Nyjah Huston is having half a year that’s difficult to fathom. He was brought back aboard the Element team, has released footage & photos that’s been nothing short of mind-blowing, cut off a lifetime worth of hair growth and has already racked up almost half a million dollars in Street League contest winnings.
And yep, he’s only 16 years old.
CCS caught up with Nyjah just a few days before he nabbed his 3rd First Place finish at this past weekends Street League Arizona stop. Read on and get to know the kid who is slowing down for nobody.
What are you up to, Nyjah? Just chillin’ in SoCal right now.
Cool. How old are you these days? I’m 16.
Wow. I feel like you’ve been in the spotlight for so long, people forget how young you still are. How does feel having the majority of your youth documented for the world to see in the skate media? It feels really good. Being 16 and being able to accomplish some pretty cool things already is a pretty cool feeling. It makes me feel good when somebody thinks that I’m 18 or 19 already. I’m like, “Nope, I’m still 16.” It’s definitely a great feeling just to know that I have so many more years to come. I’m really thankful for that.
You’ve entered a ton of contests through the years and most recently been killing the Street League stops. Do you ever get burnt out on contests? No, I don’t at all. I think contests are always fun. I’ve always been a pretty competitive person and it’s always just being out there and skating with all the homies at once, who all just happen to be the best skaters. I always think it’s fun, especially when it comes to a Street League where you’re skating indoors on the most perfect course and you can just pretty much learn tricks while you’re out there.
I have trouble skating in front of more than 10 people. How do you mentally prepare yourself to skate in front of thousands of people and cameras that will be broadcasting your skating to the world? Honestly, I definitely get nervous but I’ve never really thought about the people who are watching me. I just focus on concentration, just being out there and skating the best that I can. Just the people and all the cameras and stuff, all that gets blocked out of your mind, which is definitely a good thing. I just try and stay focused, skate and have fun out there.
There’s always been that notion of carbing up on pasta the night before a big day of physical activity. Is there any certain food you eat before a big contest? No, it probably would be good to do that. My dad used to have me do that a little bit, but nah, I don’t really do that anymore. I don’t think those little things have that much to do with skating, especially Street League. It doesn’t take that much endurance because you’re just going. Seven tries in each section. Like one try every five minutes. So it’s pretty chill, I just think it all has to do with preparing yourself before. Just practicing those tricks that you know you’re going to do and feel confident that you’re going to land them.
You skate some gnarly, gnarly, big-ass rails. Is there a cut-off point in your mind that you aren’t willing to go beyond. Like, ‘Ok, 29 steps; I’m not going beyond that.’ No, I mean…I’m always down to skate big sh*t. If there was a 30 or 35 stair I’d skate it as long as it’s the perfect rail. As long as it’s the right kind of rail…not too high, not too low, not too steep, not too mellow. Good ground, good roll-up, good landing. All that stuff, if it’s just the perfect spot than I’m always down to skate it, for sure.
You recently cut off your dreads. How long were you growing them for? Pretty much my whole life. Ever since I was a kid I didn’t cut them, and then last year I trimmed them a little bit. But this was the very first time that I actually cut my hair.
What prompted the decision? It was just time. Time for change. I had them for pretty much long enough and I just wanted a new feel and a new look. I just pretty much thought it was time to switch it up a little bit, you know.
Does if feel different skating without them? Yeah, it doesn’t help or hurt the way I skate at all, but it’s a little more comfortable without having them fly in your face and sh*t.
So now that the smoke has cleared surrounding you being back on Element, how have things really changed for you? I’d say things have changed a lot. I feel like my career is a lot more steady. Having a solid board sponsor like Element is really important I think. I’ve gotten to film with the Element guys a lot, ever since I got back on earlier in the year, and I pretty much have enough footage for my part which should be coming out in September. So things are going really smooth now. And as far as the contests (Street League), those couldn’t have gone better. I’m just gonna keep filming, keep skating and get my bangers for my part.
Who do you skate with on a daily basis? Do you have a steady crew that you roll with? I normally just skate with a few homies from Huntington. When I’m in NorCal, where I still live, I don’t normally skate too much there. I normally just go to that Essex Skatepark whenever I can to get some practice in. But I normally just skate with my homies. Sometimes I’ll go skate with pros and stuff but I normally just keep it on a homie basis.
You’re one of the most consistent skateboarders in existence today. Are there any tricks that give you a hard time? Yeah, there definitely is. Frontside Flips. I hate Frontside Flips. I can’t do them, I don’t know why. And also…in my earlier video parts Heelflips used to be my trick. Now I literally can’t do them. And when I do they look so bad. I think I just started doing too many Kickflips and didn’t do Heelflips for a while and I just sort of lost them. I’d say Frontside Flips and Heelflips are the main two tricks that I just can’t do at all.
What are some of your favorite tricks to do? A Tre Flip is always my favorite trick, pretty much just because it feels so good doing it on flatground or whatever. Especially if you do it on a step-up or something and catch it with that front foot. It just feels so good. But right now I’m really into Nollie Inward Heels, I’m trying to get my Switch Tre’s down really good…Kickflip Front Crooks is such a fun trick…Switch Back Tails are really fun.
I’ve talked to plenty of pros that never even pick up a skate mag or watch a video. They could care less. Do you follow skateboarding through magazines or videos or online stuff at all? Yeah, if there’s a magazine lying around I’ll definitely pick it up. But I when I was younger, I used to have to look at every single magazine and every single video and pretty much know every trick that’s been done at every spot. But as you get older, I think that fades away a bit. Nowadays I don’t feel like I need to watch every video or see every mag. But I’ll still pick up a magazine if it’s around. The interest is always gong to be there.
Coming off these last two Street League wins you’ve come up on a decent chunk of money. I heard you just got a Mercedes? Yeah, that’s really the only thing I’ve ever spent my money on is my Benz. I love it, it’s so sick. I’m looking into putting some money into a house and do things wisely before I buy any more cars because I’m really into cars.
What’s the next car you have your eye on? Well first I need to get an SUV so I can carry more people in it because my car only has two seats in the back. But my main goal right now is to buy myself a Bentley for my 18th birthday.
Sick. So is there anything you’re real particular about with your set-up? Yeah. My set up right now is a size 8 inch Element board, Mob Grip. Silver Trucks…I ride really tight trucks. Gotta have tight trucks. Ever since I was a little kid I had to have tight trucks. I don’t know why. I feel like if I have loose trucks I can’t get that solid pop when I’m flipping into a rail or something. I ride size 50mm wheels, Ricta’s. I ride the Chrome Core’s and they’re super good. FKD Bearings. Wheels and Bearings have to be broken in. I think new wheels and bearings are so hard to ride when they’re new. Every time before a contest, I have to set up my trucks and wheels like two weeks or a month before so I make sure I break them in right. I also ride Diamond Hardware.
Any board superstitions? Everything’s pretty normal, except I always put my Hardware on the same way. I take two pairs of P. Rod’s Diamond Hardware and I mix it into all red and white. I like a mix of red and white hardware with a red bolt on top. That’s the only thing I have to do.
What can you say about Element boards? They’re super good. Kids out there, or anybody who likes to ride an 8, choose the shape 14. It’s so good. That’s all I ride and it’s such a bomb shape. It doesn’t have too much concave; it’s definitely the best board I’ve ever ridden, that’s for sure. And Element boards are hard to break. I’ve skated a couple spots shooting sequences and my board would flex so much that it would actually scrape the ground. It would be frozen in the sequence so you can see it. It’s like, “Wow, how did my board not break.” Element boards are definitely the sh*t.
Skate Photos by Brian Gaberman.
Portrait Photo by Marc Falkenstien.
Get Nyjah’s newest pro decks and more from Element here at CCS.