Watching any video part or highlight clip is always a bit misleading because you generally don't see how many attempts/hospital visits went into landing a trick. Filmer Eric Lesar has set out to tell a bit of the truth behind the more impressive tricks he's filmed. In his maiden episode of Trials and Tribulations he shows us a clip he filmed with Nyjah Huston at the infamous Carlsbad gap.
"I got the call one day randomly that Nyjah was on his way to the Gap to try a trick and didn't have a filmer. My heart didn't skip a beat. I was out the door, at the spot, and set up. Within 10 minutes he was there and with no warm up starts hucking the nollie halfcab heel down the beast. Was only a matter of tries before stick after stick after stick turned into the make."
The second stop of the 2012 Street League produced a familiar storyline with Nyjah Huston earning another victory and $150,000 to his bank account.
Huston's win at the Citizens Business Bank arena in Ontario, California gave him his seventh victory out of the nine total Street league events. Huston's silky smooth style and level of consistency is the formula for success but whether it's a good thing for Street League fans is another question.
The instant scoring system the series utilizes to separate itself from other skate contests thrives off competition and rivalries. And currently Street League competitions utterly lack rivalries as Huston continues to dominate. It could be argued that Chaz Ortiz and Sean Malto are his biggest challengers, but they lack the ability to win contests. Rivalries are critical to building a sport's popularity. Take a look at the NBA with Magic and Bird or the MLB with the Yankees and Red Sox.
Both Ortiz and Malto have managed to motivate Huston, forcing him to elevate his skating. Malto has the other two Street League wins including last year's championship in New Jersey, but has failed to challenge Huston on a consistent basis.
Although the sport lacks a true rivalry, the level of skateboarding is at an all-time high, which is evident in Nyjah's Best Trick-winning Caballerial Kick Flip Backside Lipslide.
Stop three of Street League moves to Glendale, Arizona July 14-15.
Based on Nyjah Huston's technique when he threw out the first pitch at Dodger Stadium, May 25, it's safe to say he won't be trading his skateboard for a baseball glove anytime soon.
Fresh off a win at the first Street League contest of the season, Huston is taking advantage of some key perks as one of the greatest skateboarders on the planet, just as fellow action sports icon Kelly Slater did when he threw out the first pitch at Dodger Stadium.
While most parents were directing their kids toward mainstream sports like baseball and basketball, Nyjah was busy skateboarding. So throwing the first pitch was harder than the impossible technical tricks he's known for. Huston tweeted before the game "I have to throw the pitch at a Dodgers game in an hour, very nervous!"
The 2012 Street League season kicked off in Kansas City this past weekend as it did last year-- with skateboard technician Nyjah Huston taking home $150,000. Huston's ability to land difficult and technical tricks consistently makes him almost unbeatable in the current Street League format.
"It was a hard one tonight, that's for sure!" said Nyjah. "I definitely had to work for it. I love the challenge, though, and to skate with these guys is great."
Street League rookie Bastien Salabanzi provided some much needed excitement on the big section, giving Huston a run for his money. But in the end Salabanzi was unable to land the tricks when it counted most.
Now in its third season, Street League's instant scoring allowed for the possibility of pressure-packed moments, but very few times did the skateboarders deliver. Big names like Sean Malto, Ryan Sheckler, Chris Cole, and Paul Rodriguez had their opportunities but were unable to land tricks with consistency.
Improvements to the format, broadcast, and scoring of Street League raised the spectator experience of skateboarding to an all-time high. However, Street league was created with the hope of appealing to more than just skateboard fans. It was designed to reach a household audience including some who have never set foot on a skateboard. Does this competitive format, which is modeled after team sports appeal to the mainstream? Most likely not.
Unfortunately, there's no way to appreciate and understand just how impressive the level of skateboarding is unless you actually skate. Even high quality cameras in slow motion don't convey the level of difficulty.
In the meantime, skateboarders can appreciate Street League for what it is-- amazing skateboarding from today's best street skaters. Nyjah Huston also took home the Monster Energy Best Trick Award worth $15,000 for his Big Spin Frontside Hurricane Grind.
1. Nyjah Huston 51.5
2. Bastien Salabanzi 47.8
3. Chaz Ortiz 44.2
4. Paul Rodriguez 42.5
5. Chris Cole 39.8
6. Ryan Sheckler 29.7
7. Sean Malto 14.6
Photo: Aaron Smith from Skateboarder Magazine
Rob Dyrdek's Street League, the premiere skateboarding tour, is back for a third season, with new dates, locations, qualifying system and an increased prize purse.
"Our goal is to continue to refine the series and make it better year after year," Dyrdek recently stated.
For better or worse, Street League has emerged as the professional tour for skateboarding, with live national telecasts and a competition format modeled after traditional sports.
But can it be considered a legitimate professional tour when the best skateboarder of the season doesn't win the championship?
In 2011, Nyjah Huston was unbeatable-- dominating the first three contests. But it was Sean Malto who earned the title as Street League champion when he won the winner-take-all championship at the fourth and final event in New Jersey.
If this format were used for professional surfing, for instance, Kieren Perrow would've won in 2011 for his victory at the Pipe Masters-- surfing's final and most prestigious event-- instead of Kelly Slater. Same goes for the 2012 Supercross season. It would be James Stewart and not Ryan Villopoto winning the title, since Stewart won Daytona, the biggest event on the tour.
In some ways, Street League's championship is comparable to the playoff system in many mainstream sports where the regular season serves as a qualifier and the championship event as the playoffs. With a playoff system, the most dominant team doesn't always win. Instead, it's the team that gets hot at the right time.
It's arguable which format produces a true champion. But for now, this is what skateboarding has going, and it appears to working for them.