Japan’s Misugu Okamoto Takes First, Kokona Hiraka in Third in Women’s Park Final at Dew Tour Long Beach 2019

United States Olympic Qualifier podium sees Japanese and Finnish skateboard supremacy.

Misugu Okamoto. Photo: MRZ

Screaming fans, fast-flying 540s and extended inverts illustrates only a fraction of the action as the Women’s Park Final at Dew Tour Long Beach 2019 closed in on its final runs of the weekend. With country flags flying waving in the background, five women from Japan, two from the USA and one representing Finland made up the last list of ladies left in the bowl.

Misugu Okamoto. Photo: MRZ
Lizzie Armanto. Photo: Ferra

Outside the bowl were packed grandstands and lots of legends, such as female skateboard and snowboard heroine Cara-Beth Burnside, crowding in for their final glimpse of women ripping for the weekend. After only three runs each the winner would be decided based on the single best scored run.

Lizzie Armanto. Photo: MRZ

Picking things up right where they left of two days prior, Japan’s Misugu Okamoto sent herself spinning 540 to finish off her first run of the contest. Okamoto also aired out a huge judo air and a board varial off the Mountain Dew Can extension to help that first run score sit on the top of the leaderboard for the entirety of the event.

Kokona Hiraki. Photo: MRZ

Following up her compatriot, Kokona Hiraki held onto the second highest score of the event after stomping both frontside and backside nose grinds during her second run. However, before things were said and done, Hiraki slid down one more position before ending the day in third.

Mami Tezuka. Photo: MRZ

In the final round of runs, Lizzie Armanto skated into the second place position to pit Finland on the podium. Armanto managed to stall out an invert on the Mountain Dew Can extension long enough to convince the entire crowd to erupt into applause. Also sliding a backside crailslide on the can in her final run had the judges convinced she had Hiraki beat.

Sakura Yosozumi. Photo: MRZ
Sakura Yosozumi. Photo: MRZ

“It’s funny to see, for sure,” said Armanto in reference to seeing her name next to the acronym for Finland, and then that sandwiched between two others for Japan. “Up until now it has never mattered where you are from.”

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Brighton Zeuner. Photo: Dangaard

Armanto has opted to ride for her father’s homeland of Finland in all Olympic-related events, but that hasn’t changed her skateboarding in any tangible way thus far outside of more support. “My program is still the same. The environment around me is changing, but I still have the same goals that I did before. At contests I want to do the best run possible for my skating.”

Kisa Nakamura. Photo: MRZ
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Bryce Wettstein. Photo: Dangaard

As things were all but wrapped up for the evening, Okamoto opted to drop in for victory lap in the bowl despite already sitting on top. Okamoto went even bigger than before nailing her run from start to finish with even higher airs than before, and for her efforts, the judges awarded her again.

Misugu Okamoto in first (middle), Lizzie Armanto in second (right), and Kokona Hiraki in third (left). Photo: Ortiz

Women’s Park Final Results 

1.) Misugu Okamoto, JPN 63.16
2.) Lizzie Armanto, FIN 55.00
3.) Kokona Hiraki, JPN 53.06
4.) Mami Tezuka, JPN 46.00
5.) Sakura Yosozumi, JPN 43.33
6.) Bryce Wettstein, USA 43.00
7.) Kisa Nakamura, JPN 42.00
8.) Brighton Zeuner, USA 34.00

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