Before turning 21, Nyjah Huston had already changed the course of skateboarding -- at 11, he became the youngest skater to ever compete in The X Games and has since racked up back- to-back Street League championships, won numerous ESPYs, and appeared as a fashion icon in GQ and Rolling Stone. But it's his Let It Flow charity, which seeks to repair wells and supply clean water wherever it's needed in the world (they've recently gone to countries like the Philippines, Haiti, Kenya, India and Chad), that may be his most enduring accomplishment.
My mom came up with the idea for Let It Flow from our experience living in Puerto Rico. For a couple of years, we lived on this farm that was 30 minutes from the city. We were pretty far away from everything, and the water would go out every now and again.When the water was out, my brother and I would go down with these big jugs for carrying water.What people don't realize is that water's really heavy.We lived near this little stream that was probably about 300 yards away from the house, and having to carry that little amount is not easy. It's gnarly to think people all over the world have to do that every day, and carry it for miles and miles. It really makes you appreciate how easy we have it on the daily and makes you want to reach out and help make other people's lives easier.
Let It Flow has a repair team that travels out to the locations; if it were just me, I'm sure I couldn't hack it.We've built so many wells in the past few years, but the majority of the project is repairing the wells.We've done over 50 repairs now and each one provides clean water for a couple thousand people. Eighty percent of clean water wells throughout the world were not working, and it's because of simple stuff breaking and the people not having the right parts or tools to fix it.
On our first actual trip, we went out to Ethiopia. I was there,Tony Hawk came out, my mom did too, other friends came along as well.We were able to see firsthand the process of fixing the wells and we fixed 15 of them. You have to go down and basically lift up the whole well to figure out which pipe broke, so you can fix it and put it back together. The first one was a four-hour process. But seeing the clean water come out and seeing the houses nearby have their first clean water in a long time was really cool. It made me appreciate everything we've done and made me so much more stoked on our future.
I'd love to go back to Ethiopia.We brought California Skateparks to build their first ramp out there. We took a bunch of skateboards as well, and the kids were so stoked. I'm sure they're still rippin' it right now.
I want to be a great role model for all the kids out there who are gonna be in my position in 10 years, I want them to do things like Let It Flow that will be great for the world. I still look up to all the guys I skate against in competitions; they're awesome inspirations, and I still want to be shredding in 10 years. Tony Hawk has always done so much charity work and I think that's awesome. I'm so grateful that I'm starting to do it at a young age and that my mom has led me in the right direction. She's always taught me to be mindful about caring for other people out there in the world.
Stylist: Jenny Ricker (@jennyricker)
Groomer: David Stanwell (@davestanwell) at Solo Artists (@soloartists)