Trew to form, win sees teen 'drop in' to Paris contention

China Daily

Trew to form, win sees teen

Arisa Trew of Australia competes in the women's skateboarding park final during the Olympic Qualifier Series at the Huangpu Riverside in Shanghai on May 19. GAO ERQIANG/CHINA DAILY

Setting a Guinness world record and winning a Laureus sports award at the age of 13? Few would've imagined it possible, but skateboarding prodigy Arisa Trew has done both and is harboring hopes of achieving something bigger and better.

A native of Queensland's Gold Coast, Trew has now set her sights on a quota place to represent Australia at Paris 2024, a trick she's determined to tackle. And she's well on course to nailing it after winning the penultimate Olympic qualifier in Shanghai.

Riding up against a more established group of Japanese skaters, led by Tokyo 2020 champion Sakura Yosozumi, Trew proved her Olympic ambition is within reach after scoring a field-high 91.16 points from her second run in the final to win the women's park event at the qualifier series' first leg on May 19, one week after turning 14 years old.

As yet another teen star in the youth-dominated sport, Trew ranks a ride to Paris 2024, and a potential podium finish, as the pinnacle of her many accolades, highlights of which include winning the Laureus Action Sportsperson of the Year Award last month — the first female skateboarder to do so.

"Well, if I even get to the Olympics it would be such an achievement. To finish on the podium and even a win there would just be so amazing, because I just really want to get to the Olympics and compete there," the joyful rider said after the action-packed final at Shanghai's Huangpu Riverside on May 19.

Arriving at the Shanghai meet in 11th place on the Olympic World Skateboarding Ranking, Trew's victory has seen her climb to No 2 and she looks certain to secure a place in Paris, even with one more qualifier to go in Budapest next month.

"I'll just be really happy if I make it to the Olympics. If I do, then I just want to keep pushing the level of skateboarding, so everyone just gets better and better."

Born into a family of surfers that resides close to the immaculate beaches of Australia, Trew first learned how to ride the waves, before learning to ride the ramps at around the age of 7 with her dad Simon Trew, as a winter alternative.

In the six years since, skateboarding has evolved from Trew's winter escape into a passion that has taken her to parks, ramps and streets across the world, while befriending like-minded enthusiasts of all ages.

Watched in-person by the great Tony Hawk, Trew made history in June last year when she became the first female in the world to land a 720 (two full midair rotations) — first performed by Hawk in 1985 — in competition at the Vert Alert, the very event launched by the legendary skater in Utah. The "first" was later recognized by Guinness World Records.

She then repeated the trick at the 2023 X Games a month later at Ventura County Fairgrounds in California to win a gold medal in vert skateboarding, also known as half-pipe. She then added a second gold in the park competition to become the youngest double gold medalist in X Games history, aged 13 years and 109 days.

As wild as she rides the bowl-shaped park course, Trew makes sure that she skates as a "girly girl", instead of a tomboy, wearing pink everything, from her helmet to her socks.

And she likes that some Chinese girls have given the sport a try as early as she did.

"For any youngsters that get into skating in China, and all around the world, just to keep going and doing your best, even with school. Skate as much as you can and just balance everything that happens," she said.

Flying and competing around the world has only been possible for Trew through the support of her parents and the Level Up Sports Academy of Australia, a specialty school that offers professional coaching in skating, surfing and BMX freestyle, along with education.

"I do three hours of education, and then skate rest of the day. The schoolwork is online, so I can still do it when I'm overseas," she explained.