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The Ganja Grind: Nyjah Huston Is Pro Skateboarding's Ultimate Movie Villain
culture  |  Jan 30, 2019

The Ganja Grind: Nyjah Huston Is Pro Skateboarding's Ultimate Movie Villain

The world’s most quantifiably successful pro skater is leaning in to life as a bad guy, and it's threatening to overshadow his skills on the board.

The world’s most quantifiably successful pro skater is leaning in to life as a bad guy, and it's threatening to overshadow his skills on the board.

Lead image via

Cannabis and skateboarding are like peanut-butter and jelly; they’re both great on their own, but even better together. In our column The Ganja Grind, we’ll take you into the fold of what to look out for in the world of skateboarding. From interviews with our favorite pros and compilations of social media hijinks, to video reviews and sneaker releases, this series will get your week rolling.

Last week, professional skateboarder Nyjah Huston posted a video of himself to Instagram. Dressed in all black and riding a blacked-out motocross bike down a busy Southern California road, Huston speeds down the handicap ramp of a streetside office building, crosses blindly through an intersection, and catches air off another handicap ramp — this time into traffic. There’s an SUV (all black, of course) filming the entire escapade as it speeds alongside him, catching every engine groan as Nyjah wheelies his way out of the frame.

Honestly, the video is pretty damn cool.

View this post on Instagram

Lil send😈

A post shared by Nyjah Huston (@nyjah) on

More than just visualize how needlessly reckless the world’s most quantifiably-successful street skater is, the bike video proved to me once and for all that Nyjah Huston is a real-life movie villain — complete with stadiums full of booing fans, outlandishly offensive interview answers, house party fist-fights, a cemented-on cocky smirk, and even unmitigated corporate greed. I still can’t figure out if he’s doing it on purpose or not, but the contest-crushing rail savant that skaters everywhere love to hate is leaning into his bad guy status, and he’s leaning in hard.

Supported by long-term sponsorship deals with Nike, Monster Energy Drink, Element Skateboards, and more worth millions of dollars, Nyjah is skateboarding’s 1%. Nyjah has 2.8 million Instagram followers. He’s arguably the biggest skater to break into mainstream markets since Ryan Sheckler was on MTV looking for a chill girl. But Nyjah isn’t ready to settle down. Nyjah is ready for mayhem.

1548887018601_nyjahhustonthree.jpg

These days, it’s not too uncommon to see four-wheelers and dirt bikes on urban streets, especially in cities like Philly, Baltimore, New York, and Miami, where rappers like Meek Mill have turned vertical wheelies into cultural capital and popularized the #bikelife movement.

Nyjah’s urban motocross exploits were different. Nyjah wasn’t riding with a pack of friends, cruising the city, enjoying the weather. No, Nyjah was wearing a helmet — with a visor. Nyjah was riding like he was chasing someone, or like he was being chased. The more I watched the video — and I watched it many times — the more it reminded me of one person in particular: Johnny Tran.

The Tran cousins, Johnny and Lance, are the fictional villains in the very first Fast and the Furious movie. Like Nyjah, the Tran cousins are moto bike enthusiasts who do not feel bound by traffic laws. In the film’s penultimate action sequence, the cousins end up in a speeding gunfight with Paul Walker’s Brian Spilner and Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto; Johnny and Lance on bikes, and the heroes in fast cars. Give Nyjah an uzi, and his handicap ramp hangtime video looks like a deleted scene.

zachharris

Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.

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