Meet the young girls putting their own spin on Tony Hawk’s 900 at the X Games

Tony Hawk’s 900 isn’t a trick for the faint of heart. It features a full two-and-a-half rotation, and if you don’t have enough speed going into it and your spin is too slow, landing it is nearly impossible, especially given the fact that you’re blind to your landing zone not once, but twice during the trick. Spinning that much requires equal parts courage and skill.

Women’s skateboarding is flush with exciting young superstars who are chock-full of raw talent and fearlessness.

Tony Hawk landed the first 900 in a major competition back at the 1999 X Games. Now, a bastion of young female riders is landing his tricks and revolutionizing the sport at what feels like lightspeed. Now, 11-year-old Canadian skater Reese Nelson and 14-year-old Australian Arisa Trew are just two of these riders.

Arisa Trew is an inspiration to all

Trew became the first female rider to land the elusive 900 on May 30, 2024, while training at Woodward. Earlier in May, Trew had become the first female rider to land a switch McTwist (a 540 variation).

It’s not Trew’s first time making history; she became the first female rider to land the 720 in competition at Tony Hawk’s Vert Alert in 2023. Shortly thereafter, Trew won women’s skateboard vert gold and park gold at the X Games California, becoming the youngest X Games double gold medalist of all time, at just 13. A 720 is two full rotations and was championed by Tony Hawk first in 1985.

Trew’s well-used to putting her mark on history, and it’s her confidence and composure that’s helped her do that time and time again. When it comes to approaching a new trick, Arisa’s response was simple; “I just think to myself that if I want to do it, then I can do it,” she said.

And clearly, Arisa can do it. Her skating style is full of spinning and switch tricks, so it’s clear she felt right at home learning the 900. To finally land it, Arisa first practiced the motion and technique on a ramp with a soft surface (in case of falls). After four days of this, Arisa was ready to try it on the vert ramp, and after just 17 attempts, she nailed it.

“I think it’s pretty hard for people to learn, because people, can be scared of trying it on a ramp, because you don’t know how you’re going to fall on like your first attempts, and it’s a lot of spinning. So you’ve got to make sure you commit to the whole thing, so you don’t hurt yourself,” Arisa explained.

Trew’s efforts were recognized at the 2024 Laureus World Sports Awards, where she was named Action Sportsperson of the Year.

Now that she’s stomped out a few 900s, Arisa wants to be able to land it more consistently. At the Ventura X Games, she’ll have plenty of opportunities to showcase her skill on the vert ramp.

“Skating in the X Games is really fun. It’s one of my favorite competitions. Because e there’s a lot of people there and it’s really fun and it’s in a good location. And the park there was really fun last year and the vert is also really good. So I liked to skate there,” Arisa said.

Reese Nelson paves the way for other young girls

Think about where you were at nine years old. Reese Nelson was named to Canada Skateboard’s 2022 National Team in the park division. A veritable prodigy in the sport, Nelson began skateboarding at just four years old. At age 10, Nelson became the first female rider to do a nose grab 720.

Now eleven, Nelson is inventing tricks (ie, the ‘breakfast burger’) and skating with Tony Hawk on the semi-regular. At Hawk’s 2023 Vert Alert Nelson took first place for ‘best trick’ with a kickflip noseslide to fakie.

Few things will inspire children to take up a new skill or hobby than watching one of their peers do it; if it looks fun, they want in, and in that strain, Nelson has made quite the impact on introducing skateboarding to other young girls.

These riders’ impact is felt far beyond the park. According to the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Go Out and Play: Youth Sports in America report, girls are two times more likely than boys to drop out of sports by age 14. Sports are an incredible avenue towards higher self-confidence, creativity, community, and more. Participation in a sport like skateboarding, which has always been a hallmark of innovation and inclusion, allows girls freedom of self-expression.

Skateboarding might still have a perception of being male-dominated, but Nelson and Trew are changing that assumption one history-making trick at a time.

Tony Hawk’s Perspective

Tony Hawk has had an insider’s point of view on both Trew and Nelson’s careers thus far. While the nature of skateboarding is fluid and ever-innovative, each rider has their unique style; a calling card, if you will.

Hawk described Trew’s style as “confident and progressive” and Nelson’s as “intense, creative, and powerful beyond her years.”.

Hawk sees a bit of himself in both Trew and Nelson.

“I was always driven to learn new tricks, no matter how far I was pushing myself or what ranking I had. They both have the same passion I had to keep progressing, and the same tenacity to not give up. It’s a unique determination that comes from within and can’t be taught,” Hawk said.

Skateboarding, as Hawk pointed out, is “no longer a novelty or niche activity. Skateboarding is part of the fabric of our society”. And while the sport continues to grow in its visibility and international acclaim, so too does the presence and opportunities available to female riders.

These young female riders are already having an indelible impact on the growth of the sport for other women and girls. Their continued excellence only increases the support and infrastructure given to young girls to be able to pursue skateboarding as a career option.

X Games had previously not held a women’s category for vert for 13 years and has now reintroduced it for 2023 and onwards. Fans can tune into the 2024 X Games Ventura and watch Reese Nelson and Arisa Trew June 28 – 30.

GoSkate has estimated that 40% of new skateboarders are women and girls, and as women’s skate initiatives (like GrlSwrl) continue to pop up all over the world and young children can watch female riders on TV and in the Olympics, skateboarding will only continue to grow.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top