell me they literally cut down on their hand and arm pump! They are the only ODI lock on with a lock cover so your palm doesn’t hurt, or even feel the lock, if you grip on the outside like me. They are the best!
13, Ok lets find out a bit about yourself. You’ve been on the freeride scene a little while now. Things certainly seemed to of changed quite dramatically over the last few years. What have you seen or noticed about the way it’s changed?
I officially turned pro in 04 when I signed a contract with The Santa Cruz Syndicate. That year I tore my ACL in my left knee. For the next 5 years I had 3 more ACL surgeries: 1 on the right, 3 total on the left. 3 meniscus repairs, two micro fracture repairs and a 5th surgery taking bone from my pelvis and plugging the holes where the ACL graft had hollowed it out from too many surgeries. I now have a cadaver Achilles tendon for an ACL on the left and a cadaver Hamstring on the right. I had a surgery every winter for the first 5 years I was pro. I filmed video parts with no ACL most of the time, got 3rd at Crankworx in 05 with no ACL and when my knee wouldn’t come close to straightening out. The only year out of those that I was able to show up to Crankworx with my knee in tact, was in 06. I won and had filmed the best video part of my life for NWD 7. A month later I tore it again.
In 09, I broke my leg racing motocross and I was excited. It was my first winter in 6 years that I wasn’t going in for knee surgery. Bones heal to 100% and take less than half the time a 6 month knee surgery takes. Ever since then I have been able to ride at my potential all year long!
14, You’ve had some great results from events. Which one stands out for you the most?
The triple crown, as some like to call it, stands out as one event to me. Winning Crankworx and Rampage in 2010 helped earn me the FMB World Title. That stands out the most and always will. Nobody has won both Cworx and Rampage in the same year, Semenuk and I are the only two to ever win both and the only two FMB World Champs. It is something I am extremely proud of and no matter what I do from this day forward, nobody can take that from me. It’s like a weight off my shoulders and now it is about just doing as much as I can and gives me more freedom to ride on my own terms.
15, It seems your’e not afraid to go big either?
I am, I just make up my mind that it is worth it and then I get un-scared I guess. It’s part of being a competitor and more-so just being a man. Don’t let fear or failure get in the way of what you want.
16, You’ve had a few hard slams/crashes too. That big one you had in “From Where The Trail Ends” was pretty crazy, then you go a pull that crazy flip. Which is tougher, the physical injury or the mental aspect when it come to recovering?
That depends… If you are in pain, it’s one thing, but there are times like Rampage this past year where I was physically unable to ride. That sucks and it’s either a yes or no.
If you are in pain and capable then the physical aspect doesn’t bother me. Mentally, it is rough… A lot of people, like Kurt Sorge and my other friends/competitors refer to me as the, “most confident man on the planet,” but there are times when I am the opposite. I can usually snap out of it, but it’s normal to get down on yourself after taking a crash, it just boils down to getting out of it and how quick you are capable of doing it. Assess what went wrong and fix it. Other than that you would have landed it, so suck it up and land that shit!
17, I remember a number of years ago you in one of the NWD ( New World Disorder 7) series dvd’s pulling some crazy stuff on your Hardtail and full susser. I think you were on Haro then. Do you still enjoy filming now?
I love filming. It is so hard at times because of the sheer amount of work and weeks in the desert it takes, but it is always, always worth it to see the final product.
It is just a bit different now.
There isn’t a go to movie to film every year like there was when NWD and DVD sales were ripping, but Where the Trail Ends came at the perfect time a. We started a year after NWD so it gave us a little break and made us hungry!
It’s mostly web edits and one off projects. I am lucky enough to be in the new Semenuk movie this year, so that will take some time, but the next big mountain film will start filming in the fall. Couldn’t be happier!
18, It’s pretty hard work, but which has been the most rewarding edit or film section you have done?
19, Who inspires you either from a riding point of view or generally?
So many different things. Motocross racing and freestyle, bmx, surfing, snowboarding, and pretty much anything where people are going for it, progressing and stylish.
Palmer, Kirt Voreis, Bohan, Shaun Butler, Kyle Strait, Kelly Slater, Dayne Reynolds, Kyle Baldock, Dennis Enarson, Adam Jones, Villopoto, Dungey… So many people come to mind.
I love mountain biking so much! For that reason that I can take influence from all these other sports I love and put it into what I am best at.
20, If you could meet anyone past or present and do something amazing with them, who would it be?
Have some drinks with Frank Sinatra.
21, What tunes do you like?
I like it all, but most mainstream music bothers me, but I love Metal, hip hop and country.
Trivium, As I lay dying, Hieroglyphics, Randy Travis, Murder City Devils, Big L, the Ramones, David Bowie…
22, What gets your goat ( annoys you)?
Traffic! Driving and flying.
23, When did you last scare yourself?
In Utah a couple weeks ago. Multiple times. Got lucky.
24, What’s been your luckiest escape?
The first time I flipped the “man size gap” for the G shock “the descent” video in 2011. Thank you Avid!
25, Any amusing tales you can share?
I’m gonna be a Dad in 6 months!
26, If you could be king for a day. What would you do?
Fire Obama, build myself a race track and buy a company Mclaren P1 for myself.
27, What does the future hold for yourself?
I just want what I have forever. I will ride as long as humanly possible competing, filming and having a blast. Hopefully I can still spin drops at 50
28, Any last words or thoughts?
Stop hating and just enjoy bike riding!
29, Lastly who would you like to thank or shout out too?
My parents for taking me to races my whole life and buying me expensive bicycles, My brother Howie, My lovely girlfriend, all my supporting friends, Kyle Strait, Kathy Sessler, Neil Sanders for getting me sponsored at 16, all my supporting sponsors who have given me the best life I could have ever thought of, and all the other people who have supported me. Love you all!
Been with Oakley for 11 years this year… SRAM/Rock Shox for 10, TLD for 9, Deity for 7, Mavic for 6, and plan on being with them and the rest of them for life!
A huge thank you to Cam and John Gibson for their time and awesome photos…