Nyjah Huston sweeps 2014 Street League
Nyjah Huston completed his clean sweep of every event on the 2014 SLS Nike SB World Tour on Sunday with a down-to-the-wire win at the 2014 Super Crown World Championship at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, beating out Torey Pudwill and Ishod Wair -- Thrasher Magazine's reigning Skater of the Year -- for the top spot.
"This whole year has just been pretty on point for me," Huston said after the win, a massive understatement in a year that has included wins at every major contest he has entered, from Tampa Pro in March and X Games Austin in June to all four SLS World Tour events. "I think it was just a mixture of a lot of hard work in practice and a lot of lucky situations," he said. He was more exuberant later, posting to social media: "This year has been unreal. Couldn't be any more stoked. The win tonight was one of the best moments of my life!"
Huston was the odds-on-favorite heading into the Super Crown, but the night was still full of surprises. Shane O'Neill, another favorite and this season's highest scorer with a 9.8 at the SLS event in Chicago, was bumped out of the competition after finishing last in the Flow section, the first of three portions of the contest. Perpetual crowd favorite Luan Oliveira led after the Flow section, then bumped all the way to last and was eliminated after falling on all four attempts in the the Impact section.
It was Huston's turn to shine in the Impact section, posting the first of many scores in the 9-plus range for the night with a Cab backside noseblunt to fakie, earning a 9.0 and taking the overall lead.
SLS rookie Matt Berger earned a 9.0 of his own, his first entry in the SLS 9 Club, with a tailslide to fakie in the first of six attempts in the final Control section, which is judged on each skater's top four tricks. Wair answered with a 9.1 for a huge frontside kickflip in his second attempt, and Huston posted another 9.0 for a backside flip over a closeout rail feature on the course, followed by a 9.1 for a nollie backside noseblunt slide on the same rail. Pudwill scored a 9.0 with a kickflip backside lipslide to tailslide combo in his fifth attempt, while Huston fell on a Cab flip attempt, leaving the podium spots open for the taking.
Pudwill briefly took the lead after a backside 5-0 grind on the closeout rail, while Wair blew his chance to win after a sketchy kickflip crooked grind that didn't go the way he'd planned left him with a 2.8 on his final attempt. Chaz Ortiz found his way into the 9 Club with a 9.0 for a crooked grind to nollie heelflip out, but it was too little too late after falling on three previous attempts. Huston dropped last and only needed a 5.5 to take the win, but went all out anyway, landing the Cab flip and making history as the first skater to sweep a Street League season.
"The final trick, I was so nervous, nervous as can be," Huston admitted afterward, before addressing some haters in the crowd who had been rooting for Wair, the local favorite, and fanning out on Wair and Pudwill himself. "Shoutout to all the boo-ers over there, you guys are killing it. But it was a really great contest. Torey and Ishod killed it, gave me such a good run for my money, and those guys are some of my favorite skaters so I'm just psyched to be out here with them."
The respect from his peers, if not from the crowd, was mutual.
"This is a win for me," Pudwill said, holding his second-place trophy aloft. "I'm so psyched. Nyjah deserves the win ... I'm just very happy to be sitting here with all these boys, being able to skate with all my homies in this contest."
SLS founder Rob Dyrdek was effusive in his praise as he presented the 2014 SLS Super Crown World Championship trophy to Huston.
"This guy has won every single contest this entire year: it's never happened in the history of skateboarding, Tampa Pro to everything, and the very first time to win all the Street Leagues," Dyrdek said. "And the way to do it is when you have to do it when it matters most on your absolute final trick. He asked me, he said, "Should I try an easy trick?" I said, 'Naw, I don't want to give you advice because if you mess up you can blame me.' And he went for the Cab flip into that bank to prove that, 'Look, I can do the hardest tricks when it matters most.' Someone who's very deserving to call themselves a Street League champion, the one and only Nyjah Huston."