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Janwaar Castle is a learning camp with a skatepark at its core. It's a social experiment and the goal is to transform the village of Janwaar into a wealthier and more prosperous place.

A visit to India

Posted by on Nov 27, 2016 in Beyond Janwar Castle, Blog, Talks/Interviews | No Comments

The news of Nyjah Huston visiting Janwaar Castle went viral among the skateboarding community in India. For it isn’t everyday that a five-time Street League Skateboarding and six-time X-Games champion comes visiting.

When Nyjah rolled out on the park for the first time, it’s probably the only time the kids took a backseat. There were the ‘oohs and aahs’, the rest sat agape. Nyjah and his buddies – Dominick, Kiade and Justin – set the skatepark ablaze with their skills. Our champions had their first taste of the big league.

Nyjah cruising Janwaar Castle
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Nyjah cruising Janwaar Castle

After a delightful lunch, Nyjah sat down with us (Shail D. and Ulrike) for a quick chat to reflect on his maiden visit to India.

WHAT HAD YOU HEARD ABOUT JANWAAR?
Before coming here, I heard really good things about it. I heard that the kids love skateboarding and have their little skatepark. I watched the video that Ulrike sent me and thought it was really cool. As soon as I heard I would be coming, I was really stoked!

WHAT DID YOU MAKE OF THE KIDS AND THEIR ABILITY?
I think it’s awesome what these kids are doing. That’s one of the best parts about skateboarding all around the world – even in places like Janwaar where there is not much to do, skateboarding is possible. All you need is a skateboard and simple gear and you can go and have fun with it. I think it’s great.

We’ve done other trips in places like Ethiopia where there’s a similar situation and all the kids just have so much fun doing it – they love it so much!

These kids skate without shoes which I think is a good thing in a way because it makes them really tough. When they do start skating with shoes, they’re just going to be that much better. But I think as they gain in experience, it will help if they start wearing shoes.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE SET UP AT JANWAAR CASTLE
I would say it’s how much passion the kids have for skateboarding. They skate all day, everyday! They love it so much and that’s the important thing. If you have that much love for it and have a decent place to skate everyday, you’re going to progress and get better at it. So I think now it is important for them to keep learning, keep practicing new stuff and eventually build more skateparks so that they can improve.

HOW IS THE SKATEPARK DESIGN AT JANWAAR CASTLE?
I think the park at Janwaar is definitely a good start. Skateboarding here is pretty new so you don’t really need 15 stair rails in the skatepark. But I think small rails, small ledges, maybe three to five stairs, banks, mini ramps, quarter pipes – just simple stuff will make a big difference.

WHAT DOES SKATEBOARDING MEAN TO YOU?
I started skating when I was five – I’ve loved it ever since. It’s all I ever wanted to do. I never felt like playing another sport. I would say that the main thing that keeps me going is that there is always new stuff to learn, always different things to skate. And it’s always a challenge, especially when you’ve really got good people around you and friends who skate well.

DO YOU CONSIDER SKATEBOARDING TO BE A SPORT?
I consider it to be a sport – more of an action sport, but yes, a sport. A lot of people don’t want to admit it. But it’s going to grow no matter what, so it might as well happen now. Some people are bummed about skateboarding being a part of the Olympics, but I think it will only create more opportunities for kids around the world and to make a living off it.

HOW WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE IN INDIA?
I think it’s great. Arriving in Delhi was just as I had expected – really hectic, a lot of people. It’s much different from back home. But I think it’s cool to travel to new places and meet different people. The people here are very nice and it’s great. I really like it!

WHAT IS THE FUNNIEST THING YOU SAW IN INDIA?
I think the driving here is crazy here. Everyone gets so close to each other, no lanes on the road – it’s a free for all!

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