Na-Kel Smith may be one of the most-talked about street skaters in the sport, and it has just as much to do with his skills on the board as it does with his skills off the board. It’s not because he lacks any particular ability, although he’ll humbly admit becoming Pro is still a surprise to him; it’s because he possesses so much talent in so many other mediums of creative expression. On top of riding for powerhouse brands like adidas, Supreme, Fucking Awesome and Spitfire, the 24-year-old also owns his own brand, Hardies Hardware, alongside fellow skater Tyshawn Jones, in addition to rapping and painting. His most ambitious pivot will come next month when he makes his acting debut in Jonah Hill’s coming-of-age film, Mid90s.
“The fact that I do so much other shit, I feel like I got to prove it,” Na-Kel tells us while rummaging through his California apartment, “not to anyone else but to myself.” A few weeks ago, back in August, we followed the young virtuoso around for a weekend, from skating the local LA streets with his teammates, to playing a concert in San Diego. “[I'm] trying to see if anything in the world is really as possible as they say, and to be honest, if you have a good work ethic and your open-minded, it seems pretty true so far.”