I first saw Zach in an older OSS video and was immediately sold on his original take on riding and what he rode. What’s also cool about Zach is that he’s a badass on his bike, and has also been holding his own behind the scenes with his old role at Vital and now his new job at RIDEbmx. Our man J.Cobbs caught up with Zach to get a lil’ story on how he got into riding, getting into the industry and filming for the Finer Things with Mastroni. Click more to see/ read it all!
When did you start riding, how did you get into it?
I’ve always ridin bikes for as long as I can remember, but my first memories of BMX are from when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade. I remember watching Dennis McCoy in the XGames and where I grew up living in Palmdale, some neighborhood kids had built some dirt mounds that we could jump. That’s really how it all started, we had plenty of room in the desert to build jumps, and I eventually fashioned some shady wooden kickers out of plywood and 2X4’s.
When did you first start working in BMX?
When I moved from Palmdale across the desert to Apple Valley, that’s when I started riding a bit more seriously. I made friends with riders who rode street and actually followed the sport, there was a big scene and some seriously talented dudes. Eventually I ended up putting together a couple local videos, they were mostly for friends but the trailer and a couple sections did end up getting posted online. Then when I moved to LB to go to school, I had a hard time finding people to ride with. At the time the scene wasn’t nearly as big as it is now, so I emailed Jeff Z out of the blue to go ride. We became friends, and he ended up lending a hand in getting Ride to pick up an edit I did with my homies back in the high desert.
From the looks of it Vital was your first full time gig in BMX, how did that work out?
At the time I was doing a bunch of freelance stuff for Sunday, Crooked World, and whoever else. I was a month away from graduating college, and so I was submitting my resume around. The timing just worked out perfectly to where Vital posted a listing for a full-time online content manager. I seemed to fit the bill pretty well, so when I applied and submitted a resume they got back to me. I didn’t know anyone there, it was purely a by-the-books hire.
You recently left Vital and began working at Ride, how did that all come about?
It all came about pretty organically, I’ve known Ryan and Jeff for years. We’ve been working on Doorstep for awhile and have been friends. So when something came up and they had a job opportunity over there, they came to me with it. It was a really tough decision, I thought about it a lot. I wasn’t at all dissatisfied with my gig at Vital, but I had to go with my gut on it. Ultimately working with my friends who lived local, and for magazine that I’ve been into since I started riding, I just had to go for it.
Does working in BMX make it easier or harder to ride when you’re not working?
I would say it makes it harder because I’m not always working on a consistent schedule where I know when I’m going to have time off. So I have to be able to squeeze in sessions when I can, and sometimes it’s just too busy to actually ride. Being involved in the scene, I feel like my head is always there with riding, but actually getting on the bike can be hard when the work load gets heavy.
You and Z seem to ride together quite a bit, how often are you both able to coordinate your schedules for a session?
Well I came onto Ride at the busiest time of year with contests and Nora Cup, so I feel like lately it’s been tough. But to give an actual answer, I have probably ridden with him 5-6 times in the last 3 months. We were recently both in Brooklyn together and got to session a few times out there, so that was nice.
Does filming all the best pros in the sport inspire you with your own riding, or do you get inspiration elsewhere?
I get inspiration from a lot of different places, but getting to film with so many different guys and see the way they approach riding definitely gets me thinking in different ways and helps inspire my own riding.
Do you work for any other companies or in any other industries?
I’m definitely just full time at Ride, they keep me busy. Any free time I have I’m pretty much just trying to ride as opposed to finding more work.
Do you have any cool plans/projects line up for the future that your excited about?
Yeah I’m currently working on a project with Brian Kachinsky. It’s something we’ve talked about doing for awhile so I’m really excited about it. When I first met him a couple years ago I started talking about all the big rails and crazy spots that were around where I grew up riding. Just recently the stars aligned and we were able to take a short trip out to my hometown. And as you can imagine, BK came through in a big way. I took him around to some gnarly setups I’ve known about since I was a kid, but that none of the local riders have ever messed with… Brian handled business.
How has it been balancing work with filming for the Finer Things?
Some times are easier than others. There are months where I’m getting in the van pretty much every weekend and clocking a clip or two, then there are months where it’s more of a mission. I think the last time I filmed with Mastroni was a mid-week local cruise for a few hours because it was the only time we’d both be around in about a month’s time.
Are you approaching this project at all differently than you have approached projects in the past?
In a sense I feel like I’m the most “riding focused” on this project than I’ve ever been in the past. When it comes to filming for my Doorstep section, I’m a primary lens man, so I’m often times more focused on getting footage of everyone else that day. But when I go out with Mastroni and the Volume guys, I can really just focus on riding for the day and sometimes not even touch the camera. I feel like that’s when I ride best, when there’s that sense of separation and I can just cruise with no bag all day.
What are you looking forward to most about the Finer Things DVD?
So many things! It’s going to amazing to have a keepsake of sorts from the past year or so. I’ve seen so much amazing footage from everyone and I know there’s so much more. Mastroni is going to kill it with post-production so I really just can’t wait to see the end product.