Let's just get it out of the way: Zach Miller is the direct descendant of skateboarding royalty, Chris Miller. There, it's out there. Now let's focus on Zach. We've known and supported Zach since he was a teenage skate rat and watched him evolve into one of the most underrated vert skateboarders today. His style is smooth and flowing as a result of his "it's not a make unless I ride out clean" attitude, often resulting in relentless attempts at a line that will only end in a part-worthy clip or a Hall of Meat-worthy slam.
We coaxed Zach away from his desk at Nixon, where he often fills in as a graphic designer (man of many talents, right?), to take us around his favorite spots in Encinitas and show off our latest skatepack. We also got to have a quick chat about stoked out cops, losing your bags in Copenhagen and what's coming next.
Quick intro, where are you from and where do you live now?
I am from Cardiff, right down the street, but I just moved to a little spot in Solana Beach which is the next town south.
This year, you’ve been skating contests all over the globe. Is there one that’s been your favorite? Any favorite story you can share from your travels?
There are so many rad places to travel to. I'm really fortunate to be able to skate all over the world. I would say that my two favorite places are Copenhagen and Australia. They are both such rad places.I actually just got home from Copenhagen, Denmark. I was out there skating the Copenhagen Bowl Jam. Copenhagen is probably one of the best spots in the world. So many good parks, people, rad city, good friends. I love it there.
This year was kind of a crazy trip. Every now and then on a trip, you get crazy flight delays and problems. It's bound to happen and it's just part of the adventure. This was one of those times. After all sorts of delays and re-routings the airline had me gate check my carry on with my skateboards in it…. Which they lost. So I spent the first four days in Copenhagen with nothing but sweat pants and my camera. It was kinda rad though. It just forced me to chill and really take in everything around me. Shooting photos of my friends and the city without being distracted trying to skate was actually cool. I was staying at my friend Rune's (Glifburg) house there, so I just cruised around with him and got a taste of the local Danish day-to-day.
Day 4, all my stuff finally showed up and of course it stated to rain… and rain.. And rain some more. The contest got rained out and moved to the other side of the city to an indoor skatepark. The contest directors decided to give everyone a chunk of the prize purse, then change the event into more of a free jam session and just throw out the remaining cash for people who were ripping, and then pick one winner at the end. It just took all the pressure off and everyone was going mad! Dudes were skating so well and it made it so much fun to skate with all our friends. After the contest they threw a huge party in the street course that lasted till about 5am. Danish Style.
In the end having no skateboards, a ton of rain and a new perspective on the event and city actually turned into one of the best trips ever.
If you’re not skating, you’re probably…
Surfing! I almost surf more than I skate sometimes!
You just got offered your first pro model, what’s the design and who is doing the artwork?
I think that I would want something hand drawn. More like 80's graphics when board graphics were actual art. My little brother Luke is pretty insane at illustrating. I would probably have him do some kind of Illustration in bright colors and screen it onto a board with just the dark stained wood ply behind it. No Background screen, kinda like old G&S or Santa Cruz boards used to be. That would be rad.
Prince Park in Oceanside. I tried to backside air this channel in the big bowl. Probably 12ft? It's wide enough that you pretty much slam every time you don't make it. You have to whip around the opposite corner just for enough speed. It's a backside carve for me and I was going into the pocket doing backside grab-rail carves and trying to get extra speed like you would surfing. One of them I accidentally clipped my back truck as I pumped through the corner and just got sling shot onto my back in the flat bottom… taken out before I could get to the damn trick! Sprained my foot, both wrists, swollen knee and hip… wrecked. But, that's skateboarding. Gotta go back for that one now that I'm healthy.
First time you got in trouble for skating…
I don't remember. Probably skating the community center in San Elijo. I used to go to my friends house out there everyday and we would skate to the community center. They never cared if we were in the parking lot but all the good spots were in the gate. We got booted a bunch of times. I've always skated transition and parks so I haven't had too many run-in's with cops… Sometimes people call the cops on you when your skating backyard pools. We skated this pool at an abandoned house in San Bernardino one day, cops got called cause the neighbor thought we were gang members doing graffiti or something. Cops rolled up kinda hot, but once they realized we were just skating they didn't even care; "You guys any good?" "Show us some tricks before we have to kick you out." Yes sir. Took a few more runs, the cops were actually stoked. They gave us high fives and then we all left in peace.
Next trip you’re going on. Next trip you want to go on…
I don't have any more trips for a while. I really want to go to Japan. I've been seeing footage of parks and surf from there and it looks insane!
Zach wears the Smith Skatepack in Khaki/Surplus Camo.
Don't be antisocial, follow @zakra_miller on Instagram and via his website www.r-o-a-m.com.