Nyjah's skills on a skateboard were evident when he was very young.
When Nyjah was 8 years old, he was less than 4 feet tall and skated best on the smallest Element Featherlight Twigs boards I’d designed for young skaters.
Nyjah’s father, Adeyemi, had ridden my boards when he was young and was aware that I knew a thing or two about a skateboard design. He explained to me that when Nyjah rode other boards visiting pros gave him, he did not skate as well. I told him that it was because they were full sized, and the Twigs were scaled not only in size and mold design but thickness to make them lightweight and high performance with the proper flex and pop for modern skateboarding by smaller, younger skaters.
I paid attention to Nyjah's height in person at events and then communicated thru Adeyemi and Ryan Dewitt (then Element team manager) to keep Nyjah on the right sized production board as he grew in height.
Young skaters want to grow up and be like the older skaters. They feel if they ride a full-sized board they are more grown up, yet this hampers their rate of progression as the skills they would use to progress are instead used to battle a board that’s disproportionate to their body size. In the photo above, notice Nyjah’s height and scale in relation to his board. The scale looks like a tall skater holding their board, despite his small size at the time. When a board is too long, a young skater has a hard time reaching the nose of the board to level out his Ollie or to skate switch off the nose. After all, you are conditioned by what you ride. Skateboarding is all about adaption. Save that adaption energy and time for the spot and tricks not your equipment.
Nyjah grew up with function and consistency being the guiding principle. He took slow methodical steps as his body grew in size. He slowly grew from a 12” Wheelbase to 12 1/2”; then 13”; and then 13 1/2”.
When the wheelbase that corresponds to the rider's height progression is easier.
The consumer usually thinks about the width and shape of a board but not the wheelbase. As a consumer, it's very hard to stay on track when you’re distracted by the excitement of pros, brands or graphics that usually guild the consumer’s purchasing decision.
In 2007 Nyjah spoke up and asked for a wider board, so I made a new shape template for him. By 2008 he had grown into 14” wheelbase in the full size Featherlight mold. In 2011 he moved up to a 14 1/4” wheelbase and has ridden that ever since.
He is now 5’ 9” and this path of consistency has given him a platform to fine tune his skills.
In 2016 Nyjah, wanted to refine the mold design of his board. He wanted the nose to hit the ground sooner and for the concave depth across the width to be a bit mellower so he could slide and adjust his flip foot easier. I modified a board for him to see if his perception and my math synced up. The changes worked, just like Nyjah envisioned. We then designed and produced a custom mold from there—just for him.
Unfortunately, the mold designed for the winningest skateboarder in history was never marketed or offered to the public by his board sponsor. It's an example how sometimes business perspectives get in the way of product progression and offering the consumer what the professionals ride.
Nyjah's first Disorder meeting with Paul Schmitt, December 2020
Nyjah personally skates that NY01 mold at 8 1/8” wide with a 7” nose and a 6 3/8” tail for a compact length of 31 3/4”.
Disorder boards have been designed and built with the same wheelbase and NY01 mold, to achieve the perfect balance between power and finesse when you push on the tail or nose.
Nyjah's personal bold nose shape is also made by Disorder in an 8” width.
The 8 1/4” & 8 1/2” Disorder shapes have a 1/8” longer nose and tail on them for more of an industry standard 32” length with traditional rounder nose shape.
If you chose to ride the 8’ or 8.1” Disorder boards with Thunder Lows and 52mm wheels you will have the same exact leverage and substance as Nyjah's personal setup. If you ride other trucks or wheels, you will still have the closeness of the same board.
I have spent my life building and refining the skateboard we know today and have been honored to produce the boards that Nyjah has ridden over the past 18 years.
- Professor Schmitt