The Ones: Nicole Hause
The pro skateboarder talks growing up in a perpetually snowed-in city.
Words: Nic Dobija-Nootens
Photos: @HumphriesPhoto & @Cel.Jarvis
“The Ones” celebrates a new generation of defiant, talented individuals. This edition highlights athletes repping the new Nike SB x Air Jordan I collaboration. Click here for more stories.
Nicole Hause has never let anything stop her from doing what she loves. Growing up in Minnesota, where harsh weather and mainstream sports are the norm, Nicole didn’t exactly have an ideal environment for pursuing skateboarding. Before she discovered skate, Nicole actually had hoop dreams. However, the call of the quarter pipe grew too great.
So great, in fact, that Nicole’s father built her an indoor ramp. And as her indoor home skatepark expanded, so did her skills. Before finishing high school, Nicole was already skating in major bowl and vert competitions, despite being one of the only skaters in her neighborhood. Today she’s among the top-ranking women skateboarders in the world.
Now that she’s based in Southern California, Nicole has the freedom to skate in warm weather whenever she wants. She’s usually in the company of pro skaters, who she once dreamt of riding with. Nicole’s patience and perseverance finally paid off.
Growing up in Minnesota, how did you stay motivated to skate?
I just focused on getting up and getting out there. My dad builds homes and owns his own construction company, so he built me a ramp inside an outbuilding. It was only 100 feet from my house, but even getting through the -15°F weather to the other side was challenging. Sometimes, the heat didn’t work. The hardest part is getting up from the fireplace and going out there, but once I did, I’d get stuck out there for hours.
As a kid, you played basketball and skated. Which came first?
At first, I wanted to be a pro basketball player. I played basketball until I was a freshman in high school, and I had to choose between my first big contest and playing basketball. I chose skateboarding.
We actually lived in about five different houses during my childhood, and every time we’d move, my dad would build an outbuilding with a half-sized basketball court in each one. Then, when he built me the ramp, he was like, “Well, we’re still gonna have a basketball hoop.” So there’d be a basketball hoop in the middle of the ramp.
“I had to choose between my first big contest and playing basketball. I chose skateboarding.”
Did you first get into Jordans through basketball?
Yeah, they were my first real pair of basketball shoes. I stopped playing basketball from fourth grade to eighth grade. I was just like, “Jordan is the man. These are the shoes I want.”
What do you think about Jordan Brand paying homage to the Air Jordan I’s skate history?
I love it. This is the best thing that’s ever happened. I’ve been wearing a lot of Jordan stuff recently, even just like Jordan socks. I also just love the Jumpman logo. It’s sick. I’m repping it, and I’m all about it.
Where do skateboarding and basketball connect for you?
In basketball, your style can be aggressive, or you can be a playmaker. I think skateboarding is similar. You can be aggressive in the way you do huge ollies. Or, you can be a playmaker when you’re more technical, like doing ledge tricks and flip-in, flip-out stuff.
When you’re getting ready to compete, what kind of mindset do you put yourself in?
I try to focus more. If I get too amped, that’s when my skating isn’t what it should be. I’ll do things two times higher than I should or land in a really sketchy way, because I’m popping out way too far. I like listening to rap music. It pumps you up, but it makes you focus, too, because the lyrics are like a story.
I remember my first contest when I was 15. First of all, I had never imagined being at a skateboarding competition on the beach. There were thousands of people watching me on the bleachers. I felt like I was an animal in a zoo. So now I try to not even look at them. I just do my own thing.
Pursuing any passion requires a certain amount of defiance. How do you defy people’s expectations in skateboarding?
I get a lot of air when I skate. I’m pushing and trying to progress my own self. There are obviously positives and negatives to that. If you fall from five feet, it hurts way more than if you fall from a foot.
Do you feel a responsibility to reach out to young girls and offer encouragement?
I always try to talk to them. There are so many girls at the park nowadays, which is awesome. I’ll see them doing a new trick they learned, and I’ll high five them. I hope that I can leave women’s skateboarding in a better place than it was for me, when I started.
The Nike SB x Air Jordan I Skate is available starting May 25 from SNKRS and select retailers.