Chester Blackmith’s full section from our 2008 video, Insight…
“The circumstances for Chester to have a part in the video seemed perfect. Dean Dickinson was living in Southern California and going to college when I was coming up with the lineup for Insight. At the time, part of Dean’s college requirement was to do an internship, so he worked with me on the video for college credit. Dean and Chester were good friends and Chester ended up coming down to California to ride with Dean. Prior to this I hadn’t met Chester but I was familiar with his riding. After seeing a few clips they had filmed on Chet’s trip to Cali, I suggested he have a part in the video and Dean would handle the majority of the filming.
Unfortunately, while filming with Dean in Portland, Chester crashed and suffered a compound fracture in his leg. To this day, I’ve only watched the leg break footage a handful of times because it’s so brutal. Fortunately, prior to the injury Chester had some great footage clocked with Dean and Shad Johnson. He was able to put together a solid part with some of the wildest clips in the video, despite getting hardly any time to film. Chet’s words in the video are very sincere and I think he sums up the negative aspects that can come along with filming a video part perfectly.” —Ryan Navazio
How old were ya when Insight came out?
Chester: I was 24
What’s your first thought when someone brings up your Insight section?
I feel like it’s not just one thought, but a quick timeline of events in my head that I run through on how filming for Insight went.
You’ve been pretty nomadic lately, but at that time you were settled in Portland…what memories do you have of that time period?
It was BMX everyday all day. I was working the graveyard shift, so I’d think about filming for that part all night, and go ride as soon as I was off work.
Obviously your section had a pretty low point with your leg breaking. It was actually so gruesome that Navaz didn’t put it in the video, right? How long til you were riding again after that?
I was happy that Navaz didn’t put that in the video. Just the couple tries before I broke my leg. I broke my leg in June 2007 and didn’t ride a BMX bike til January 08
You talk about chilling on your next video part…does that actually ever happen?
The beauty of filming these sections is you can always change it up in the next section. I guess the point was I wanted to have a little more fun on the next project instead of being stressed out about what I was filming. I was younger and didn’t really know any better.
Any lasting thoughts from that fall these days?
It was a long expensive road to recover with metal rods and screws that I’ll carry around in my leg everyday and for the rest of my life. But these things happen when you take risks. Lucky for me I had good friends and good family around not to let me get down on my self at that time. If this happens to you just work harder on recovering and you’ll be back to doing what you love in no time.
This was the first time you worked with Navaz, what was the whole experience like for you?
I’m not gonna lie. Him stressing out about clips and budgets and music and more clips didn’t help. I started to make up things in my head that I wasn’t filming good enough clips sometimes. But Ryan is a complete badass behind a camera and has always had a good vision on filming BMX. It was just hard to see that while filming was in progress. Then when the video came out I was like “Ohhhhh I get it, this is sick.” He knows what he’s doing for sure.
What’s your favorite clip from the section?
I really liked the fountain grind at PSU, but honestly I haven’t watched it in a really long time [Note: Chet, I sent you the link to the video! Haha] so that the first one that comes to mind.
Any clips that make you cringe these days?
Not getting the tuck off that tree jump. Just a dead sailor for a last clip…that one kinda always pissed me off.
You’ve had a few video parts; how does your Insight section rank in there?
It’s not my favorite section that I’ve done and that’s all rider error. But with the layout of the whole video and everyone else killing it, I feel that it fits that video.
How would you say your riding changed since then (if at all)?
It didn’t change much after that. I just got better at listening to my gut when trying something scary.
What about your life in general?
My knee hurts a little where the screws are bolted in at. Insight gave me a passageway to all these people and places and spots that fueled more hunger for BMX, travel, filming, and friends. I pushed myself hard, was reckless, and failed in some ways. But in a lot of ways, I succeeded and can look back on the lessons learned from that short time in my life to continue riding and making good judgments on what path I’ll take in the future.