EVENT: Monster Energy’s Nyjah Huston Takes 1st Place at the SLS Nike SB Pro Open Barcelona
Never-before-seen moves, 9 Clubs, two new pros on the tour, and a come-from-behind victory – the first-ever international SLS Nike SB Pro Open in Barcelona had it all. The energetic crowd at the sold-out Skate Agora BDN plaza watched Street League history unfold as Monster Energy’s Nyjah Huston prevailed against the world’s best skateboarders, winning $25,000 for first place and a Golden Ticket entry into the SLS Nike SB Super Crown Championship.
A weekend of top-notch skateboarding from an international field of competitors – including riders from Japan, South Africa, Australia, and the U.S. – boiled down to a showdown between Huston and Paul “P-Rod” Rodriguez in the last attempts of the Finals session on the freshly built outdoor skate plaza by Badalona's breath-taking beachfront.
Rodriguez looked like a sure winner after landing an extremely difficult crooked grind to nollie heelflip on the stairset rail for the highest-score of the weekend at 9.5 points. Having missed two out of five Best Trick attempts, Huston found himself with his back against the wall and only one way to win: A 9 Club score, which he posted by finessing a backside 270 kickflip to lipslide down the stairset rail for 9.3 points, claiming victory on his fifth and final attempt of the contest.
“I always tend to put myself in the most challenging situations when it comes to winning Street League finals. This was one of the gnarliest, most nerve racking situations I've ever been in, and was especially tough since it came down to last try after I missed a few times. I’m really stoked it worked out in the end – great way to start off the season, said Huston upon winning the contest, adding: “It’s a little more challenging to skate outdoors compared to stadiums, but Barcelona is just an awesome place to have a contest.”
Huston came into the Finals on strong footing, landing a perfect 8.5 point Flow Section run including nollie frontside nosegrind over the volcano ledge, backside 270 ollie to lipslide and bigspin frontside boardslide fakie on the stair rail, and kickflip frontside boardslide on the bump-to-bump rail. But after opening Best Trick with a never-before-seen backside nollie to fakie nosegrind revert on the stairset rail, Huston fell twice on a nollie cab to frontside boardslide, while Rodriguez rose to the top with switch backside Smith grind down the rail and switch frontside bluntslide on the hubba.
No stranger to performing under pressure, Huston sealed the deal with a 9 Club when it counted, earning him a Golden Ticket straight to the 2015 SLS Nike SB Super Crown World Championship in Chicago, IL, on October 4th. He also currently sits on top of the 2015 SLS World Tour Points leader board with 190 points, stepping into the new season after a 2014 World Championship win as the man to beat on the SLS tour.
Also skating strong all weekend, Monster’s Chris Cole emerged from the Semi Finals in 1st place, building a 33.5 point score with switch frontside 360 heelflip over the bump-to-bump, ollie over to bluntslide down the hubba, and a freshly unveiled backside 180 to backward nosegrind 360 out on the planter ledge. Although coming up short in the Finals, Cole made it clear that he’s back with new tricks up his sleeve – and Plan B as a new board sponsor – as a force to be reckoned with during the 2015 season.
Further highlights of the Semi Finals – composed of six heats narrowing down the field of riders to eight finalists – included Monster’s Shane O’Neill topping a flawless Flow Section run with his signature switch double 360 flip down the stairs for a 9.4 point score.
His teammate, rookie pro Matt Berger, looked like a sure finalist after posting a 30.2 point score with signature technical mastery on tricks like sugarcane grind down the rail and backside 180 to fakie 5-0 in Heat 3. But heated competition, with the cut-off for the finals above 31.2 points saw Berger, who qualified for Street League at last year’s Pro Open in Los Angeles, bumped to 9th place at the end of the Semi Finals.
Following Berger’s example from last year, two new pros earned their way into Street League this weekend: Evan Smith from Florida, who flowed into 3rd place overall with creative moves like an alley-oop backside 360 air over the quarter pipe gap, and Cody McEntire from Texas will be joining the Street League Skateboarding Nike SB World Tour for the entire 2015 season. This brings the number of newly added SLS pros to four, after Brazilian rippers Felipe Gustavo and Kelvin Hoefler came in through the new official SLS North American Qualifier, Tampa Pro presented by Monster Energy.
As the sun set over Barcelona, the pros already had their sights on the first arena stop of the season at the Galen Center in Los Angeles on July 11.
Meanwhile, the legacy of Street League Skateboarding will remain alive and well in Spain, as the California Skateparks-designed Skate Agora BDN plaza remains a permanent, free-to-use facility for the thriving Barcelona skateboarding community. The SLS-certified skate plaza not only adds yet another attraction to the Spanish skateboarding mecca, but also provides a platform for hosting future events and additional league programs.
Nyjah Huston 34.2
Paul Rodriguez 33.8
Evan Smith 32.4
Chaz Ortiz 32.3
Tom Asta 31.7
Manny Santiago 31.6
Shane O’Neill 30.5
Chris Cole 28.1
Stay tuned and follow the live broadcasts on streetleague.com. Thanks for following Monster Energy during the 2015 Street League Skateboarding season!
Next stops on the 2015 Street League Skateboarding Nike SB World Tour:
- July 11 SLS Nike SB World Tour: Stop One | Galen Center at USC | Los Angeles, CA
- August 23 SLS Nike SB World Tour: Stop Two | Prudential Center | Newark, NJ
- October 4 SLS Nike SB Super Crown World Championship | UIC Pavilion | Chicago, IL