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Skate | Tricks + Tips

The art of skateboarding demands dedication, determination, and perseverance. It allows you to physically express your creativity, both as a sport and as a form of art. Although broken bones, broken boards, and the authorities can make skateboarding very frustrating and trying, in the end, it is all part of the very rewarding experience that drives every skateboarder to get back on her board day-in and day-out.

Skateboarding is a very independent sport and therefore is mostly self-taught. Everyone is different and has their own unique styles and ways of learning. These Trick Tips are to give you a basic idea on how to execute each trick. As you are learning to skateboard, you will develop your own method for learning and executing new tricks.

For beginner skaters, the best way to get oriented with skateboarding and its complexities is to watch skate videos of professional skateboarders and check out the rippers at your local skate park. This will help you get an idea of how different tricks are done and different styles of doing them. Watching the pros will also give you a good idea about board control, making it easier to visualize tricks and mentally prepare for them.

Remember: skateboarding, like many things, is almost purely mental. While doing a trick, you must feel and flow with your board without thinking too much about what you are doing, which can often psyche you out. Thinking too much while preparing and executing a trick can lead to hesitation, which can lead to fear, which can lead to injury. Fear is not necessarily a bad thing though. It can keep you in check with reality but can also make it hard when you are trying something new that may be a little scary. It is something every skater has to deal with. That is why you must be mentally confident and willing to push yourself to progress.

You also must be willing to fall, and fall a lot, and fall hard. To reduce the risk of injury, you should always stretch before hitting a hard session of skateboarding. This will keep you limber and make your body more reactive. Don't forget the option of pads and a helmet as well.

And remember practice, practice, practice. Repetition is the key to learning anything, and this is especially important in skateboarding. For the best and most progressive skateboarding videos, check out videos released by 411 video magazine, Transworld skateboarding magazine, and Thrasher.

The Ollie

1. Place the ball of your back foot (the foot you would jump off of as if you were doing a lay-up in basketball) on the tail of your board. Put your front foot a few inches behind the bolts of your front trucks.

2. Prepare to initiate the ollie by bending your knees and staying centered over your board.

3. Ollie by snapping down on your tail and jumping upward with your back foot and lifting up your front foot all at the same time so the nose of your board is carried and pointed upwards. The force from jumping and popping your board will make you and your board air-born with your momentum being carried upwards.

4. As you become air-born, bring your back foot and leg up towards your body and kick your front foot out all at the same time so that your board is now parallel with the ground. At this point, you want to be centered directly over your board while in the air.

5. Now that you've reached the peak of your ollie, you want to prepare for landing by keeping your feet directly over the bolts of your trucks and spotting where you are going to land.

6. Land with your feet over the bolts of your trucks and with your knees bent.

* The key to higher ollies is snapping your board up harder and bringing your legs up as close to you body as you can. Check out such pro skaters like Reese Forbes, Jamie Thomas, and Danny Wainright, who holds the world record for the highest ollie at 45 1/2 inches. They are all masters at going big and doing very high ollies.

The Pop-Shuvit

1. Set up like you are going to do a regular ollie; knees bent, back foot on your tail, and your front foot directly behind the bolts of your front trucks.

2. Initiate the pop-shuvit by popping your board with your back foot backwards with a little flick so your board spins 180 degrees under your feet. This trick can be almost entirely executed with your back foot, but in addition, you can use your front foot to help spin your board under your feet.

3. As the board finishes its rotation, try to catch the board with your feet while it's still in the air.

4. Land over the bolts of your trucks with your knees bent.

* This is a great trick for any type of skater. It is a very stylish trick and is the basis of almost all flip and spin tricks. You can do many different variations like a nollie-shuvit, where you pop and spin the board with your front foot instead of your back. It can also be done in and out of grind tricks such as a pop-shuvit to 50-50 to nollie pop-shuvit out.

The Kickflip

1. Prepare for this trick by placing your back foot in ollie position and your front foot directly behind the bolts of your front trucks and at about a 45-degree angle. Placing your foot too far back on your board, as you may see some other beginners do, can make the board flip uncontrollably making it easy to get tangled up in, which can easily cause a sprained ankle.

2. Pop your board and as you carry it up, with your front foot, flick your foot down and out with your ankle. This will cause your board to start to flip. This may take a while to get the feel of how to properly flip your board.

3. As your board finishes its rotation, try to catch it with your feet to ensure a smooth clean landing. The first time you land a kickflip will most likely be accidental and may suprise you a little bit.

4. Stay centered over your board with your feet over the bolts of your trucks as you land. Land with your knees bent and ride away in style.

* The kickflip is the trademark trick of skateboarding. No matter what type of skater you are, this is probably the most popular trick because it's simple and very stylish. It is also the basis for almost all other flip-tricks such as the 360 flip, backside flip, and the frontside flip to name a few. After you've mastered the kickflip, trying taking it to the next level by linking it to a grind like a kickflip to 50-50.

The Frontside 180

1. Prepare for a frontside 180 like you are going to do a regular ollie. You will be spinning frontside 180 degrees which means as you spin, you will be facing the direction you are going, compared to the backside where you are spinning with your back towards the direction you are headed. You will want to wind up for this trick by squaring off your shoulders so they are facing directly in front of you.

2. As you pop off your tail, bring your board up and start your rotation by turning your upper body forwards. At the same time, you should be bringing your board up with your front foot and guiding the board with your back foot as you spin.

3. It is easier to spin with your board while your board is more vertical, compared to having it spin flat and horizontally like a pop-shuvit. This will cut back on the drag and make it much easier to guide along with you. As with every other trick, you will find your own preference as you learn.

4. As you come around, you will now be landing switch-stance, which means you will be facing the opposite direction you took off from.

5. Try to land the way you would land any other of your tricks: feet over your bolts, centered over your board, and with your knees bent.

* If you are not used to landing switch, or are having problems landing this trick, you may want to practice pushing around switch-stance. This will give you a more balanced equilibrium on your skateboard and will make you feel more comfortable riding away from your tricks when you are landing switch.


Morgan Delaney was a freelance writer who lived, worked, and skates in the Bay Area. The post was updated to include some current youtube tutorials. Enjoy!!

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