Cam Zink ''Reach For The Sky'' Video - Review

Nov 18, 2015
by Scott Secco  
bigquotesThe impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.

Marcus Aurelius (opening quote of the film)

Cam Zink's career as a professional freerider is best described in superlatives: preeminent, outstanding, remarkable. But Zink's riding transcends hyperbole and the limits of any thesaurus, he's a real life superhero on a bike. Reach For The Sky is his life story, from birth to present, and it's a window into showing who Zink is, and how he became the man he is today. The story, like Zink's career, is bookended by his performance at the Red Bull Rampage. Throughout the film, we travel between biographical segments narrated by talking heads like Travis Pastrana, Brandon Semenuk, and Shaun Palmer and landmark scenes in Zink's life. Images of Cam's leg being drained of pus and blood just one day before landing his monstrous stepdown flip on the Oakley Icon Sender at Rampage 2013 will be permanently burned into my mind's eye. If Reach For The Sky has a central theme it's that Zink's career has been built on continually overcoming adversity - numerous season-ending injuries - to fulfill what he feels is his potential on a mountain bike. He's not crazy, just supremely confident and motivated.

Views: 21,949    Faves: 195    Comments: 16

bigquotesAll of the footage from the Mammoth Flip segment was 100% original and shot by my team (Dathan Graham, Taylor Sage, Kent Johnson, Pat Wooding, and me). ESPN offered to let me use their footage, but I never even contacted them once about their footage, because I was so confident in what we had, and I knew what was shot for my specific reasons. Also, I really tried to capture the emotional weight of that feat, which he was so prepared for, making it look easy. He's flipping 100 feet at 50 mph, so if he under or over rotates, he's got a serious problem. And that's why I edited that flip scene the way I did, building to the emotional ending.

Ryan Cleek, director

Cam Zink

Reach For The Sky is edited non-linearly, like Pulp Fiction, and interweaves two decades of photos and videos with images captured by Ryan Cleek specifically for the movie. Cleek was producer, director, lead cinematographer, and editor (while also largely self financing the film to bring his project to fruition). It's remarkable what he's accomplished given that this is just his second feature (his first was 2005's Downhill Speed) and that for most of the production schedule he was working a full time desk job for Specialized, shooting for the Zink project on his weekends and vacation days. (I expect he'll be busy with video offers in 2016).

Cleek's friendship with Zink has allowed him a unique fly on the wall perspective which we rarely get to see at events like Rampage and there are moments while watching the movie where you feel scared for Zink even though you know he'll survive unscathed. Zink's wife Amanda is featured at pivotal moments and her stress while watching him ride is visceral through the screen. The movie ends at Red Bull Rampage 2014 with Zink stomping one of the largest 360 drops ever done; we then get a list of Zink's feats during the production of the movie: world's biggest step-down backflip, world's biggest 360 drop, Guinness World Record longest bicycle straight air, Guinness World Record longest backflip, three-time Rampage best trick winner, and most Red Bull Rampage podiums. It's wonderful to see that mountain biking as a sport has reached a point where we have the history, characters, and filmmakers willing to tell real stories.

Last year's excellent Steve Peat documentary Won't Back Down and now Reach For The Sky are tributes to Peaty and Zink, they are love letters to the sport, and they are essential viewing for anyone wishing to educate themselves on mountain bike history. Reach For The Sky is a both a career spanning retrospective and an inside look at a year in the life of one of the greatest action sport heroes in the world. It's a reminder of everything that Zink has accomplished on two wheels, and the best part is - he's not done yet.

Cam Zink s 360 drop at RedBull Rampage 2014.

Reach For The Sky Website

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  • 57 0
 Nice! I've been wondering why this movie hasn't been promoted more. I bought this as soon as it was available and was blown away at the storyline, creativity, and emotion that was captured in this production. An absolute must watch!!
  • 13 4
 free premiere coming soon!
  • 9 13
flag jissse (Nov 18, 2015 at 23:30) (Below Threshold)
 I thought it was a bit overdone on the "emotion" parts, felt like watching a bad tv show at times.
But otherwise it's a really good insight on Cam's life and on freeride, rampage, sponsorship and all the problems there are in this small mtb world.
  • 8 2
 I've been pretty put off by the trailers for exactly that reason - maybe it's just because I'm British and emotion doesn't tend to be our thing, but it seemed as though it was going to be a bit much.

Massive fan of Zink though, so I'm sure I'll invite the boys round and buy it at some point in the future. Keep up the good work Cam, you're the g(p)narliest rider out there and destroyed Rampage this year; you won, no question about it.
  • 5 0
 True go-hard of the world. Dude is the real deal.
  • 2 5
 "Maybe its just because I'm British and emotion is not our thing"

You should talk to some British people. Like, Peaty, Warner or Ratboy.
  • 3 1
 Massive fan of Zink, thought the movie was good, but I really wished there was more archive footage in the film. The parts I liked the best were the archive footage and interviews with friends and family about his early days and progression as a rider, but where was the footage of his winning runs at events like crankworx and rampage. As somebody who wasn't mountain biking at the time I was really looking forward to seeing these, and it kind of left the film a little lacking in some way for me. Won't back down really nailed it in this regard.
  • 2 0
 Your comment making me buy it #mayha49 but I still prefer to go for night ride right now rather then watch tv tonight.RIDE ON DUDE'S!!!
  • 4 1
 @Vanguard, yeah go and talk to those guys and I'm sure they'll agree completely that they find overly emotional, Americanised productions extremely cringe-worthy, which is what I fear (judging from the trailer at least) certain aspects of this film might be.

This said, I feel I need to reiterate - Zink is the man, and nowt will change that.
  • 3 0
 Guys, this is not a sappy film...Any solid human being can feel the emotion that builds as the movie develops, but there is much more hard core, bad ass content that balances the whole movie out. It's 1.5 hours of epic content. Hope y'all enjoy as much as I did!
  • 2 0
 Generalizing about nations being one way or another makes you sound like an American. (on purpose)
  • 4 0
 @mayha49 I appreciate you understanding the concept of the movie, and expressing your thoughts. Perhaps not clear in the write up was my actual goal for the project: Take a 1 year look into Zink’s life and bookend it with Rampages, then reveal what life events made him the person he is in between. It was never meant to be a completely retrospective movie with entirely archival footage (although there is a ton of footage no one has ever seen), because Cam’s clearly still on the forefront of freeride. How interesting would it be to film a year in the life of someone who is retired? For example, if I were making a movie about Tomac or Tony Hawk, it would be entirely archival, because they’re not currently relevant athletes in their sports. My movie does have a few organic and completely unscripted emotional moments. Turns out it takes fire to make steel, and the strength Cam acquired by routinely overcoming adversity is what gives him the confidence to take on feats most people would never consider. Not every movie is for every person, which is fine with me. — Ryan Cleek
  • 2 0
 Cheers to an amazing project Ryan!
  • 37 1
 "He just likes winning, cause winning is bitchin"
  • 12 4
 Shaun Palmer, voice of a generation.
  • 3 0
 i thought he said. he just like woman, his woman is bitchin. Oops
  • 9 1
 Great f*ckin movie. Zink was already an idol to me before I tore my ACL, and through my own rehab process he became even more idyllic to me. The movie shows you what all the shit he's been through is like with injuries and sponsors and stuff, and how he doesn't use that stuff as an excuse, only as fuel. He'd be a legend as a man without all of his feats, and with them he is just on another planet, but doesn't act like it. There's a bit about it in the end of the movie, but Zink is an extremely smart guy, but with just enough craziness to keep pushing his limits all the time
  • 3 0
 what was running through my mind the whole time "SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!!!!!"
  • 1 0
 "idyllic" = pastoral, picturesque
you mean "heroic"
  • 9 0
 So epic. One of my favorite riders and just looks like such a great guy. I knew I needed to watch this movie but now I need to even more.
  • 8 0
 So where's the review?? I think I just read a synopsis of what is in the movie.
  • 7 1
 I'm really excited for Zink to finally get the recognition he deserves, every single video part and contest run he's done has been absolutely jaw dropping to watch
  • 4 0
 I agree about the emotion displayed by Amanda Zink. The whole segment with the record setting backflip; the slo-mo, the music choice, all very well done. Makes me hold my breath as he drops in every time I watch it. The whole movie was great. I watched it again last night! I want to know Cam's IQ
  • 2 0
 makes me want a yt now only company to give him something unlike all the other brands. people should take note and not support bicycle company's that dont live up to their end of the agreement killer movie and just show's he rides to ride
  • 2 0
 Loved it. Glad the emotional focus was such a big part of this, with the risks he takes it's good for people to see the impacts on himself and those around him. This movie finally made my 10 yr old realize that these guys do face huge consequences with the choices they make. He's the guy I'm most afraid for when I watch Rampage, cause mentally he seems to be at another level with what he sees as possible. Always awesome to watch him ride.
  • 2 1
 Yes he is a bad ass one of the greats of the sport. But Wow people you are reaching with these replys. Bruce ,that's the first I have heard of that! And if true i do agree that is a little on the crazy side. And for the Bald Eagel our origanal national bird was the Wild Turkey good thing they dropped it, it is a much better tasting bird then the Seagull. And I hope you do serve it could be as simple as sweeping your local skate park or picking up some trash as you pass by.
  • 3 0
 Above all other single rider documentaries. Very good movie! I strongly recommend it.
  • 3 0
 The best part was watching the premiere at Rampage 2015 and shaking Zinks hand after watching it.
  • 3 0
 Definitely want to see this!
  • 3 0
 Such a rad film, Everyone should go get it
  • 3 0
 Can´t wait to this weekend to see him at Down Taxco!
  • 1 0
 We've all been watching, Zink, for the last 10 years. He's always stuck out as the most daring and creative rider on any circuit.
  • 2 0
 "I don't question him he's an adult, I just say, Cameron Cameron Cameron...." Haha, nailed it.
  • 2 0
 bought it and was super stoked...i luv the documentry movies just as much as the smash and shred movies...great job guys!!!!
  • 8 8
 Zink is an absolutely brilliant man on a bike but the whole movie was a bit overthetop. Had to watch Revel in Chaos afterwards to get the taste out of my mouth.
  • 3 1
 An awesome film, the guys a true hero. Amazing to watch.
  • 4 1
  • 2 0
 Best use of a Pearl Jam song. Great story telling Ryan Cleek!
  • 2 1
 Zink has always been and always will be my favorite rider.
  • 3 1
 absolute legend...
  • 2 1
 Still waiting for the iTunes version, can't wait!
  • 2 0
 The movie is now on iTunes in Germany. If for some reason you can't find it there, it's on Vimeo in all of Europe. Both links are below. Hope ya dig it.


  • 1 0
 Thanks for your help, but by clicking the link it still says "not available in the German store". Search for movie name or Cam Zink does also not help. I will check tomorrow again!
  • 1 0
 Hmm, weird. Try this one for German iTunes.
  • 1 0
 Nope sorry, does not work with the DE store, but the linking method works if I switch to the US store
  • 2 0
 @cleekndestroy: movie is now available in the DE iTunes Store, YEAH!
  • 2 1
 CAM WE NEED A 24 hour premiere ! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! it must happen !!
  • 1 0
 This guy is the enbodiment of the "GO BIG or GO HOME" moto!!!
  • 1 0
 Sorry that wanker has no feelings... must be a psychopathic wanker!!!
  • 2 0
 Cam Zink needs a beer!
  • 1 0
 Possibly a bowl
  • 5 5
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