For Olympic Skateboarder Jordyn Barratt, Dew Tour Marks First Contest Since Tokyo Games

For Olympic Skateboarder Jordyn Barratt, Dew Tour Marks First Contest Since Tokyo Games

When park skateboarder Jordyn Barratt drops in at Lauridsen Skatepark in Des Moines for Dew Tour Friday, it will mark her first contest since August 2021, when she and 19 other women made history in the first-ever Olympic women’s park competition.

“I think I’m gonna be a little jittery,” Barratt said with a laugh.

Most of the Olympic skateboarders, not used to the rigor of Olympic qualification and competition, needed time to decompress this past year. For the two years leading up to the Tokyo Games (after they were postponed to 2021 due to Covid-19), Barratt placed her entire focus on park skateboarding. It meant eschewing her two other boardsports, surfing and snowboarding, and also her dirt bike so that she didn’t add to her injury risk.

So the last year has given the 23-year-old an opportunity to supplement her time on the concrete with cross-training in the water and on the snow. The Encinitas, California-based skateboarder has been surfing with fellow park skateboarder Heimana Reynolds, one of her best friends from childhood in their native O’ahu.

She’s also spent time camping and riding her dirt bike Mammoth with her two dogs, Buzz and Jessie, who have been reaping the rewards of Barratt’s Clif Bar sponsorship thanks to the brand’s new line of plant-based dog treats.

And in May, Barratt and other Team USA members visited the White House, which is where Barratt met Tracy Evans, the founder of Kids Play International. That encounter proved fortuitous, as Barratt was able to join a trip to Rwanda planned for June. The organization promote gender equity through sport, deeply embedding itself in post-genocide communities to enact long-lasting change.

“It was a really amazing experience to see what these coaches have done with these kids down there. It was a really eye-opening experience,” Barratt told me by phone. “These kids have never ever seen a skateboard in their life, they have no preconceived idea of what a skateboard is. I got to bring 10 skateboards down there thanks to my sponsor Birdhouse, and I told them there’s no right or wrong way to skateboard—it’s a magic carpet ride.”

Barratt’s career has taken her on a magic carpet ride around the world, from California to Tokyo to Africa in the past year alone. But for the last two weeks, she’s been putting in time at Lauridsen Skatepark ahead of Dew Tour to dial in her skateboarding muscle memory.

It was in Des Moines in 2021 that we saw the level of progression in women’s park skateboarding leap forward as women and girls from around the world attempted to earn enough points at Dew Tour to get named to their respective countries’ Olympic teams.

This year’s iteration of Dew Tour is once again being held at Lauridsen Skatepark—now the largest skatepark in the U.S.—which opened just in time to host the event last year. But even though the scenery will look the same, the competition couldn’t be more different.

Last year, Dew Tour served as an Olympic qualifying event. That meant that 41 women divided into four heats got two runs each, with the best one counting, to earn a spot in the eight-woman final—as well as precious points toward their Olympic rankings.

“It’s hard to compare it being an Olympic qualifier and completely open to pretty much anybody that would like to enter the contest to this year, where it’s straight to final, with only eight women for park that are being invited,” Barratt said. “I’m definitely honored to have been invited but it bums me out for the other girls that didn’t get an invite. There are probably 30 girls who deserve to be in all these contests.”

Last year, Barratt made the cut and finished eighth in the final, which Japan’s Sakura Yosozumi won with a 540 she had been honing in secret and had never done in competition until that moment. But she needed it to challenge for the podium—and this year, Barratt may too.

Japan’s Misugu Okamoto was dominant in competition in 2019 thanks to her backside 540. Great Britain’s Sky Brown, a fellow Clif Bar athlete alongside Barratt, has a frontside rodeo 540 as well as a backside 540 in her bag.

Barratt and fellow American Bryce Wettstein, 18, brought the style to Dew Tour last year. Wettstein, who employs a throwback skating style that belies her young age, made the crowd ooh and ahh with her rock and roll on top of the Toyota extension element, the course’s highest point. Barratt’s crail tailslide and signature tuck-knee eggplant were also crowd-pleasers.

But women’s park is becoming so technical with the 540s that, whether it’s a good or bad thing for the sport or not, the women need to have them in their arsenal to threaten the podium at major competitions.

This year, Yosozumi, Brown, Wettstein, Lizzie Armanto, Cocona Hiraki, Mami Tezuka and Nora Vasconcellos round out the list of women’s park invitees, with Kisa Nakamura, Minna Stess and Ruby Lilley serving as alternates.

Japan’s Yosozumi and Hiraki and Great Britain’s Brown took gold, silver and bronze respectively in the women’s park final at the Tokyo Games. Finishing 11th out of 20 in the qualifier, Barratt just missed the cut for the final.

“All the women are just progressing at a speed that is absolutely crazy and really cool to be a part of,” Barratt said. “It’s really cool there’s so many girls now that do 540s—that’s so crazy to me.”

As for what we can expect at Dew Tour this week?

“There will probably be variations of 540s—maybe a 720 is next—and different variations of kickflip indys, varial flips,” Barratt said. “The way that people are putting tricks together in lines and airing super high, it’s just progressing at a rate that is really cool to be a part of. This year will definitely bring a lot to the table.”

For her part, Barratt isn’t getting bogged down in the minutia of degrees of rotation for her spin tricks. Just having a seat at the table—and having sponsors like Clif Bar, Birdhouse and Toyota who continue to support her career, including her goal to qualify for skateboarding’s second Olympic appearance at Paris 2024—is enough.

“I’m super grateful for Clif Bar and what they’ve done for me, and extremely grateful for the life I get to live and for how far skateboarding has taken me,” Barratt said. “I never ever would have believed if you had told me when I started skateboarding, ‘10 years down the line you’ll be at the Olympics.’ I just want to give back to the community and keep women’s skateboarding trending in the right direction as much as I possibly can.”

Barratt has also worked with the organization Exposure at its Skate Rising events, which seeks to empower women, trans and nonbinary skateboarders and develop the next generation of skaters.

“A few different girls said to me they started skateboarding because they saw it at the Olympics,” Barratt said. The No. 1 benefit, bar none, of the sport’s inclusion in the Games, she says, is that the visibility will lead directly to more interest and more skateparks being built in communities—like Lauridsen Skatepark in Des Moines.

“It’s very intimidating the first time you come to a skatepark. It’s hard especially for young girls,” Barratt added. “[Exposure co-founder Amelia Brodka] created a great safe space for girls and women who want to come and make friends and learn to skate.”

After Dew Tour, Barratt will be returning to Tony Hawk’s Vert Alert in August, which held its inaugural event in 2021 in Salt Lake City.

Only park and street skateboarding were on the Olympic program in Tokyo, but Hawk’s hope is that vert skateboarding can get approved for an upcoming Games—Paris 2024 or L.A. 2028. That would provide a platform for an additional cohort of women who specialize in vert—or could potentially qualify in both park and vert.

With the level of progression being what it is, the mind balks at envisioning what women’s park skateboarding could look like in two or six years. But Dew Tour will provide a good preview.

Barratt and the other women in the field will compete in the women’s park final on Friday, July 29, at 6:30 p.m. CT.


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