Paul Chamberlain

Date of Birth – November 1982

Current sponsors – Freestyle Now 

Resides – Sydney

Freestyle Now squad member since  –  May 2011

Specialty – Flatland, conversationalist, announcing, fun times

Started riding bmx – Got interested in about 1997 just pedalling around and causing trouble, jumping bin bags and all that. Street and parks from about 1999. More street really at the time. Started riding flatland in 2003 and the rest is history. Since riding flatland I’ve been really dedicated to practicing and experimenting a lot more.

Main type of riding – Flatland, but I try and mix it up every day and hit skateparks and the streets a fair bit. I like to keep it different. Sometimes I just go on really long bike rides hitting whatever obstacles I see.

How did you get into riding? – I’m not 100% sure. I was always attracted to ‘extreme sports’ as I was never much of a team sports person. I was pretty into riding around no-handed as a little kid and various other little tricks like standing on the seat and popping wheelies (monos in Australia). I never saw BMX though. I just knew what it was because it was the 80’s and it was in the media more. Like nearly all people who were born in 1982, I got a mountain bike, which after a while went unused. At the time I didn’t know why and I just continued playing video games and getting fatter. As a teenager I played basketball pretty seriously but I got to a point where I only wanted to do it on my own and in more of a ‘freestyle’ sense. Freestyle basketball didn’t really exist back then – at least not in England so (as a kid) I thought what I was doing all day on my own was ridiculous. I basically quit there and then, gave all of my fancy shoes away, and started to give all of my energy to BMX. Up until that point I had been hanging with trials riders from school at night because it was too dark to play basketball – so I guess I had a bit of bike control. I wouldn’t really say I was riding BMX though. When I gave up basketball I got some cheap steel pegs and learnt to grind stuff. Actually, I think I stole them from a shop. It was a generic superstore though. We’ll say I emancipated those fair pegs! Anyway, that would have been around the end of 1999. I had crazy balls when I first started riding street. I used to ride off of stuff that was 3 or 4 metres high onto the flat and barspin into and out of grinds. I guess I had no fear or no knowledge of the consequences. It was a good time. Started riding flatland only in 2003 after a bad shoulder injury. Rode flatland only until about 2008 and now I’m dabbling in everything again. Feels really good!

What was your first bike? – Powerlite Havoc. All chrome!

Who has influenced you the most in riding? – I’ve liked a lot of different riders in my time. Mid-nineties park and street styles were a bike influence along with the brakeless street wave. All the guys from the local park really. They all looked up to Scott Malyon and still do. I was into fufanus and pedal stuff when it came along. I suppose outside of flatland my biggest influence was a local rider called Al. He still is a lip and deck trick master even in his old age (haha – he’s not that old!). As for flatland it’s easy to tell you, Mike S and James Smith. Before I started flatland I was watching Props 47 and there was some footage of Mike S from the first Circle of Balance. Just imagine – I used to fast forward through it! I noticed he was using both feet and stepping into and out of tricks on opposite feet, which made him and his bike flow really nicely in the same direction. I knew I would ride flatland and do it like that from that moment on. When I met James Smith he’d already been riding a few years and was pretty good, he was also on the ‘step in on one foot and out on the other’ flow thing like Mike S. He got more inspiration from James White I would say. Either way, James inspired me a lot because he was much better than me and was very hungry to progress. In 2004 he progressed faster than any rider I have ever seen and dug really deep to learn super hard stuff that serves him well until this day. Mike S created and refined a style. What can I say about him. He’ll always have a special place in flatland. Now I’ve been riding for a while I’d say I don’t really have such direct influences. I like riders who are doing things completely different to me and outside of my realm totally, like Ciaran Perry for example. He’s without a doubt the most original dude on a bike right now. I’m also into Brian Tunney’s riding too. I used to hate it, but now I love it. It reminds me of riding street in the 90’s and he’s mixing up flatland too. He’s an innovator in his own Brian Tunney way. Dane Beardsley. Aaron Behnke. James White. Akira for pure craziness. Alexis Desolneux. Dan Rigby. I generally like riders who go slow, flow without hesitation and use both feet as well as the whole bike. I like riders who change position a lot and are constantly moving.

What can you remember most about your first competition or demo? – I rode a contest at my local skatepark (Leigh-on-Sea R.I.P) in 2001 and came second. I did a footplant over a sub box into the bowl. That seemed crazy at the time. I probably did a lot of x-ups and pedal grind related stuff too. It was just me and all my mates. I didn’t feel nervous, it was just like hanging out at the park except I was actually trying to do new stuff and wasn’t scared. My first contest as a flatlander was the Worlds in 2004. It was the first really big contest I’d gone to with the intention of riding. There were so many riders from all over the world. Me and my main man Eddie ’78’ Chan were just riding basically 24/7. There was a session somewhere going on literally 24/7. I met so many good people from all over the world and got a real buzz from hanging out in a foreign country with so many other riders. I’ve been travelling ever since then. I’m pretty sure I came 32nd. I did a nollie barspin and not much else really, hang five and a steamroller probably. I’ve never really thought too much about placings. I always just try to do my best and bring a new trick that people haven’t seen or at least a new twist on something if that’s what my abilities allow for.

Five things that matter most to you in no order – Flatland, Health, The Environment, Travel, Family and friends, Tea

Five things that you dislike the most – Unhealthy food, Racism, Corruption and Censorship, Ignorance, The Branding of Lifestyles and I’ll add ‘Punctures’ to lighten the mood!

Do you like riding in shows or competitions? – I just like riding. If I’m out riding on my own terms I’ll always just be trying new stuff and mostly falling off. If I’m in a show or a contest I’ll try and do old stuff that I can land consistently and stuff that’s visually impressive and makes flatland look cool to the masses. I don’t really like being on show but I like people to see what we do and I like the idea of people (especially kids) becoming enthused to go and ride. There’s nothing better than knowing that you inspired somebody. It’s hard to stick with flatland as the going is slow and tough but there are so many potential flatlanders out there.

What do you do in your spare time? – Work. Read. Do the crossword in the Sydney Morning Herald. Drink tea. Go bushwalking and camping when the opportunity arises.

To you what is beautiful? – Nature. Life in action. I spend a lot of time and energy trying to see different animals. I once paddled a canoe up a river against the current for four hours to see manatees. It was amazing. I swam with them and found them to be a little dog-like. They like to have their belly’s rubbed and are quite playful. I was also very lucky to see a mountain lion (cougar) in California. I did some turtle conservation in Mexico, mapping nesting sites. Seeing turtles nesting is amazing. I’ve climbed a few mountains too which is amazing. Nature is a spectacle to behold. I’ve got a biology degree with honours that I should probably put to use some day.

Why do you ride? – It’s my life. I need to do it. I love to do it. These days I never get burnt out riding. I don’t really have goals or a set path anymore so I don’t have to dig deep to learn a new trick. I just play around and try to do something new every time I ride. If you’re open to anything it’s easy to do something new every session. I think it’s the best way to learn. Riding can be stressful if you impose too many rules on it. I guess freedom is the answer to the question. I feel pure freedom when I’m riding.

What has been your worst injury? – The shoulder injury that turned me onto flatland. Separated and dislocated shoulder, broken collarbone and torn rotator cuff. It was pretty bad initially but I just thought positively about my recovery and was starting to ride flatland straight after 5 weeks in a sling. I came off riding home one day and cut my head. Had 20 stitches. That’s why I always wear a helmet unless I’m riding flatland.

Favourite riding spot – IMAX in Melbourne, Duc Ba Church in Saigon, all of Kunming street, Fitzroy Bowl, Flemington Banks, The Green Mile. ROM. VTE in Vung Tau, San Francisco in general, the snake run in Hobart. Old South Bank back in the day before they developed it. Rampage in Leigh-on-Sea back in the day. There’s so much good stuff out there that I still want to ride. Dusseldorf brick banks that I saw in Props Euro Fools. Flatland in Athens Greece – and Athens Georgia for that matter! Japan. York Jam. Saskatoon Berry Jam. Still haven’t been to those places yet. .

Favourite Music – Old blues music. Blind Willie McTell, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Mississippi Morris, Blind Boy Fuller. I like CW Stoneking’s first album. He’s Australian, alive and can actually see too, so check him out. I like some hiphop too, but my MP3 player only has old blues music on it. I don’t listen to music when I ride at Hyde Park because there are too many people around.

If you were given a special pencil what would you do with it? – Give it to someone who would appreciate it more. Maybe give it to Dave C. Either that or draw Sonic the Hedgehog with it I suppose. There’s not enough criteria here really. I wouldn’t want to draw Sonic if he was going to come to life, he’s too highly strung and he’s also naked apart from his shoes; not to mention that he has an ‘outer suburbs’ mullet. What’s with all the wild haircuts in Australia anyway? In England tough guys have low maintenance tough-guy hair; skinheads, short back and sides, maybe a line shaved in the eyebrow/piercing double-header to be a little avant-garde.  .  . Anyway, that’s me. Way too long and drawn out. Cheers. Go ride! Etc.

 

Current bike set up

Frame – S&M Intrikat 19.5 top tube
Fork – Odyssey Flat forks – minimal offset
Headset – Hell on Wheels
Stem – Highroller BMX stem (made by Quamen)
Bars – T1 Salt Lake bars – I love these bars. Just what I wanted.
Grips – T1 Grips
Barends – Camacura stainless steel
Lever – Odyssey small Monolever
Cable – Odyssey Linear
Brake – Eclat (rear brake only)
Seat post – S&M Pivotal post
Seat post clamp – Built into frame
Seat – United pivotal
Cranks – Primo Hollowbites 165mm
Pedals – Primo plastic Stricker Tenderizers
Bottom bracket – Fit
Sprocket – 28T S&M Tuffman sprocket
Chain – Odyssey Bluebird chain
Front wheel
– rim – Colony contour 36 hole
– hub – Colony clone
– spokes – stainless steel
Rear wheel
– rim – Colony contour 36 hole
– hub – Colony clone male axle RHD 9T drive
– spokes – stainless steel
Pegs – Suelo alloy on the front, Animal Butchers with no plastic sleeves on the rear
Tires – 2.1 Animal GLH tire on the front, 1.75 Odyssey Frequency G on the rear
Tubes – black rubber ones
Any modifications – Skingrowsback cross bar and stem pad which is basically the most useful thing on my bike. It comes in so handy for plastic man stuff which was killing my knee before. It was made in Australia too which is a novelty these days. Check it out! www.skingrowsback.com. Left stainless steel gripstop made by Brett Dighton. Got a seriously old dust cap on the front wheel. That’s probably about it. It’s my bike.  It’s short, light and does the job.

VIDEOS

 

 

 

 

 

Shaun Jarvis
Jason Parker
Dylan Schmidt
David Pinelli
Paul Chamberlain
Tanh Ga
Lee Kirkman
Dez Maarsen
Ben Thomas
Matt Adkins
The Reserves
The Recruits
The Veterans