Street League Kansas City Gallery
Nyjah Huston won his second Street League event of the 2011 season, on the heels of a victory at the last event in Seattle, Wash. This weekend's contest in Kansas City, Mo., remained suspenseful until the final trick in a battle between Huston, Chris Cole, who placed second, and Chaz Ortiz, who placed third.
Cole went first and missed a backside 360 kickflip down the big three block gap. At that point, Cole was still ahead of the pack in points but the hungry under-18 duo of Ortiz and Huston weren't far behind.
Huston gambled and won on a massive nollie inward heelflip off the bump over the hubba ledge to flat. "I could have done a couple of easier tricks but I had landed [the nollie inward heelflip] twice in a row in practice and I didn't want to risk not winning," Huston said. "I didn't want to land something and think I won then have Chaz make something to take me out."
After Huston's impressive trick, all the pressure was on Ortiz. He rolled up to the bump and tried a nollie backside 360 but missed. As soon as Ortiz hit the ground without his board under foot, an enormous roar from the crowd cheered for Huston.
The day's events began with the "Make Your Own Luck" last chance qualifier. Each skater competing for the remaining 10th slot in the finals was given five tries to do their best trick anywhere in the park. Ryan Sheckler stomped a huge fakie cab kickflip off the bump and over the hubba ledge, earning a 9.4 for the big move. Though other skaters tried their hardest, no one stuck a trick that topped Sheckler's and he advanced to the finals.
Street League's format in the technical section of the contest changed slightly since the Seattle stop in May. In that section, skaters were able to use each of their seven tries to attempt their best trick. The two skaters with the lowest scores at the end of the section attempts were eliminated. Torey Pudwill stuck a standout nollie kickflip backside lipslide down the handrail for a score of 9.1. Huston followed Pudwill and stuck a nollie heelflip backside lipslide down the same rail. It was an impressive trick but not enough to inch out Pudwill in points. When the pressure was on, Huston nailed a kickflip backside tailslide bigspin down the handrail earning him a score of 9.4 and putting him into the top spot.
The line section went back to the established Street League format and it shook the leader board up yet again. The crowd was pulling for hometown hero Sean Malto, who took third in the qualifiers. Notable in the section was Chris Cole's 5-0 up the rail to kickflip out followed by a kickflip frontside boardslide over the rock gap.
The final section had the fans out of their seats with excitement. Sean Malto was in contention for the win until he fell on a nollie frontside noseblunt down the big hubba ledge.
In the final moments of the contest, Huston secured his $150,000 prize. Huston has now won $300,000 in first place prize money this season and is already a major contender for the Street League Championships in Newark, N.J., in August. The next stop for Street League will be Glendale, Ariz., on July 16 and 17.