Nineteen-year-old Niki Rodger is one of the best up and coming skaters in Santa Cruz. At, 6’2”, he’s one tall dude, so it can be a little anxiety-inducing watching him boost six-feet off the hip at Derby. Taller skateboarders are more likely to fall, and have farther to fall, meaning a higher chance of severe injury.

Skateboarder Nikki Rodger catching air at Mike Fox Skate Park in Santa Cruz, CA

Transition Terrorist
Photo @myallsnaps

However, Rodger’s relationship with gravity is so smooth and relaxed it is baffling–he looks like a Zen master deep in meditation as he soars through the air—an utterly unique approach to everything sketch.

While primarily a transition skater, Rodger can mix it up with some techy street skating and feels the two complement each other.

“I’ve definitely tried to incorporate street skating into it all. All my friends were skating street and I was skating transition, so I had to learn a little bit and bring it back to the parks”.

Skateboarder Nikki Rodger catching air at Derby Park in Santa Cruz

BOINK!!! Hippidy Hip Hop
Photo @myallsnaps

Rodger counts himself lucky to live in a town with so many sick skate parks. If he could combine any two parks here in Santa Cruz, it would be Mike Fox and Derby.

“I love flowing around the big bowl at Mike Fox and just cruising through the snake run at Derby, two of the best feelings out there! Plus, at both parks you can have a fired-up sesh or just a mellow day cruising around”, says the reserved and respectful teen.

Skateboarder Nikki Rodger and his girlfriend, Grace, riding a chair lift at the ski resort

Rodger loves snowboarding during the Winter. He also loves his girl, Grace

I really enjoy snowboarding and love going up to Tahoe and getting a good powder day at Squaw!”

A versatile and focused skater like Rodger has a giant bag of tricks but is always pushing himself to learn something new.

“I’ve got a couple things I want to stick but one that I really want and have been trying the longest is a full cab-back disaster in the deep-end at Mike Fox Park. So much goes into learning a new trick; I get humbled all the time!”

“I also like to travel and camp; it’s really cool to get out and see different areas off the grid—just that feeling of being detached from society”

Follow Niki on Instagram @nikirodger