Zach Chamberlin Interview by Al Hodgson


Gang ~ Photo: Zach Chamberlin

Introduction + Interview by Al Hodgson

Photography by Zach Chamberlin, Chris Gurinsky, Richard Hart + Daniel Beck



Ask any VX1000-inclined filmer worth their salt who their favourite contemporary filmers are and it’s highly likely that Zach Chamberlin will get a mention in their top 3. He’s pretty much unanimously respected in our niche yet global scene, and consistently regarded as one of the most exciting, skilled and prolific wielders in the game. 

I first met Zach on a 2016 Push Periodical trip, where he and a number of others came though Bristol as part of their ‘Partial World Tour’, but also to premier his Sprinkles ‘Bright Moments’ video. During this time it became clear that his energy and passion for the craft was not only abundant, but contagious – with an all-round creative approach that became burned into my memory from that point on. 

Loophole Wheels have also been consistently putting out some of my favourite skate content out for the past few years, with New Doors Have Opened’ probably being my most re-watched video since Colin Read’s Spirit Quest’. I challenge anyone to watch any of Zach’s Loophole videos and not feel an immediate urge to go spot hunt some crusty suburban gradients. Take mine and Harrison’s word for it too, the wheels are really good…

So, given the release of their latest full length offering ‘2nd Visions’ and Vague’s recent release of the Powderly brothers’ part, there felt no better time to sit down with the man behind the MK1 to talk about filming, Loophole and more.

Hiroki Muraoka ~ Photo: Zach Chamberlin

Yo Zach! Good to chat to you again man. How are you doing? 

Al! Rad to do this interview. We gotta chat and catch up personally too. I haven’t seen you since Vladimir Film Festival, I think.  Doing well here, summer’s here so I’m just trying to be outside as much as possible.

Shoma Takeda ~ Frontside Wallie ~ Photo: Zach Chamberlin

Gang ~ Photo: Zach Chamberlin

Yeah it’s been a while! Big congrats on ‘2nd Visions’. I’ve loved everything you guys have put out through Loophole and this vid is no exception. Can you tell us a little bit about the project? How long were you guys working on it and, for those yet to benefit from a viewing, who has sections in this one? 

The project is just get out and skate, have fun, try to find something new skating or not, get homies involved and the rest will follow. Our last SF video was with FTC at the end of 2022 but we didn’t use everything, so probably around 3 years loosely. Major sections for this one include Roger Krebs, Ben Gore, Hiroki Muraoka, Gigi Nozieres, Andrea Dupre, Josh Narvaez, Brian Powderly, Sean Powderly, Dustin Eggeling and Mark Humienik.

Hiroki Muraoka ~ Photo: Zach Chamberlin

Do you have any funny or memorable behind-the-scenes stories from working on the video, or any particular clips in it? 

That’s mostly what I got. Ha. But ya know you can only share so much about other people and things to the world, even if it’s mellow. Some wholesome times. Hiroki filmed his part in 3 weeks in SF. He hit a nice car with his board after sticking a varial flip under the rail. We talked to the owner, paid him $300 for a pretty fucked plastic bumper and Hiroki did the trick after.

Roger Krebs ~ Kickflip ~ Photo: Chris Gurinsky

Jameel Douglas ~ Photo: Zach Chamberlin

Dustin: In his intro super 8 he’s pushing around and randomly finds a pair of shoes worth $700. Maybe 4 bill being lightly used. 

Roger: We got called Tony Hawk wannabes and told to take our 80s movie shit somewhere else, it almost killed me laughing.

Ben’s channel kickflip at the end was about a 6 year battle haha. Last time we were there and saw the guy who always trips walk out of his house leaving, so we kinda hid and waited and got some goes. He landed one, saw the guy walking up, landed a way better one right after and we dipped before he could even notice. No bricks were injured in the making. Man, there’s too many. Maybe I’ll do a commentary over the video one day with the goons. 


Athen McCary ~ Invert ~ Photo: Zach Chamberlin

Hell yeah, that’d be good. A Secret DVD extra on the next video maybe…

So, despite being a bit of a fanboy of Loophole, I actually don’t know a huge amount about how the brand originated. Could you break it down for us? How did you and Jesse (Narvaez) start it? 

Jesse had a crazy chemist skate homie who worked at a wheel mfg and would give him samples to test. Then he went and started his own mfg pouring his own formula of wheel and gave us those to try. They skated so sick, we got a few of our friends to try them and they liked ‘em too. Before we knew it things started turning – friends are riding the wheels and we got a product we love. So Jesse and I are talking and it’s like whooa shit, we have a business if we wanna figure it out. Now we have a big family of friends, riders, shops, distros, and cool customers… and still a lot to figure out. 

We started barely making any wheels. Jesse and I with the riders would be in there sometimes making around 50 sets at a time in the beginning. It would take forever to fill orders but we grew and started making bigger orders. We made an order after 3-4 years went by and he said he needed the money up front for the materials to make the wheels, so we paid him and never got the wheels.  Soon after, we knew we weren’t getting the wheels. Then we just started over with the biz. We tested tons of wheels until we found the best one for the riders and us. The wheels now feel fucking sick, dope printing on ‘em and they last mad long, even in SF. And 100% professional courteous people. We took a lil biz break but always kept going. We love everyone involved so much that it’s easy pushing through whatever.

Ben Gore ~ Backside 180 Kickflip ~ Photo: Zach Chamberlin

It’s dope that it’s worked out that way for you guys, because it seems some smaller wheel companies can struggle to match the formulas and quality of the bigger wheel brands. But, having skated Loopholes for the past year, I can confidently say that’s not the case for you guys and you’ve definitely got the product right. Either way skateboarders tend to be quite set in their ways when it comes to wheels, so despite all the right ingredients and a catalogue of great video projects to advertise them, is it still a struggle to make a splash in such a dominated market?   

Thanks Al. Appreciate ya. We tested so many different wheels, got the opinions from our riders of what’s best and talked to the factory for best options – putting in the work to get the best we can. I guess I don’t pay too much attention to comparing splashes. I’d probably feel like shit, haha! I just try to not have unhealthy expectations, do my best, put out the visions of the gang and do what’s fun, enjoying being on a skateboard.

Ben Gore ~ Frontside Wallride ~ Photo: Zach Chamberlin

What about your Sprinkles project – can you tell us a little about that? Are there any specific affiliations between the two brands, or are they just slightly interlinked as you’re basically a key part of both? 

Sprinkles is just kind of an energy to be out skating with I guess. If life’s the donut and skating is the frosting, throw a lil fun n flavour on top – sprinkle it. For video projects it’s an outlet for people I love to hang out and skate with all the time or just met that day and filmed.  It’s another outlet to express some visions. Stay in the streets, meeting old friends and new. Sometimes it’s team riders, sometimes it’s homies. It’s all the same shit but for industry standards it’s got two sides. There’s Sprinkles riders now and there’s people that I film that are not riding for the company.

Ben Gore ~ Gap To Frontside Wallride ~ Photo: Zach Chamberlin

Talking of filming, from watching you film and talking to you about it in the past, you seem to thrive off the spontaneity of exploration, whilst remaining super consistent with your output. What do your days out filming look like? Do you have a particular process or any methods to keep things productive? Do you plan spots to hit, or is it all just freewheeling? 

Yeah that’s it – all that! Pretty much anywhere you live in SF you step out of the house to an amazing, fun skate. But yeah, exploring is just so fuckin fun. It’s like a drug. I just wanna look around one more corner dude, I swear. We’ll climb up some crazy hills looking for a spot or some cut we’ve never been in. Some dirt paths. Between some houses. Whatever. It seems so sketch sometimes, opening up gates for roll ups or walking by windows where people sleep to peep a stair grinder. Mainly we pick a neighbourhood. Maybe someone wants to skate a certain spot so we’ll link close-ish by and skate there, finding more gems on the way. If you’re lucky you’ll keep finding spots and never make it to the spot intended.

Andréa Dupré ~ Switch Hardflip ~ Photo: Richard Hart

Brian Powderly ~ Backside 5-0 Grind ~ Photo: Zach Chamberlin

Love that. Great ethos. Staying on the topic of filming, you’re pretty well known for how well you can film downhill clips and lines. I would even argue that sometimes your filming is just as difficult of a trick as the skateboarding being filmed. Do you ever find those downhill clips scary to film? Have you ever taken any serious slams from following like you do?

Skating just looks less gnarly on camera. I’d guess any skater after doing a trick will think that it felt so much fucking crazier than it looks on the video box afterwards. I know what you’re saying about filming looking as difficult sometimes. I’d say they’re just different. It’s like wine and cheese, coffee and smoke – they are different and complement each other. I just try my best to complement the skater with the recording box. Skating is awesome because there’s really no way to measure the parts of why people love it. 

Do I find the downhills scary? Fuck yeah. They’re deadly. But If I’m prepared and have bombed the hill at least once or a few times then it’s not so scary. The suspense can be scarier than actually doing it. The first descent is always the biggest rush. Sometimes you just put the lens on and go the first time they land, but it’s not smart. I’ll be so scared to stay alive and I’ll be so far away. The main thing is puzzling together the right line where the trick will look best. Sometimes certain spots ask for some risky filming moves, like skating spots. Stepping outside the comfort zone and having positive outcomes is amazing because sometimes you get smoked or fuck up a clip.

Dustin Eggeling ~ Backside 180 Heelflip ~ Photo: Zach Chamberlin

Talking of getting smoked, filmers often complain about back pain, but I find my thighs and knees can get it the worst as fisheye can involve so much running and squatting as well as skating. There’s been times where I’ve written myself off from filming for way longer than I would have from just skating… You’re super dynamic with your filming, so do you ever suffer from this kind of thing? Do you do any Yoga or anything to mitigate it?

Just skating everyday, even if I’m sore. I’ve seen so much cool skating go down from people who say they are sore or not feeling great or whatever, even myself. I’ve just gotta get out and still move and push forward.

Etiel Rojas ~ Drop In To Ride-On 50-50 Grind ~ Photo: Zach Chamberlin

There’s an alternative approach to filming that’s becoming a lot more common these days, where most of the physical effort put in by the filmer is done solely with their two fingers on the zoom rocker… Do you have any opinions towards that passive filming style, as it’s a pretty different approach to the more active style that you seem to love so much? 

I just wanna be close to this shit. I love skateboarding. Ha. The fisheye is just my excuse to witness skateboarding as close as possible. Imagine anyone else trying to be  that close while you skate. Like I said earlier, skating doesn’t look or feel as rad on film as it does in person – being right there with the fish is oooooo eee the best.

Hiroki Muraoka ~ Kitty McBagpipe~ Photo: Daniel Beck

Totally with you there. On that note, are there any filmers from the past 20 years you look back at for inspiration, and any filmers out there currently that you really dig too? 

Oh fuck yeah! But also fuck, I’m gonna forget someone I really love! Sorry in advance. Season skate videos from SF, Trevor Prescott, RIOS crew videos, Takahiro Morita FESN videos, so many in Japan, 3rdz, Manwho, Tightbooth, Josh Stewart, Yoan, Garshell, OG Strobeck, Dan Wolfe, Josh Roberts, John Valenti, Threads videos, Logan Matthews, Deep Dish, Deep Fried, Sirus F Gahan, Gustavo Goncalves in Brazil, Mongoman in Mexico, of course you G! I’m always following you and the English scene, Jacob Harris is a magician! Ask me tomorrow I’ll have 10 more homies or people to name drop.

Josh Narvaez ~ Ollie ~ Photo: Zach Chamberlin

Hell yeah, cheers Zach! Some legends in that list for sure!

 So I can’t speak for SF and the US more widely, but in Europe I’m definitely seeing the whole VX thing slow down since its peak renaissance during COVID times. It’s sad to see, but I can also understand why. Personally, I doubt I’d make the switch to another camera because I just find the VX1000 too enjoyable to use, but what’s your take on it? Would you ever consider ‘upgrading’?  

 Yeah fuck it. There’s my personal opinion on aesthetics to the VX and I like to use what I know. I don’t want to use a new camera, drop dough, get a new computer. I don’t think it matters much what anyone uses, just as long as there is effort involved to make the clip look sick and the scene is gassed up.

Guillaume Nozieres ~ Frontside Wallride ~ Photo: Richard Hart

Logan Matthews ~ Photo: Zach Chamberlin

On a similar note, hard copy skate media is at an all time low, which again is something I can kind of understand given people’s intake of media generally. Nevertheless, you’ve always held it down for hard copy DVD releases both independently and through Loophole, with 2nd Visions’ limited hard release already sold out, right? Why are hard copy releases important to you and are they something you guys are planning to keep doing for future releases?

I like to have hard copies from my friends projects and people I think are rad at skating, and rad at capturing the essence of skateboarding. I like knowing a couple hard copies are out there to be cherished by a few. Some kind of quality over quantity thing going on. Who knows how long it’ll go on for me. Maybe once nobody buys or wants anymore DVDs I’ll stop. Also it kinda sucks that most everyone’s video eggs are in the YouTube basket. Where YouTube ads are inserted before every video to suck Satan’s cock. (Dedicated to Ricsi) Maybe it’s actually cool to not have YouTube in charge of skateboard video history.

Roger Krebs ~ Backside 5-0 Grind To Fakie ~ Photo: Zach Chamberlin

Yeah that YouTube thing is such a good point man. It’s important this shit is archived in case YouTube ever closes up shop… 

So what are you up to now the video is finished? Are you back out filming already or taking a well deserved break? Do you have any future plans for personal or Loophole projects on the cards this year? 

Just pretty much skate every day that I can. I went to Budapest for Loophole to meet the RIOS guys. We are doing a collab together so the gang around SF is skating always and in Hungary they are filming more too. I’ve been helping with AREth footwear in the USA. It’s a Japanese footwear brand, they last forever and are amazing shoes. I’m fucked now because I can’t skate anything else. My feet feel good now. That video will be out soon on the internet. Later this year I should be putting out a second Sprinkles video too. Oh, and the Magenta guys visited SF with homies. That project is probably out later this year. I dream of doing an SF film festival in the park, mellow style with homies locally who make videos. Maybe next year.

Ruben Spelta ~ Nollie Heelflip ~ Photo: Zach Chamberlin

Oh shit, loads of projects still! Respect! I’m hyped to see them all. Well, cheers Zach, I think that’s everything. I know I speak on behalf of the independent filmer community when I say thank you for all the inspo over the years. Are there any last thanks you’d like to give to anyone? 

Huge thanks to you and Vague for your time on this interview and what y’all do! Thanks Loophole family! Thanks to anyone that read this far. Thanks to all skateboarding worldwide. Always make time for each other! All connected. Bright Moments.

Zach Chamberlin ~ Photo: Ruben Spelta

Josh Narvaez & Friends in Loophole Wheels: 2ND VISIONS

Filmed + Edited by: Zach Chamberlin

Brian Powderly & Sean Powderly in Loophole Wheels: 2ND VISIONS

Filmed + Edited by: Zach Chamberlin