Nyjah Huston Interview

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So you just got done at the La Jolla 18-stair rail. You got the fakie 50-50 and the nollie nosegrind. How do you get yourself to jump on something as hairball as the fakie 50-50?
I’m gonna say the most important part about it is just going there knowing that you have to try it, not having any hesitation. I thought about doing that for the past couple weeks, so when you go out there you’re, like, “I know I’m gonna try this.” I might be rolling up a few times and stuff, but at some point I have to go for it. So I might as well just go for it now instead of rolling up to it for an hour. And also, I’m down to feel that fear and feel that nervous feeling of getting smoked. It makes it more rewarding when you land the trick. That feeling—it’s an addiction, for sure.

What are different ways you put pressure on yourself? Is it more pressure when Ty’s there?
Skating for me is, like, I get so much satisfaction from doing something that I get stoked on. After skating for 16 years now it’s kind of hard to get that feeling. There’s only so many 20 rails you can do a 50 on, only so many 18 rails you can do a back Smith on. So you’ve got to do something nollie; you’ve got to do something fakie. If I don’t come away from a hard day skating or a sick spot where I’m super stoked on a trick then I feel like I could have done more, and I don’t want that feeling.

Nyjah photo2 750pxThere’s only so many 20 stair rails you can do a 50-50 on. That’s why ‘Jah skates 20-flat-sevens     Photo: Rhino

Do you ever scare yourself so bad that you’re, like, “Nope, I’m out.”?
I’m pretty good with being thought out with what tricks I’m gonna do on what spot before I go there. I never go to a spot expecting to do something more than I know I’m comfortable with. But at the same time, if you’re gonna go for gnarly shit you’re gonna get hurt every now and then. I’ve gotten lucky with not breaking a lot of bones. But knees, ankles, bruised heels—that’s part of getting buck. It’s gonna happen.

Yeah, you did the splits on that first one! That doesn’t fuck you up? I feel like for some people that would be the end. That was okay?
I don’t know. People trip out when I do the splits! I’m pretty flexible, though. My dad always made sure I stretched when I was a kid. I just gotta try to stay healthy.

Knock on wood. What have been your gnarliest injuries so far?
My gnarliest injury was 100 percent eating shit on a nollie front crook on that hotel rail in Florida. I tried nollie front crook, slipped out and hit my knee on the ground so hard. That was six years ago and it still hurts to this day. I mean, it’s just one of those things. It’s a bone bruise, just scar tissue and that stuff’s never gonna go away. It’s always gonna be a pain. But at the same time, I’m not trying to get surgery and not skate for six months. So I’ll just get through it.

Nyjah photo12 750pxAh, the simple pleasures—fall colors, a Lambo and a 60-foot-long crooked grind across and down. Easy to be stoked if you’re Nyjah Huston     Photo: Zaslavsky

Yeah, that’s what I was gonna ask: have you had any surgeries yet?
No. I’ve thought about it but when I don’t skate for two weeks I’m already losing my mind. If I didn’t skate for three-to-six months I would not be stoked.

For a trick like this, is it something you drill at the park beforehand? Or is it something where you’ve done these tricks for so long that you’re, like, “Yeah, I know how to do this.”?
No, I skated my park on the way here, for sure. Yesterday as well I was practicing some fakie grinds and nollie nosegrinds. But honestly, the fakie grind was pretty random. Lately, within the past year, I’ve been switch grinding and feeling really comfortable with going switch down rails. But even my buddies like Dom and Chase were surprised when I wanted to fakie grind it. It was super random, but I already had a switch grind for my part so I was, like, I gotta do something else and the fakie grind was the one.

Nyjah photo3 750pxYung Dread. Nine years old in 2005.     Photo: Woods

So you skate with Chase Webb and Dominick Walker a lot. What’s the ideal situation to have guys skating a gnarly spot with you?
The ideal situation is having anyone there that’s down to skate it with you! Hopefully it’s not someone that’s too sketchy and is gonna eat shit right before you try your trick. But Domo and Chase are both a pretty safe bet. Both of those dudes can ride big rails just like I’ve been doing for years. I mean, I’m sure everyone saw Chase’s part; that was insane. And Domo’s always on the come up.

Who do you think are the best rail skaters right now? Who do you look up to or take notice of?
Obviously Jamie. After seeing his year and seeing those couple parts and the front crook down El Toro, obviously. I would never want to try that. Front crook is a hard trick even on a flatbar, let alone down a 20 rail. Kyle Walker, 100 percent. I would say mainly Kyle is in there because of that grind he did, his last trick. That grind is insane! I’ve never been there and seen it but I can tell from the footage. I’ve skated enough kinked rails that I can tell what’s gnarly and what’s not. That’s one of those things where you would look at it and be, like, “Someone could grind this but I would never try it. It would be cool if someone tried it, and maybe it could happen, but it’s not for sure that it’s even possible.”

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Right now there’s a popular backlash, or maybe it’s just reflected on Instagram, of people not wanting to do gnarly stuff and wanting to do more rootsy street skating like pole jams and wallrides and stuff. Could you ever see yourself getting into that? Can ’Jah no comply?
See, that’s an interesting question for me because I posted something on Instagram a while ago. It was a few months ago and it was me doing some dorky little flatground stuff and the caption was, like, “Some kids these days.” And it just made me think: I didn’t want people to take that the wrong way ’cause I don’t want people to think, “Oh, he’s only down for rail skating and big stuff,” and that’s not the thing at all. When I see people skate, I like seeing people do real tricks, you know? And I’m not saying no complies aren’t a real trick but some of the little random Instagram kids who do some weird step-off-the-board, no comply kickflip onto the rail, or some foot slide on the rail type of thing, that stuff is just, like, “Oh my God, bro.” Skating’s not to the point yet where there’s no more progression of real tricks. So I want to see people go out there and do a real trick, do a real flip in onto a rail, you know? But as far as skating and style and some people doing no complies and pole jams, that kind of stuff is awesome but some kids just take it so over the top. It’s just, like, “Holy shit, bruh! What are you doing?”

Nyjah photo18 Sequence 750px 2xWith Ty on fish, 180 nosegrind all the way around at 72 BPM     Photo: Strand

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So you’ve been skating your entire life and now it’s like what you do is a business. What are the main parts of your life right now? What’s the backbone of the Nyjah experience right now? What’s important to you?
Lately the thing that’s most important to me is definitely this video part I’ve been working on. It’s been a couple years since I’ve put out a part. I think my last one was that Thrasher part and even that wasn’t something that I was really working hard towards to be everything I wanted it to be. It was kind of just footage I had that got put together. So this video part means a lot to me and I think also after the last couple years being really focused on contests, which is fun, I love contests, every single one I skate I have so much fun because I’m a competitive person, I love that feeling. But being able to get back in the streets and really challenge myself and just try different things, I feel like my skating every year is always changing and I feel like my last couple video parts have been somewhat similar in a way: a lot of big rails, a lot of flip-in tricks, some lines or whatever, but for this one I’ve been looking for unique spots that I’m stoked to skate or doing bigger nollie and fakie tricks on rails, skating different kinked rails and skating stuff that I’m really stoked on. Yeah, that’s definitely the most important thing for me right now. As far as everything else, obviously some people want to say that skating is not a job, but it’s gonna be a job. You’ve got sponsors, you’ve got photo shoots you have to do, you’ve got interviews, you’ve got stuff like that daily—stuff that’s gonna make it a job. That’s just part of it. It’s a job, but it’s definitely the most ideal job I could ever ask for.

Nyjah photo20 750pxClassic spot with a new trick still keeps the progress going.  Switch front feeble     Photo: Strand

I remember at a contest when you were pretty young, you did bad or you didn’t win and you cried. And at the time I remembered Danny Way did the same thing: he used to cry when he didn’t win. How important is winning to you now? What does winning mean to you now as an adult?
Yeah, you’re talking about the Maloof one, right?

Yeah, that was an interesting time for me because I’m pretty hard on myself. My dad, back in the day, I would get in the contests and he’d be, like, “Oh, you should have won that,” and I’d be, like, “I feel like it’s not that big of a deal that I didn’t win. I was pretty close.” That was probably the only contest I’ve ever skated where I was, like, “Wow, I actually think I should have won that one.” In that last section I think I landed every trick and I was just, like, “Damn, it’s been pretty hard for me since I’ve been skating pro contests to get a win and I really thought that was gonna be the one.” It was just an emotional moment ’cause I really felt like I put my all out there and did the best I could actually do. But as far as nowadays, I still take contests very seriously because that’s just me as a person. That’s just a natural thing to me. I want to go out there and I want to compete and I want to do good. But skating’s way too on and off to ever put so much pressure on yourself to win all the time. Plus, all the dudes out there skating contests are way too gnarly. Shane, he has a chance of winning every contest cause he’s insane, obviously. You’ve got new kids like Dashawn and Yuto. There are way too many good kids out there that are always coming up to ever go into the contest and be, like, “Oh, I’m gonna win this one.” I never go in with that mentality.

Nyjah photo8 750pxThe agony of defeat, 2009     Photo: Burnett

I know in some of contests there was a period where a lot of the obstacles got smaller. Do you feel like there were contests set up to let someone besides you win?
Yeah. I mean, that’s a fact. I know that’s true, for sure. I’ve talked to Rob Dyrdek about that. I’ve got no problem admitting that and I understand, ‘cause there was a point, I think it was like 2011, 12, 13, of Street League where I won a majority of the contests and it was kind of a time before people were getting used to strategy at the contests and learning how to win. I felt like I was kind of ahead at that time and honestly some of those wins came kind of easy, especially compared to recently. So yeah, I feel like the courses have definitely gotten smaller for that reason. I don’t really know what other good reason it could be. I feel like they’re just backtracking. I’m sure the crowd out there wants to see a Hollywood 16 in Street League.

I mean, you know what kind of contests Thrasher does.
That’s true.

All kill yo’ self. Right now how many people are you financially responsible for? Do you support all your family and some friends, too?
Yeah, I support my mom. I support my family. But she did so much for me, dude, I feel like I could never pay her back in any way money-wise for all the stuff that she’s done for me in the past and does for me on the daily by being an awesome parent and being supportive. As far as my friends, I’ve got a few roommates. I’m not gonna make them pay rent. I’m not gonna lie; I don’t really need that extra 500 or 1,000 dollars a month to make my homies pay rent. So when it comes to my homie Edgar who shoots videos and photos of me, totally chill. Domo, he’s out there on Element, he’s out there trying to kill it and I’m always just trying to get on his ass. Like today I was, like, “Front feeble. C’mon, get it!” So that’s Domo’s only job is to go out there and get buck. But no, as far as that I’ve got my solid group of friends. Sinner lives at the skatepark. He’s got his own little spot at the skatepark and yeah, everyone’s stoked. I’m always stoked and thankful for my friends.

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But is that pressure? Knowing that you’re responsible, especially for your brothers and sister? Is that a lot of weight on your shoulders? Do you think about it like that or is it just like you’re so used to it because you’ve been doing it since you were a little kid?
I’m gonna say I’m pretty used to it. But at the same time I’m a positive thinker and I’m a confident person and I don’t have any doubt that me and the whole crew and my career is only gonna keep growing. I don’t have any plans of slowing down or losing my love of skateboarding and my focus. I’m only 23 years old and I only plan on getting better.

So one more contest question: what about the Olympics? Do you want to go? Do you want to represent team USA?
I’m down.

Is that a goal?
It is a goal. I’m not sure how everything’s gonna work yet with the qualifying and whatnot. But as far as 2018, I still want to be out in the streets, street skating, getting buck. Two-thousand-nineteen I’m assuming it’s gonna be some sort of qualifying-type year for the Olympics so I’ll probably chill out a little bit, make sure the body’s healthy and stuff. But yeah, I definitely plan to be there. I can’t believe it took so long for skateboarding to get in the Olympics because it’s such a big thing and so many kids do it out there. But at the same time, I’m thankful that it’s getting in for the first time at a time where I’m at a good point in my career and hopefully I can compete in it.

Nyjah photo9 750pxAnd then the thrill of victory. Nollie nosegrind, biggest ever, 2017     Photo: Burnett

You know a lot of people don’t like the idea of being that organized. Do you have any hang ups on it? Is there anything about it, like if you had to wear a matching red white and blue uniform would you be, like, “Aw, man?” What’s your take on it?
I don’t want to look all cheesy out there, that’s for sure. I’m down to rep my sponsors and wear a jersey or something but I don’t want to be in a full suit looking super hectic and feeling crazy skating. But at the same time, I just want it to be a good contest. For whoever out there is putting it together, figuring it out, the qualifying, what kids get to be in it, figuring out the format, the course—it just needs to be sick! If it was me, I want to go out there and have it be a five-minute jam session, just see everyone out there shredding with gnarly stunts and good skateboarding going down. I feel like, like you said, some of the Street League courses have gotten really small; the format’s kind of weird sometimes. I just want to go out there and see people really shred and I think the crowd does too.

Back to Sinner, the last interview we did a few years ago, you said, “Yeah, I don’t want to be out there, 27, partying.” Sinner is an amazing skater and a really fun, cool, energetic dude. But some people might see you guys as an odd couple. How’d you connect with the Sinner and what’s he like one on one?
It’s such a funny story. I think I was 18, living at my first house on my own in Huntington and I had just won a Street League in LA. David Loy had already been my homie for a couple years and he was, like, “Is it cool if Sinner comes over and parties with us after?” And I was just, like, “Oh, Sinner, he’s so hectic. I don’t know, dude.” I was just like, “Aw, not that dude,” but he ended up coming over and he just ended up hanging around the crew. Not only myself but everyone around us just ended up loving his energy. He just has the best energy. Back in the day, I know he’s sober now, he’s been sober for a minute, but back when he was drinking and stuff, yeah sometimes he’d be super hectic. I’m sure people have heard stories, but bottom line is everybody makes mistakes but certain people you can tell deep down that they have a good heart and have good energy and positive vibes all the way.

So for your crew, what do you look for in the close friends? They need to bring the positive vibes. Do they have to skate?
Nah, they absolutely don’t have to skate. I have a bunch of homies, especially in LA, that don’t skate and we all just go out all the time and have a good time together. The perfect example would be Sinner. If he would have been at the spot today, holy shit, dude. Any time anything hectic is going down on a skateboard he is gonna be that dude who is getting so hyped. Not only just anything gnarly happening, too. Me and him will go skate a skatepark together and there will be some random kids and he’ll get them to start jumping down the stairs and challenging themselves. It’s people that want to inspire and push people and actually make good energy. But yeah, I feel like that’s a pretty common question for me: “What skaters do you hang out with?” Kids are, like, “Do you hang out with this guy or that guy?” I’m just, like, “I’m cool with all the skaters, they’re all sick, but I love my homies.” Edgar, Chase, Domo, my homie Justin who rides snowboards and dirtbikes and stuff, Sinner—I feel like any time you have that good vibes with your group of friends it’s always gonna make things better.

Nyjah photo7 750pxIf Street League had rails like this Nyjah would be untouchable. And Dakota Servold would snag silver     Photo: Rhino

I’ve heard you in the past refer to your girlfriends, plural. Do you have more than one girlfriend?
Nah, right now I have one girlfriend.

What’s her name?

Okay, cool. Yeah, for a while it was, like, “This kid has got six girlfriends and they all look the same!”
There was a time, yep. Yeah, that was funny.

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Do you see yourself as a traditional dude? Would you get married someday? Is that what you want?
I will get married someday. I don’t think at too old of an age either. I feel like it’s gonna keep growing. As I get older I’m gonna be, like, “Oh, I’m 26, 27, 28.” We’ll get married one day. We’ll get married and have kids, for sure. I’ll have a son and he’ll hopefully skateboard or do whatever he wants to and has fun doing. But yeah, with the girlfriend thing there was a funny time there where I would get that question a lot. Like, “Which girls do you hook up with?” or, “Are they all your girlfriends?” or whatever. And that was just me being young and first getting introduced to partying and drinking, just having a good time and stuff. But honestly, all that stuff gets old. You can only go out there and hook up with so many girls and party so much.

Nyjah photo5 750pxKink drop to late Smith     Photo: Atiba

So you were fighting with your neighbors and you had some other legal problems. Are you free of all your legal problems right now?
Not yet.

What happened?
Well, we’ll keep it simple with that. Let’s say that something happened at this random Hollywood Hills party. Some kid tried starting a fight with me for absolutely no reason and he ended up lying about the story, calling the cops, making a complete false call and now I’ve been dealing with this shit for over a year now. It’s crazy to see how messed up the whole justice system can be sometimes. Personally, I don’t know how to fight and I don’t want to know how to fight. I’m not the type of person to get in a fight. I’ve never been that way. But it’s crazy. It makes you think of how many gnarly situations have happened in the past with people who got accused of doing something that’s not their fault.

People can accuse you of anything and then it’s on you. It’s insane. Oh, one more girlfriend question: who’s the girl whose head you tried to nollie heelflip over?
That’s my current girlfriend.

She must be a very understanding girl.
Dude, I felt so bad. She was pissed, too. She was not hyped about that video at all. We had got home from some music festival and there’s a whole edit of me trying to skate around my house drunk. I don’t know why I though it was a good idea to try to do anything over her, let alone a nollie front heel and hit her head. But she’s okay; she’s good.

So people know that you’ve got some money and you’ve got a house and you do cool stuff. Do you have to be careful now? When you have parties and stuff, you can’t just do it like you did when you were a kid anymore, right?
No, definitely not.

What do you have to do? Do you have security guards and ID checks?
Yeah, definitely have to have security, ID checks, just making sure everything is regulated. Making sure there’s a list. Especially a guy list. A girl list is kind of hard to maintain sometimes, but yeah, you don’t want a bunch of randos there. It’s definitely been a journey for the past couple years getting used to having actual rules you have to follow and things you have to be careful of doing and getting caught with and whatnot.

Who are the Piles?
Oh my God. Best question. The Piles are mainly my LA group of friends that go out all the time. A couple of my friends are promoters at clubs so they literally just get paid to go to the club every night and bring a few chicks. It’s the easiest job ever. I’m pretty sure Sinner is the one who started that term, being a pile. And yeah, it’s just our group of friends that go out and have a good time. Basically, if you go out all the time and you’re hungover not doing shit with your life, you’re a pile. So anytime we’re at the club, you see Piles ’cause we’re all just doing whatever, you know, being idiots. It’s become a pretty funny thing.

Nyjah photo6 750pxNatty pyramid, unnaturally high nollie inwardo     Photo: Broach

Do you have the same musical taste as Sinner? He likes electronic dance music, right?
Yeah, he does.

Is that what you’re into, too? What is it? Rave? What is it even called?
Dude, there’s so many different ones. EDM is the main thing, then you got techno, dubstep, house, hard style. You got all these different types.

So does that mean that you loved the music in Ty’s last video, The Flat Earth?
No. That wasn’t my style. That wasn’t my style at all. I don’t even know what you’d call that, to be honest.

It’s Ty Evans only.
Nah, Sinner definitely got me into the whole DJ EDM kind of festival rave scene. I feel like there are so many people out there who are against it, like, “Ah, that stuff’s so wack.” But going to those festivals with all your friends and being in the crowd is the best. Going to those things we always have artist or VIP passes but we always make sure we get in the crowd with the people, find a few fans and we all rage together and it’s just the best time.

Nyjah photo14 750pxA stone’s throw from the crib, flash n roll, across and down     Photo: Rhino

So you mentioned maybe getting married, maybe having a son. Are you back in touch with your dad at all? Are you guys still estranged?
No, I haven’t talked to my dad in—I think it’s been at least three years now.

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Man. How hard is that?
It’s hard sometimes, but at the same time, I feel like I made the right decision on holding my ground and letting him know how I felt. Because there was a point there where he didn’t talk to me or any of my siblings for at least a year or two. Then he randomly reached out and that already pissed me off. Not only on my part, but more so on my sister’s part. ’Cause my sister’s the youngest one in the family and it’s, like, damn, she wants and needs that father figure. If anything at least be there for her, you know? She’s the youngest one. And then we saw each other two or three times around LA. I think the first time we saw each other after a couple years was at Stoner Park and we just talked and kicked it for a little bit. But there was just never that real feeling there of an apology or feeling that he chose wrong by choosing to control my skateboarding career over just being a father figure in my life. So I expressed to him one day. I was, like, “Hey, I think this isn’t right. You never gave me a good apology, I feel, and your intentions just aren’t really there.” After that it just kind of faded away and now we haven’t talked for years. But I feel like I definitely made the right decision. I picture myself being a dad one day and picture how I would be to my kids. No matter what kind of decision they made or if I had control of their career, I would still be there for them always, no matter what. You know, like, that’s your son. That’s your kids. You gotta be there for them.

Nyjah photo10 750pxHectic Olympics costumes? No thanks. Hectic backside Smiths through the kinks? Nyjah’s in     Photo: Strand

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Yeah, that’s really tough. I think people might see you sometimes and think, “Oh, he’s just super good; it’s easy for him.” But you’ve been through a lot of pretty wild stuff and then you’re responsible for all these people and it’s a pretty heavy thing that a lot of people couldn’t do. Do you feel like people don’t really understand you as a person? When you’re one of the best at what you do, people have certain assumptions. But when you actually dig in it’s very different.
No, it’s funny; I get stuff all the time. I think a lot of people out there just think of me as someone that’s naturally gifted at skateboarding and doesn’t have to work too hard for what he does and drives a Lambo and hangs out with chicks and all this stuff. But it obviously takes a lot of hard work getting to that point. Kids out today just don’t understand. A common situation that will happen is I’m at a contest and finals are about to start or they’ve already started and kids are, like, “Oh, can I get a picture? Can you sign this?” and it’s, like, “Bro, I’m skating right now. I’m sorry I can’t do that. I gotta concentrate.” Then I’ll get comments later, like, “Oh, Nyjah’s such a dick. He didn’t even sign my thing!” and I’m just, like, bro, I’m actually a pretty decently nice person but there are times where shit’s serious and you gotta handle stuff. And even at an autograph signing, sometimes you just did a long-ass demo, you’ve been signing autographs for hours, maybe I’m not in the best mood, maybe I’m tired and I’m not gonna act exactly like you want me to act but that doesn’t mean I’m a dick and that doesn’t mean I’m not a nice person. That means I’m just trying to do my job and get through my day. I love my fans out there. I love everyone that’s positive and I’m glad I got to express that ’cause that’s such a crazy thing. The kids out there, they just don’t get it.

Nyjah photo19 Sequence 750px 2xNollie heel out of crooked grinds, not over your girlfriend’s head. Through the knobs in San Clemente     Photo: Rhino

What’s that tattoo on your neck? What is that a picture of?
Right here on the front we’ve got a mandala. I’ve had this picture that I’d been picturing for a while of what I might have wanted one of my neck tattoos to look like and it actually came out pretty similar to what I was expecting. The right side, the triangle and eye was kind of random. I know so many people think it’s about the Illuminati, but I just like the artwork. Thomas Hooper did the work. I flew out to Texas to see him and I knew he was a really good artist so it was kind of a mixture of me telling him ideas that I like and then him kind of putting things together in his way. He’s a very experienced tattoo artist so I wanted to let him do his work. Yeah, the whole tattoo thing’s crazy. I know years ago I said, “Oh, I’m never gonna get tattoos,” then I got one: Skate and Destroy, the first tat at Tampa. Then it just kind of keeps going. It’s an addiction; that’s for sure.

Are you done on your face?
No face tattoos, dude. I’m good on that. I’m still working on my legs and stuff.

Do you have any where you’re, like, “Goddamn it, why did I get this penguin?” or something? Are there any regrets?
There’s a couple on my legs that are kind of fried but as far as my arms and my neck and stuff everything’s been pretty thought out. I’ve never gotten a drunk tattoo.

Has Sinner given you any?
I don’t think he has. I probably gave him one.

Nyjah photo15 750pxAfter Domo knocked out the 5-0, ‘Jah got his back with the gnar nollie 50     Photo: Rhino

You’ve had some really, really incredible years. Are you ever mad that you didn’t get Skater of the Year so far?
Absolutely not.

Is that another thing people assume?
Yeah, I’ve been asked that a few times. I think there was only one year where I even had a chance at getting it.

Maybe that year Ishod got it?
Yeah. I think it was probably the year of my Fade to Black part.

And that part, when I see it, it’s still just so heavy and so insane. I forget how gnarly it was. But you weren’t mad about it?
No, I wasn’t mad at all. I mean, every person that I’ve seen get Skater of the Year, I’ve thought they deserved it and also I’ve just thought they’ve been really cool skaters and people.

Nyjah photo11 750pxWhopper of a backside flip at Burger King     Photo: Atiba

What do you think about, in general, campaigning for Skater of the Year, where people try to set it up or the sponsors try to figure some scheme out. What do you think about strategic planning to try to get it?
I’ve heard so much stuff over the years. I don’t think it’s the right way to go about it, that’s for sure. I mean, Skater of they Year, that’s just such a traditional Thrasher thing. It should only come down to a couple of guys who deserve to get it and then whoever gets it is always pretty on point. I think it’s cool when you see people like AVE get SOTY, someone that’s a legend. I’m sure there’s plenty of kids out there that think, “Oh, this dude did gnarlier stuff; this dude skated bigger rails,” but it’s not always about that. It’s about seeing someone sick and seeing someone that’s worked hard and had a sick career and has been an inspiration for people.

Who out there do you feel is really bringing it, on the streets and in the contests? Who are you worried about contest-wise? Are you worried about Yuto?
Yuto worries me at times, yeah. I’ll admit that. He’s gnarly, dude. It’s crazy. He came out of nowhere. It’s insane. It trips me out. I’m hyped on Zion, for sure. Zion’s sick because he’s such an all-around skateboarder. I see him skate tranny and I’m just, like, “Whoa, dude, how did you have the time to learn to skate tranny like that?” He’s so good at street, too. And he’s so young. Some of these kids nowadays are so young. I think Yuto is only 19. Yeah, there’s new kids that pop up every year; it’s insane. It’s sick, though, ’cause I feel like seeing Dashawn win the Street League last year was tight. Seeing someone new come out there. That’s what it’s all about: giving kids the chance to turn pro, start their career and make some money off skateboarding.

Is there any skater that we might be surprised to hear you’re a big fan of?
Yeah, for sure. People know Chris Cole has always been one of my favorites. James Hardy! Those couple parts he put out and his style, he’s just so beast. He’s just such a big dude and he’s such a beast. It’s tight. Someone else I feel like I never got to say, and I don’t want people to think I’m saying this just ‘cause of what happened, but Shane Cross. Even before everything that happened, which was really sad, RIP, but even before that I was super stoked on his style.

So this video, people may not realize, is for your Nike shoe, right?

What does that mean to you, to get a Nike shoe?
It means a lot to me because of how few people have had shoes with Nike: P-Rod, Koston, Stefan—it’s definitely an honor. But I would say more than that, more than the honor of having a shoe, I think it’s just been a privilege being able to actually design a shoe and really put all of my input into making a shoe that I’m super stoked on and that kids will hopefully be stoked on, too. From what I’ve seen, all the feedback about it so far, people are hyped on the way it looks. I just hope people like it.

Yeah, that thing does not look like a Half Cab.

Nyjah photo16 750pxSwitch lip The Bull? Nobody saw that coming     Photo: Strand

What are those weird shirts you wear that dip down in the back? What are those things? What’s your gear inspired by? ’Cause you definitely do your own thing like with the short shorts. Are you more inspired by athletic gear? Is this from the raves? I don’t know what this is. I’m old.
I’m gonna say that whole shirt steez definitely started in the LA type of street-fashion-wear type scene. And yeah, there have been some funny videos that I’ve seen posted. I’ve seen so many comments; I’m always dying laughing at those, dude. I’m just the type of person that likes short shorts. I could care less what you guys say about that. I really don’t care. I’m comfortable skating in shorts. If it’s hot out I love skating in shorts. That’s just my shit. I’m always trying to have my own style, have a different style, no matter what people have to say out there.

Nyjah photo17 Sequence 750pxWhen you’ve grinded all the kinkers before the age of 16, you’d better either flip in or flip out. Next-level crooks attack in Nor Cal     Sequence: Strand

So I heard that you reward yourself after you get a big trick. What’s your reward for these two tricks?
I’m chilling tonight then I’m going on a trip to Tahoe tomorrow. I told myself that if I didn’t get the tricks then I wasn’t gonna go, so I got them.

Would you hold yourself to that?
Yeah, I think I would.

Nyjah photo13 750pxGoin’ big in 2018!     Photo: Broach

That’s gnarly. Someone’s, like, “How does Nyjah have all those girls?” and I was, like, “He’s always doing fun shit!” You’ve got a lot of fun hobbies.
Yeah, we’re going on a trip for New Year’s and I’m sure it will be fun. I think that’s literally one of the key things to my career and being successful is that balance between partying and having a good time and going out there and still going for shit and still doing good in contests and whatnot. Ever since I was a little kid, I was always good at doing my homework—similar thing. How I got good at skateboarding in the first place is I did the same tricks every single day, the same lines I did for years and then after that I’d be, like, “Okay, I can learn a new trick.” That’s how I got good at skateboarding. It’s just that same mindset. It’s just staying disciplined and it’s helped out a lot.

I know you’ve loaned them to us for King of the Road a few times, but where are your dreads now?
Dude, there’s only a couple more left after that. There’s three or four more. They’re still at my house, though. They’re in my closet. Still got ’em.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten? Are there any words to live by that really struck home with you that you could share with somebody?
I’m sure people have told me this before, but as for my own thoughts: as long as you never lose that love for skateboarding then you’re on the right path. I not gonna name anyone specific, but I can think of people that I’ve seen turn pro and just kind of lose that drive to go out there and do gnarly stuff. I’m just looking at them and I’m, like, “Dude, you’re so talented. You have so much potential. Why don’t you go out there and get it?” I feel like some kids out there are just, like, “Oh, I turned pro. I made it. I can live like this and be stoked.” But as long as you’re always stoked to go out there and get buck and get better at skateboarding in whatever type of way that is, then I think you’re gonna be alright.

Nyjah quote8 750px
Where does your drive come from?
My drive is from within myself. I just want to make the most out of my life. I feel like people think I’m such a materialistic person but I’m really not. I like having my house that I live in and I’m very grateful for it. I love cars. That’s something I’ll always love. Owning a Lambo—I’m actually selling it right now—but owning one was definitely super fun and sick. That’s something I’ll always love. But aside from that I’m not someone who needs to go out and spend a bunch of money and buy a bunch of jewelry and stuff like that. I’m a pretty simple person. My drive, like I said before, is satisfaction—going out today and getting gnarly tricks and being stoked on myself.

Nyjah Cover 750pxNyjah Huston is one of a kind… and one of the gnarliest street skaters ever. Fakie 50-50 down 18 big ones     Photo: Burnett

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