Video: Cam Zink Teaches Olympic Freeskier How to Backflip

Nov 1, 2018
by Pinkbike Staff  

When David Wise, a professional freeskier with two Olympic gold medals to his name, decided he wanted to learn how to backflip his mountain bike, he sought out advice from none other than Cam Zink.


bigquotesI’m not sure whether people who set lofty goals are naturally more successful, or if successful people naturally set lofty goals. Either way I’ve developed an addiction with chasing the impossible. I’ve been competing in halfpipe skiing since I was eleven years old, and skiing since I was three; I can’t remember a time in my life that I wasn’t a skier. With a combination of good fortune, good people supporting me, and perseverance I’ve managed to accomplish more on skis than that young dreamer could have imagined. I’ve won every ski halfpipe competition that exists including 4 XGames Gold medals and two Olympic gold medals. I now live my life in a perpetual state of wondering if this is real. What surprised me more than everything else is that all of the aforementioned successes came after the birth of my daughter Nayeli, not before. I never planned on being a young husband or father, but fatherhood was the role that helped me take myself and my skiing success less seriously. Letting go and enjoying the ride was exactly what my skiing needed and the judges noticed. Now my wife and I have two kids and a lot more hardware in our trophy case.

I also have what some would call an unhealthy belief that I can do anything. That is where this mountain bike backflip project came from.

I started mountain biking late for someone who grew up in Reno, at age 21, but that didn’t mean I started soft. I tend to become obsessive about my hobbies and biking might have been the worst addiction of all. Cramming someone with as much confidence as I have on skis on a mountain bike was definitely a little sketchy at first, I have all the elbow, shin, and knee scars to prove it. No crash convinced me that I couldn’t be as good as I wanted to be on a bike and I’ve always though backflips looked so damn cool on trail bikes/ downhill bikes. I’m lucky to have some great friends who will always be better at biking than me, but are willing to let me tag along Luca Cometti and Cam Zink.

Cam provided the location and the coaching to get me through this. Luca provided the confidence. For someone who has spent so much time riding bikes I was surprised to learn that Luca had never put a backflip to dirt either. Suddenly I wasn’t going to be trying it alone. That was a serious relief. Thanks to Bolle and Lululemon I was able to hire some great people to capture the journey and I can sincerely say that this has been my favorite video project yet.
David Wise







Photos: Brian Walker

Posted In:
Videos Cam Zink



40 Comments

  • 58 0
 this guy crashes his bike like 10 times, no mechanical problems. i have a 5 mph tip over and $400 worth of broken stuff to fix.
  • 22 0
 He treats his bike kinda mean. Even when he succeeds. Bikes have feels.
  • 3 0
 South African bike... They build things tough down here!
  • 18 0
 Hey man... I did have to replace the derailleur hanger.
  • 14 0
 @endlessblockades: Too true. I did apologize, but its going to be a while till our relationship is the same again.
  • 1 0
 @cherbein03 I was thinking the exact same thing as I watching rampage this year
  • 2 0
 @mrdavidwise: HAHA all good! Good job!
  • 1 0
 Hahaha I laughed too hard at this. But I agree, mild crash and I broke a lever on my brand new codes.
  • 35 0
 As a dude north of 40 a backflip is still on my bucket list....and city block long manuals.
  • 20 1
 Pro MTBer is wearing a full face, maybe you should too?
  • 1 0
 Exactly my thought still wanna learn on a mtb ok up to you but wear at least a full face...
  • 9 0
 heck yes? Nobody EVER has landed a backflip for the first time and said "heck yes"
  • 11 0
 you caught us. hard to spot the dub though isn't it?
  • 2 0
 As someone who lives in Utah, my first thought when I heard that was "He must be Mormon". They're amazing at not swearing.
  • 6 0
 I'd giver a go if I could have Zink as a personal coach too. I was a little surprised it wasn't a bit more natural for Wise being a freeskier and used to lots of rotational tricks. Awesome to see him and Luca nail it.
  • 5 0
 Definitely a trick still on the list to iron out. A good 10+ years ago I tried them into foam on my hardtail but could never seem to get the rotation right. So I guess after 10 years it's time to head back to the foam pit and give it a second go after seeing this.
  • 6 0
 These crashes... Broke my ankle badly just trying to learn manual.
  • 5 0
 Gotta give him some credit for landing one WITHOUT the bike, too. Fantastic runout.
  • 11 0
 I thought that was the trick of the day too. Legitimately bruised my heels on the run.
  • 5 0
 Seems like a full face would make some sense here...
  • 5 0
 The man got Yeti balls.
  • 9 0
 Yeah so Im a little curious as to how you know what a Yetis balls look like...
  • 5 0
 Pale blue and they move in two different directions throughout their travel? So do I then I guess...
  • 2 0
 @mrdavidwise you should be stoked... on the skis or a bike, progression is still progression and the feeling is the same. Good job... Backflip is still on my bucket list...
  • 2 0
 @lumpy873 it really was the same feeling. good to remember that you don't have to always be progressing THE game to be progressing your game.
  • 2 0
 Zink has flipped some STUFF
  • 3 1
 I didn’t watch the video all the way through. Is he okay??
  • 5 0
 define ok...
  • 1 0
 Winter in North America. For once need to split time snowboarding and ripping the foam pit!
  • 1 0
 this really just showed me that I'm going to take a lot of diggers as I try to learn to back flip this winter
  • 2 0
 Me next!
  • 2 0
 Nice work!
  • 2 0
 Pure STOKE!
  • 1 0
 Nice style on the backflips. Those straight air though!!? scary!
  • 2 0
 @FlorentVN agreed, that was mu biggest cringe personally putting this together. I was like dang man, I really have no style on a bike. Probably didn't help that those were all of the biggest jumps I've ever hit in my life, definitely some pucker factor. I'll spend some time polishing my whip for next time.
  • 1 0
 Hey David, that's massive... and all in 1 day of practice, good job!
  • 1 0
 @patrickmorewood Thanks, I definitely owe it to the team.
  • 1 0
 Ok...time to build a foam pit and stop being a wuss.
  • 2 0
 Reno-Carson!
  • 1 0
 Reno-Carson-Minden-Gardnerville-Sparks-Truckee-Tahoe!

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