How to do an ollie on a skateboard

Every trick in skateboarding owes a large debt to the grandfather and basic building block of all moves, the ollie.

The idea is simple: just get rolling and jump with the skateboard underfoot, after that, the variations are endless. You have the kickflip, the shove-it, the nollie, the impossible, and a myriad of grabs, but there’s just one problem.

It’s not quite as easy as it may seem, and if you have gone through skateboarding 101 with the aid of the newest hit video game, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, you may be in for a rude awakening.

The ollie is a simple trick, but it does take a long time to master. The first thing that you may want to keep in mind is that it takes a serious toll upon your unsuspecting footwear. There are special shoes made for skateboarding that are designed with extra padding to compensate for the friction created by sliding your foot along the grip tape (a sandpaper-like material found on top of any serious skateboard).

You may want to get a pair, but they tend to be a bit pricey. It is also a good idea to start off on gravel or some other surface that doesn’t allow the board to move around much. You should work up to performing an ollie while moving after you have it perfected in this way.

The first step is to place your feet properly upon the skateboard. There are two typical stances in skateboarding. When your left foot is at the back, you are skating “goofy-footed”, and when your right foot is at the back, you are said to be skating “regular”. Either way is just as good; all that matters is what comes more comfortable and natural to you.

Your back foot should be on the tail at the point right before it hangs off the edge, and your front foot should be about halfway down the skateboard. You may feel a little unbalanced like this, but it will become easier with time.

Next, you must crouch down slightly, bending at the knees (you can put your hands out slightly to help keep your balance). The basic ollie involves a quick shift in balance. Start off leaning back with a strong push down upon the tail so it touches the ground. Just as quickly as you have done that, jump up while sliding your front foot up towards the nose or front of the skateboard.

Your board will be at an angle by now. The last part involves pushing down with your front foot to level out the board. The higher you jump, the higher your ollie will be. You must do all these steps in one single fluid motion, and this should result in a snapping of your board upon the ground causing it to jump up into the air underneath your feet. That’s all there is to it.

It may sound simple, but learning how to ollie takes a very long time – usually as much as six months to learn properly. After you perfect the ollie, you can work on height by stacking other skateboards (or anything else) and jumping them. Once you perfect this all-important trick, the world of skateboarding will be entirely open to you. All it takes is a good deck and a whole lot of determination!

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