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Salad Days Magazine | June 24, 2019

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Nyjah Huston takes Gold in Skateboard Street

Nyjah Huston takes Gold in Skateboard Street
Salad Days

Teammate Trey Wood takes his 1st Gold in Skateboard Big Air at X Games Shanghai 2019.

Shangai, China – June 2019 – The last day of the inaugural X Games Shanghai ended with a bang, as Monster Energy riders clinched the top spots with back-to-back gold in both skateboarding events. In Skateboard Street, Nyjah Huston took the win on his third and final run to claim what is already his tenth X Games gold in the discipline. And in Skateboard Big Air, 18-year-old rookie Trey Wood pulled a face melter on the Mega Ramp to earn his first-ever X Games gold in a surprise victory.

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Spectators showed up in large numbers to experience the unique mixture of action sports, music and youth culture at the festival village inside the Shanghai International Tourism and Resorts Zone. Both skate events were at max attendance and the high-energy crowd celebrated every run with genuine excitement. The level of competition was intense in Men’s Skateboard Street, as the final ten skaters worked the concrete street course with three runs each. The course design favored speed and flow. Lined by banks, quarterpipes and flat rails on the perimeter, it featured an octagonal centerpiece stage with large stair sets, handrails, and a huge kicker stylized as a Chinese Dragon for big stunts.

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Huston came in as the defending gold medalist, but suffered a harsh setback right on his first run. A heavy slam on a large rail trick left the champ visibly limping. As the rest of the field started stacking scores, Huston came close but did not get that perfect run he wanted on his second attempt. With Japan’s Yuto Horigome and Arizona’s Dashawn Jordan taking the top spots, it all came down to Huston’s third and final run of the contest.

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If this type of back-to-the-wall situation sounds familiar, it’s because Huston thrives in these high-pressure scenarios. His career is full of come-from-behind victories like his last second win at the 2015 SLS Pro Open in Barcelona. Digging deep into his technical bag of tricks, the 24-year-old from Laguna Beach proceeded to send a perfect run featuring a kickflip front boardslide across the centerpiece flatbar, backside overcrook the rainbow rail, kickflip backside lipslide the Euro gap rail, 360 kickflip into the bank, ollie blunt kickflip the quarterpipe, Caballerial frontside board fakie the big rail, big spin over the kicker gap, a highly technical frontside nollie heelflip nosebluntslide the big rail, and improvised big flip over the bump sealed the deal with 94.00 points and the gold medal, his tenth X Games gold.

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“It’s cool to win the tenth medal in this way,” said Huston. Not to say that the last ones were easy, but I did win on the first or second run. The feeling of winning on that last run, especially with me being the last skater is a feeling like no other. Definitely a win to remember, I’m stoked!”

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Next up, the crowds headed over to the 73-feet high Mega Ramp for the weekend’s final event: Skateboard Big Air. Starting from a 59-feet roll-in, the world’s elite Big Air skaters sent their best aerials over the kicker gap in the structure’s middle – optionally clearing a 50-feet or 63-feet gap – before finishing their runs with massive aerials on the 27-feet quarterpipe.

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This was the time for Monster Energy’s Wood to shine with the biggest surprise reveal of the entire contest. While he is mostly known for his Skateboard Park terrain talent these days, Wood had been putting in some Mega Ramp training sessions and came to Shanghai with a surprise move up his sleeve.

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On his very first run in the finals, Wood unveiled a massive backside body varial 720 over the big gap – a trick never seen before in competition – right into an 18-feet high varial Mc Twist on the huge quarterpipe for a 90.33-point score. Stunning the rest of the field, Wood’s original trick combination held as the day’s top score until the very end.

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“I had my mind set on landing my run first try and I’m super stoked I was able to do that. I’ve ridden in X Games since I was eleven years old and winning my first gold medal is a crazy experience. My mother is also here today and winning gold with her watching is the greatest feeling ever,” said Wood upon winning Skateboard Big Air gold today, adding: “This year I want to keep it rolling, get some more medals and have fun skateboarding. That’s what it’s about!”

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