Arisa Trew, 13, lands first 720 by a female skateboarder to spotlight Women’s Vert
Salt Lake City, UT (June 27, 2023) — Skateboarding has been progressing rapidly in recent years, thanks to improved infrastructure, increased financial support and a growing pool of talented athletes.
Nowhere is that more true than on the women’s side, where these factors have been particularly important in moving the sport forward. And we saw that in action at this past weekend’s Tony Hawk’s Vert Alert, a vert skateboarding contest now in its third year in Salt Lake City, Utah.
In the women’s final, 13-year-old Aussie Arisa Trew became the first female skateboarder to land a 720 (two full rotations). Not only that—it was the first time she had ever landed the trick, period.
Vert skateboarding legend Bucky Lasek called it “the best thing I saw all weekend.” Given that the event included a 540 by the Birdman himself, Hawk, who suffered a broken femur in 2022, that’s high praise indeed. But such was the magnitude of Trew’s accomplishment.
Hawk landed the first-ever 720 in skateboarding in 1985 and famously landed the first 900 in 1999 at X Games V.
Spin-trick milestones have continued at a rapid rate in recent years; American Mitchie Brusco landed the first 1260 on a mega ramp (which is about 82 feet tall, compared to Hawk’s 13.5-foot-tall ramp, which typically resides in his warehouse and which he breaks down and ships to Salt Lake City for Vert Alert). And in 2021, then 12-year-old Brazilian skateboarder Gui Khury landed the first-ever 1080 on a vert ramp at X Games vert best trick—competing against Hawk, who came out of retirement for the contest.
With her first-place finish, Trew earned not only a sizable share of the event’s combined $75,000 purse but also an automatic bid to the finals of X Games’ women’s skateboard vert contest, to be held July 22 in Ventura, California.
Joining Trew in X Games qualification are second-place finisher Asahi Kaihara of Japan and third-place finisher Reese Nelson of Canada, who are 16 and 10, respectively.
On the Vert Alert men’s side, France’s Edouard Damestoy finished in first place, Japan’s Moto Shibata finished second and the United States’ Jimmy Wilkins finished third.
Shibata also took best trick among the men with an alley-oop kickflip McTwist that drew roars from the crowd, while Nelson earned that title among the women with her kickflip to noseslide fakie (landing with the board’s tail forward instead of the nose).
You might wonder why Trew’s historic 720 didn’t automatically earn best trick honors. Even though it was a huge milestone among female skateboarders, judges tend to award technicality and difficulty over spins alone.
When Trew and the other women compete in the women’s vert contest at X Games next month, they’ll be part of another significant moment, as it’s the first time X Games has held the women’s event since 2010. It’s a major boon to the women’s side of the sport, which has already experienced a surge in growth since skateboarding was added to the Olympics, a decision that was approved in 2016 for the Tokyo 2020 Games.
At Paris 2024, skateboarding will return to the program, but only for street and park disciplines. With the emergence of Vert Alert and the return of women’s vert to X Games, however, it’s possible that discipline could earn entry into the Olympic program in the future, perhaps in Los Angeles in 2028.
“The way that we are heading right now, we’re going to make so much noise with our Vert Alert that they [Olympic organizers] can’t ignore it,” Hawk told me in April.
He couldn’t have even known Trew was going to earn headlines around the world for her historic 720.