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.
Slide your front foot forward – You remembered to angle your front ankle right? Good, now use that to move your board forward in one big rolling motion, and bring your back leg up into your chest. All of this is done at the same time, but it takes practice to get the timing down. Don’t slide your foot out too early though, or you’ll end up with a pretty weak jump, but also, don’t slide it out too late, or it won’t get leveled and you’ll end up in the pavement. Come to think of it, just do it perfect the first time and everything will be great.
The rider begins the ollie by crouching and jumping directly upward. As the rider begins to leap, instead of lifting the feet from the board, he/she "pops" the tail by striking it against the ground, which raises the board nose-first. Maintaining contact with the board, the rider lifts the front leg and bends the front ankle so that the outer or top side of the shoe slides towards the nose of the board. The friction between the shoe and the board's grip tape helps to guide and pull the board upward, while the rear foot only maintains slight contact with board to help guide it. When nearing the peak of the jump, the rider lifts the rear leg and pushes the front foot forward, which levels the board and keeps it in contact with the back foot.
Get used to sliding your front foot up the length of the board. Once you’ve perfected lifting the front of the board up, use your back foot to hold the board in that position. Slide your front foot up the board towards the front, rotating it as you do so. The side of your foot just below the toes should grate along the deck of your board until it reaches the top.
Smile and wave – Feel free to look around at all the other people at the skatepark that stood by and marveled at your new-found accomplishments (all one of them). I’m sure by this point you’ll be picking up roses that are being thrown at your feet, and taking a well-deserved bow as they begin to chant your name. Take it all in, thank the crowd for their undying affection, and then go get a snow-cone. You deserve it, champ.