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13-year-old pro skateboarder becomes first female to land 720 trick

JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:

This week a 13-year-old Australian girl was the talk of the skateboarding world.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: She made it.

SUMMERS: On Tuesday, Arisa Trew made history when she became the first female skater to land a 720. That is two full rotations in the air. And she did it at an event called Tony Hawk's Vert Alert, named after the skateboarding legend who, incidentally, pioneered the 720, and he was there to cheer her on. Here with us now is Kristin Ebeling. She's executive director of the nonprofit organization Skate Like A Girl. Kristin, welcome to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

KRISTIN EBELING: What's up?

SUMMERS: So, Kristin, we should point out you are also a professional skateboarder. What were you thinking? What was your reaction when you saw Arisa Trew land that 720?

EBELING: Yeah. So I'll just start by saying I'm a professional skateboarder in a totally opposite discipline called street skateboarding. So pretty much anything done on a vert ramp is amazing. It's very scary to even drop in on a vert ramp, so my first reaction was just amazement. And it also just kind of took me back to, like, the first time I saw Tony Hawk land his 900. I saw that on TV as a little kid. And, you know, a couple of years after that, I started skateboarding. So it got me really hyped just thinking that, you know, kids around the world are going to be able to see this and see this amazing feat.

SUMMERS: OK. For people who have never put their feet on a skateboard before, can you explain exactly what a 720 is and, like, how hard is it to land one?

EBELING: Yeah. So I think the easiest way to understand a 720 is that it's just two 360s. So this trick is performed on a vert ramp that kind of sends you up on one side, and you have to come back down - shoutout gravity. But this trick in particular has you coming into it backwards. So basically, she dropped in on one side of the ramp, did an air on the opposite side, rode backwards back to where she started and spun around two times to reenter the ramp facing forward.

SUMMERS: OK. Let me see if I get this straight. Arisa Trew landed the 720, and she also did it with the pressure of Tony Hawk himself watching. Like, come on.

EBELING: Yeah. It's pretty cool. I actually saw a clip of him kind of, like, coaching her a little bit on the sidelines, which kind of reminded me of just how cool skateboarding is that we want to kind of see each other win. It's less competitive, I'd say, than other sports. And, yeah, it's just amazing to do that in front of the guy that invented it. It's pretty cool.

SUMMERS: No kidding. I mean, looking more broadly, though, how are milestones like this significant, particularly for girls and women in the world of skateboarding?

EBELING: Yeah. So I think it's another reminder that, like, girls and other non-traditional athletes can do incredible things when we give them the access, the resources, the facilities, the coaches and just to remember that, like, the skill level gaps that we see in sports is, you know, less so based on, like, the one gender being better than another out of sport but just more related to the lack of access and therefore lower participation by certain genders of different sports. And yeah - super-excited to see what the future holds.

SUMMERS: Oh, yeah. We're going to have to keep watching. Kristin Ebeling is a pro skateboarder and the executive director of the nonprofit organization Skate Like A Girl. Kristin, thank you.

EBELING: Yeah, thank you so much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Michael Levitt
Michael Levitt is a news assistant for All Things Considered who is based in Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Political Science. Before coming to NPR, Levitt worked in the solar energy industry and for the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, D.C. He has also travelled extensively in the Middle East and speaks Arabic.
Juana Summers is a political correspondent for NPR covering race, justice and politics. She has covered politics since 2010 for publications including Politico, CNN and The Associated Press. She got her start in public radio at KBIA in Columbia, Mo., and also previously covered Congress for NPR.