The greatest moments of Cam Zink's career
What an incredible legacy
Yesterday Cam Zink announced his retirement from slopestyle at the age of 30. In a career that saw him claim the US Junior Dual Slalom championship and a race spot on the Santa Cruz Syndicate, he will no doubt be remembered most for the ten years he was one of the defining figures of slopestyle.
Cam Zink would go bigger and harder than anyone else and, although that often meant crashing harder too, his commitment to this sport is unquestionable. Here are the very best moments from a career that helped shape slopestyle and freeride into what they are today:
Cam Zink won his first Crankworx slopestyle crown 10 years ago in 2006. The festival was much smaller then, with just five events, but the Garbanzo, Air DH and, of course, the slopestyle remain to this day as the most prestigious events to win. Cam McCaul was second and Kyle Strait was third.
Zink would have to wait another four years before he lifted the Crankworx crown again but he did it in style. After a few injury strewn years, including multiple knee injuries that required surgery, a broken tibia, and a dislocated wrist, which also required surgery, 2010's Crankworx marked Zink's big comeback. It was the stuff of fairytale as he blew away the field with a score of 95 in his first run, allowing him this victory lap straight to the top of the podium.
Red Bull Rampage 2010
2010 would only get better for Cam Zink as he went on to change the sport of mountain biking entirely. It marked the second time man made features had been allowed in Rampage and the 40 foot Oakley Sender was the biggest of them all. Most riders wouldn't touch it but Zink wanted to 360 off it. A crash on his first run, which cracked his helmet, and a two hour wind delay meant we were kept waiting but nothing was going to stop Zink. He ended the day with first place, the best trick prize and the even bigger honour of progressing the sport of freeriding to whole new levels.
It turns out the only person who can go bigger than Cam Zink, is Cam Zink. The Oakley Sender had been boosted to 78 feet for the 2013 event but Zink still asked for a kicker to be put on top of it to pull off the biggest backflip drop in two-wheeled history. He got lost afterwards though so ended up third behind Kelly McGarry and Kyle Strait.
The backflip World Record
In 2014 Cam Zink spent six months preparing to break the World Record for the longest ever backflip. Hidden away in Mammoth Bike Park he constructed this 100 foot gap purely to go as big as possible. Zink pulled it off first try with effortless style - only he could make a 46 mph backflip look smooth. He said afterwards he's eying up 150 or even 200 feet next so keep your eyes peeled for more.
Reach for the Sky
If you want a perfect reminder of Zink's contribution to mountain biking then look no further than Reach for the Sky as some of the sport's biggest names pay tribute to the legend.
Semenuk: "He, in my mind, rides harder than anyone else."
Berrecloth: "He's got so much confidence it's insane, in fact, it's scary."
And, of course, Palmer: "I think he just likes winning, 'cos winning's bitching."
Says it all really.