Ryan DeCenzo and The Victory Tour
"I've been skating against [Nyjah Huston] for a long time and he's always been at the top," Decenzo says. "I'm one of the older guys in the field now and he's still a young gun with a lot of fire, so it felt great to finally take him down."
Decenzo, 30, says the victory tour he's been on since Austin 2016 has been even sweeter. In October, he and snowmobile athlete (and Minnesota local) Levi Lavallee greeted the crowd of a Monday Night Football game in Minneapolis (and sat in the owner's suite) before a team of BMX athletes performed in a halftime show.
In May, Decenzo turned ESPN's Bristol headquarters into the ultimate street course. But maybe Ryan's favorite moment had nothing to do with skating. A lifelong hockey fan (he's Canadian, it's mandatory), Decenzo suited up and tended goal while ESPN hockey analyst Barry Melrose fired shots at him.
"That was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me, getting to hang out with Barry and rap about hockey and having the security guards on my side for once while skating the insane campus they have there," Decenzo says. "You get that gold medal around your neck and you realize: It's good to be the king."
- Five X Games medals: Austin 2016 Men's SKB Street gold; 2010 bronze. 2 Game of SK8 gold (2011, 2012). 2011 Real Street silver.
- At 29, he became the second-oldest X Games SKB Street winner (Chris Cole, 31 at Munich 2013).
- His gold at X Games Austin 2016 was a tough slog through intermittent rain delays that made the course slick and unpredictable. "It wasn't ideal, but real street skaters know it never is. You do the best with what you've got. It probably helped that I'd skated a lot of rainy day sessions as a teen coming up in Vancouver."
- And Decenzo is the real deal in the streets; he'd love to see bigger features on the X Games courses. His 2016 New Year's Eve kickflip on a huge San Francisco 18-stair double set as part of Thrasher's "My War" series is a must see.
- Also, don't miss Decenzo's Darkstar Skateboards video part, released in April 2017.
- His X Games strategy: "Go big or go home. Whatever's the biggest, most technical trick I can do on the biggest obstacle on course is what I'm going to try. You can't play it safe at X Games or you'll end up way down the list for sure."
- As much as he'd love to beat Huston again, he's hardly over-confident. "I know that dude's going to come back with a vengeance." Huston has won 7 of the past 8 XG Street comps he's attended and has medaled in his past 11 XG Street starts.
- On bullying: "I definitely got messed with as a youngster, and I definitely messed with some other kids in ways that I feel bad about now. When you get older, you realize how wack bullying is, from both sides of it."
- Nyjah isn't the only street skater who loves to ride moto. Decenzo gets on the motocross track once in a while.
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