Nyjah Huston secured his third consecutive Street League victory of the 2013 season in Kansas City Sunday, besting seasoned rivals Chris Cole and Paul Rodriguez and dark-horse finalist Dylan Rieder.
Both Cole and Rodriguez made Huston fight for it, but the fight never felt entirely fair.
Rodriguez's impressive performance, though ultimately insufficient to triumph, included a stylish switch tailslide to switch 270 out, a switch kickflip backside tailslide and a nollie flip to crooked grind on the long, low hubba.
Cole, who handily-earned second place, put on one of the best shows for the crowd sitting in a curvilinear glass bowl/flying saucer-like sports arena where the SLS competition was held. He powered through breathtaking tricks such as a frontside bluntslide backside 180 kickflip out (earning a 9.1) and a gap to noseblunt on the double-set kinked rail.
The often-indifferent Rieder made it to the finals for the first time in his SLS career. Though he could not deliver the merciless, technically-exacting onslaught of Huston, Cole or Rodriguez, his mannered maneuvers put him in a class by himself. A gap to backside smith earned him his first 9 from the rigorous SLS judges.
Despite all this, Huston took it in the end. In the final "impact section" -- where Huston typically shines -- he earned back-to-back scores of 9, first with a gap to kickflip frontside boardslide down the double-set kinked rail and then with a kickflip backside lipslide on the same obstacle. Victory already assured, he executed a gap to backside nose blunt for his final trick, earning a 9.8 -- the highest single score of the contest.
In an odd turn of events, hometown favorite Sean Malto's front truck dislodged from his board just as he was beginning his first "flow section" run. The judges, to the crowd's dismay, did not give him a "redo."
ARM TATTOOS ARE A WINDOW TO THE SOUL
Even by his astonishingly consistent standards Huston's skating in this contest was nearly flawless. Word coming into the Kansas City stop was that the new lower-impact course designed by California Skateparks was meant to thwart Huston's edge. Instead, it had the opposite effect.
Huston's average score for the entire contest was 9-plus -- a score his fellow SLS skaters are happy to receive only occasionally. His second run in the "flow section" featured a kickflip frontside blunt to fakie. In the "control" section he missed a nollie heelflip to frontside noseslide, only to regain his footing on his second attempt.
But you can't say Huston didn't warn you.
During one course-side interview he flashed a new tattoo.
"Ambition," it reads.
At this point, writing another Huston victory story gives a journalist some keen insight into a central dilemma faced by the skaters trying to compete against the contest Leviathan. It's almost ... deflating. What words can we use that won't come off sounding like a cliché?
He is a "golden boy," "terminator," "Tiger Woods," "Michael Jordan," "unstoppable force," a "phenom."
What can we do when faced with our own limitations that are brought so sharply to the fore with every Huston win? Do we just give up? Or do we just shake our heads and admit that when it comes to Huston there's really nothing left to be said.
In the realm of the data-driven, information-age skate contests, he is simply the best.
Street League Skateboarding ~ Kansas City Final