The type of skating the rider wants to do will inform the board choice, which sometimes involves skating a non-popsicle shaped board. But if you are just starting out, you can simply start with the traditional popsicle shaped deck that you probably recognize. As you skate more and get to know what shapes you like or what kind of skateboarding you enjoy best, your decisions will take into account for company, shape, width, and style of riding. Until then, choosing a board by its graphic is totally acceptable. For an overview on types of skateboard decks and riding styles, check out our Skateboard Decks Section in our Buyer’s Guide. Once you find a deck you like, you can simply select the default wheels, trucks, bearings and grip tape or you have the option to make it a complete.
Now, I might not be able to skate to save my life, but I can do a little physics. So here's a thought - maybe I can use physics to learn how to do an ollie. Here's the plan. I'm going to open up the above video of skateboarder Adam Shomsky doing an ollie, filmed in glorious 1000 frames-per-second slow motion, and analyze it in the open source physics video analysis tool Tracker.
Pull your knees up into your chest – How far you actually want to pull your legs up is totally up to you, but the higher your feet go, the higher your board will go too. By the way, the highest recorded preferred stance ollie-pop is 45 inches, done by Aldrin Garcia, and the highest switch stance ollie-pop is 40.125 inches, by Gavin Caperton. And if you’re going for endurance rather than height, the record for most consecutive hops is held by Rob Dyrdek, who did 215 of them in a row on his TV show Rob and Big. So those give you something to shoot for.
When I was about 10, I broke my first skateboard by riding it into a ditch. A decade later, in college, I broke another skateboard within an hour of owning it (surely a record) in a short-lived attempt at doing an ollie. (Surprisingly, the store accepted a return on that board even though it was in two pieces.) Then I was gifted a really nice, high-quality skateboard. The first thing I did with it was ride it down a big hill, a valiant but ill-fated adventure which ended with me jumping off the skateboard, rolling down the grass, and arriving scraped up, deflated, and rather disoriented near the entrance to my college cafeteria. (In my defense, the wheels and ball-bearings on that skateboard had been pre-lubricated to minimize friction, and why would anyone do that, that's just crazy.)
The skater can gain greater clearance from the ground by jumping higher, popping faster, sliding the front foot farther forwards (starting the jump with the front foot farther back), and pulling the legs higher into the chest to raise the feet higher. Skaters attempting record-setting ollies even contort the legs so that board and feet are not directly below them, allowing the board to rise at or just below the level of the pelvis.
It is mainly because those items are guaranteed to help you familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of using them. They are a big help in making you feel comfortable when you push off with your feet while also balancing on top of the board when riding. It is not good to go for a very technical product, so it’s best to choose the mentioned types first.