Invented in the late 1970s by Alan "Ollie" Gelfand, the ollie has become a skateboarding fundamental, the basis for many other more complicated tricks. In its simplest form, the ollie is a jumping technique that allows skaters to hop over obstacles and onto curbs, etc. What's so amazing about the ollie is the way the skateboard seems to stick to the skater's feet in midair. Seeing pictures of skaters performing soaring 4-foot ollies, many people assume that the board is somehow attached to the skater's feet. It's not. What's even more amazing about the ollie is that to get the skateboard to jump up, the skater pushes down on the board! The secret to this paradoxical maneuver is rotation around multiple axes. Let's take a closer look.
Slam your back foot down on the tail of your skateboard as hard as you can. At that moment, you want to also jump into the air, off of your back foot. This part is key and takes practice. The trick is in getting your timing right. You want to slap the skateboard’s tail down, and as it hits the ground, jump off of that foot into the air. Make sure to pull that back foot high into the air. It's a quick, snapping motion.
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To summarize, a skateboarder's feet need to do two things successfully to complete an ollie. They need to provide a changing force to move the board correctly (so that the combined force of gravity and the skater's feet add up to the green arrows above), and they need to provide different amounts of force with each foot (shown by the red and blue arrows above) to steer and turn the board into the right orientation.
Made with bamboo and fiberglass, this board is tough, flexible and ready for anything. The construction is designed to feel and act like a snowboard. The drop-through design is perfect for freestyle longboarding, commuting, carving, pumping and more. It gives you better stability and more wheel clearance. The board is definitely best designed for carving but tricks and kicks are easily done as well.
Plan B sells boards with overall reliable attributes. They offer decks made from seven-ply wood. Powell is a longstanding company that founded the legendary Bones Brigade team, which kick-started Tony Hawk's career. Their skateboard designs change annually, but always look cool. Tony Hawk’s skate company is called Birdhouse. Their decks feature bird themes and have a thicker sixth layer of wood that makes it easier to jump and do flip tricks, which is ideal for vertical-style skateboarding. For environmentally-conscious skaters and fans of Bam Margera, buy a board from Element. They have variety on the technical side with their seven-ply boards and Helium decks. Their skateboards are made with an air pocket to be lightweight.
Pop the board in the air – The reason you jump up into the air in the first place is because you’re slamming the back end into the ground (don’t worry, your board is made to take the abuse). It’s the same motion you would do if you were standing near the board and wanted to pop the board up into your hands, except this time, you’re standing on top of it. As soon as you feel the board pop into the ground, kick your front foot up into the air at the same time. The timing on this is important: kick too early and you won’t go anywhere, kick too late and your board will fly out from underneath you.
Before we show you how to ollie, let’s get familiar with the legends that brought this skateboard trick to the masses. If it were a person, the history of ollie would start way back in 1974, when Alan Gelfand got his first skateboard from his father after his family moved to Hollywood, Florida from New York state. It didn’t take him too long to get the hang of it; he won the South Florida Skateboard championships two years later.
As you jump into the air, your front foot needs to roll slightly inward, and with the outside of your foot, you want to guide the skateboard as it flies into the air. Some people describe this as dragging the side of your front foot up the skateboard – that’s more or less what is happening, but what you are doing is using your shoe and the grip tape on the board to pull the skateboard higher into the air with you, and guiding the skateboard to where you want it.
A complete skateboard is pre-assembled - it almost rides right out of the package and on to the streets, ready for you to practice all your new tricks. You simply don’t have to think about buying the separate parts like trucks, wheels, decks or the likes. Once you have gained more experience on the board and you feel like customizing it to fit your skateboarding style, you can begin to learn more about the different pieces in order to assemble a skateboard that meets your specific wishes and demands. Until then, a complete can be quite the right choice.
Slide your front foot as soon as you start jumping. Use the same movement you have been practicing to slide your foot towards the top end of the board, just as you jump off it and kick the back down. The front of your board should lift up as you slide your foot along it, with your foot hitting the top of the board at the highest point of your jump.
Jump – Ah yes, finally, we have reached the move itself. Basically, you have to do about twelve different things all at once to execute a successful ollie-pop: lift your front foot, press down with your back foot, angle your front ankle, and jump. Lift the front foot off the ground first, and then move your back foot. This whole process is easier if you’re actually moving forward – since you don’t have to fight for balance – but it can be done while you’re standing still as well.
The most common shape in skateboarding is called a popsicle shape. It has a curved tail and nose and features concave, which gives the board it’s shape. New skateboarders looking to learn how to carve, push, ollie, kickflip, and grind boxes, ledges, and rails should start with a popsicle shape. If you’re interested in knowing, we explain selecting a board by width, riding style, and board shape in the skateboard decks section of the buyer’s guide.
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