Nyjah Imani Huston (born November 30, 1994) is an American professional skateboarder and was the overall champion at competition series in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2017, and 2019. He is also the highest paid skateboarder in the world. As of May 19, 2013, Huston has won more prize money than any other skateboarder in history.
Huston was born in Davis, California. He has three brothers and one sister. The children were raised in a strict Rastafarian lifestyle by their father Adeyemi Huston. They were vegans and schooled at home by their mother Kelle Huston. Huston's father was a skateboarder and made his sons start skating when Nyjah was only 5 years old. His father was very controlling and wanted Nyjah to skate every day. In 2004 his parents purchased an indoor skate park in Woodland where Huston spent his entire time practicing. In 2006 his father abruptly decided to move to Puerto Rico with his family. During this time the distance between Puerto Rico and California caused problems with Huston's board sponsor Element Skateboards as Nyjah was not able to take part in demos. While in Puerto Rico his parents separated and his mother moved back to California with Nyjah's siblings while he had to stay with his father, Adeyemi, as he was his manager and video filmer at that time. Nyjah Huston did not see his mother for one year before Kelle Huston took her husband to court to get divorced. The judge gave her full custody so Nyjah moved back to live with his mother and siblings.
Huston first garnered attention when he signed a sponsorship deal with Element Skateboards and joined their team. During his debut era with the company, Huston appeared in numerous Element video productions, such as both volumes of the Elementality series, and competed in high-profile contests, such as the Dew tour and the Vans Downtown Showdown. However, Huston eventually launched his own skateboard deck company, I&I, in 2009 after he parted ways with Element in 2008; Huston was an amateur skateboarder at the time of his departure.
I&I was a short-lived company and operated for approximately two years with a team that consisted of Huston, Richard Jefferson, and Anthony Williams. During the period of the company's existence, a number of magazine advertisements were published and an online promotional video that featured the three team members was released. The primary aesthetic influence of the brand was Rastafari and the I&I logo incorporated the pan-African colors of red, yellow, and green.
Following the closure of I&I, Huston returned to Element and released a solo video production entitled Rise & Shine in 2011—the video was available for purchase on the iTunes website and later received the "Best Video Part" award from the Transworld Skateboarding magazine. During this stage of Huston's career, the skateboarder also joined the DC Shoes company as a team rider, following a significant period of time without a shoe sponsor—an unusual occurrence for a professional skateboarder with the degree of exposure that Huston had attracted. In response to the DC Shoes announcement, Huston explained that "I think it was all a buildup of things over the past year. DC has always been my top choice for a shoe sponsor but I think it took this past year for them to see what I've accomplished and how I did in the contests and my video part and all that for it to finally come through."
Following Huston's decision to skateboard for DC Shoes, other DC team riders expressed their perspectives in online promotional material produced by the shoe company. Long-term DC team rider Josh Kalis stated in the introductory video for Huston (also featuring Mike Mo Capaldi), "And then there's this other dude out there, literally buying shoes from a skate shop. He could get shoes from anybody that he wanted, but he was buying DCs." Capaldi expressed his opinion on Huston in the same video, stating his belief that Huston is "probably the best skateboarder I've ever seen—he does everything in, like, two tries."
After Huston's gold medal victory at the 2013 X Games Street League contest in Barcelona, Spain in mid-May, Transworld SKATEboarding magazine announced that no other skateboarder has won a greater amount of prize money. On the final night of May 2013, the DC Shoes Co. held a launch event for the first signature model skate shoe of Huston's career at the Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles, California, U.S., with Pete Rock in the role of DJ. The model is named the "Nyjah Huston Signature Shoe" and the promotional advertisement features Huston executing a trick at set of stairs at Hollywood High School in Los Angeles, U.S.
An announcement on June 25, 2013, revealed that, due to a rib injury, Huston was unable to compete in the Street League contest at the Munich X Games in late June 2013. Huston's mother Kelle Huston reported that her son "bruised and scraped the right side of his torso" in a skateboarding accident, but an article from the Street League website stated that Huston would be fit to compete in the next contest round in July 2013 in Portland, Oregon. Also in 2013, Huston made a statement to Thrasher Magazine in which he questioned the appropriateness of female skateboarders. He later apologized for his remarks.
He has won 41 skateboarding events and competitions.
As of January 2021, Huston is sponsored by Nike SB, Diamond Supply Co., Ricta Wheels, Monster Energy, Social CBD, Doritos, Mob Grip, Mountain Dew, flatbread Neapolitan pizzeria, and Adapt Technology. As of January 2021, Nyjah Huston stated via social media that he is no longer with Element Skateboards.
Huston won the inaugural "Kentucky Unbridled Spirit Award for Action Sports" in 2006.
At Transworld SKATEboarding magazine's 2012 awards event, Huston's performance was given the headline "Nyjah Huston Cleans Up at Annual Transworld Skate Awards" by the Yahoo! Sports website. Huston won three awards at the event: "Best Video Part" (for Huston's Rise & Shine video release), "New Era Readers' Choice" (the only award chosen solely by the readers of the magazine and Transworld website), and "Best Street".
Huston was nominated several times for Thrasher Magazine’s prestigious "Skater Of The Year" (SOTY) award but as of 2020 never won this award.
In July 2020 Nyjah Huston worked alongside Play'n GO to develop his own branded game Nyjah Huston Skate for Gold. It is one of the first skateboarding themed games to be released within the iGaming industry.
Let It Flow
Together with his mother Kelle Huston, Huston founded the charity organization "Let It Flow" in 2008 with the aim of providing clean, safe, and accessible water to communities in need. Following their personal experiences in Puerto Rico, the pair started by selling reusable water bottles at a local farmers market and, as of December 2012, the organization builds clean-water wells, fixes wells that are inoperable, and builds sanitation stations for people in urgent need of clean water. Let It Flow built its first sanitation station in Ethiopia.
Following his return to Element, Huston revealed that his father's controlling behavior had led to estrangement, further explaining that his father refused to return video footage of Huston's skateboarding following the separation. He no longer adheres to a strict Rastafarian lifestyle, cut off his dreadlocks and has identified hip hop as his favorite musical style to listen to.