In 1982, while competing in the Rusty Harris contest in Whittier, California, Rodney Mullen debuted an ollie on flat ground, which he had adapted from Gelfand's vertical version by combining the motions of some of his existing tricks. Mullen used a "see-saw" motion, striking the tail of the board on the ground to lift the nose, and using the front foot to level the board in mid-air. While Mullen was not initially impressed with his flat ground ollie, and did not formally name it, he realized it opened up a second, elevated plane on which to perform tricks.
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.)
In fact, we can work out how you need to steer the skateboard. Tracker has a nice feature that we'll call 'force arrows'. These arrows show you how much force acts on an object at every instant, and in which direction the force acts. So for example, if you were to kick a ball into the air, while the ball was mid-flight, this arrow would always point down and be the same length, even though the ball is moving forward. That's because the only force acting on the ball is gravity, which pulls it straight down, and acts with a constant strength. (For those of you who've studied physics, these arrows denote the acceleration of the center of mass, which by Newton's second law is proportional to the net force acting on the skateboard.)
My problem is that my board always lands crooked when I Ollie. The worst thing is that I even tell myself to “keep your shoulders straight” while I’m doing the Ollie and I still land crooked. I think it’s just hard for people to grasp the simple fact that everything on a skateboard has to be done horizontally which is odd because people don’t walk sideways. We walk straight. Like roller blading for example…. it’s easier for me to roller blade because I’m used to walking and running obviously except with a skateboard everything is as if you were hopping over a fence sideways. Skateboarding is tough.
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In 1978, Alan Gelfand, who was given his nickname "Ollie" by Scott Goodman, learned to perform no-handed aerials in bowls and pools using a gentle raising of the nose and scooping motion to keep the board with the feet. There are numerous references to Alan Gelfand's Ollie with most notably pictures in the 1970s skateboarding magazine "Skateboarder".
It’s not just standard deck sizes that are available for creating or replacing your board. You can just as easily get a great longboard deck to work on in your basement or garage. One of the best and best reviewed options out there is the Loaded Boards Poke Longboard Skateboard Deck. This standard-design longboard deck has it all to help you make the ideal board.
One foot on the tail, (by foot I mean the ball of the foot which is just behind the big toe) the other foot is about an inch behind the bolts(screws) for the front truck. Basically, the back foot quickly pushes the tail down, and right when the tail of the board strikes the ground, the back foot jumps up… the tail of the board will follow up with the foot when the front foot slides forward slightly, which pivots the tail of the board upwards. Since the front truck comes off the ground first, getting the back truck up is the trick.
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.
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.
The top part of the truck is screwed to the deck and is called the baseplate, and beneath it is the hanger. The axle runs through the hanger. Between the baseplate and the hanger are bushings, also rubbers or grommets, that provide the cushion mechanism for turning the skateboard. The bushings cushion the truck when it turns. The stiffer the bushings, the more resistant the skateboard is to turning. The softer the bushings, the easier it is to turn. Bushings come in varying shapes and urethane formulas as well as durometers, which may affect turning, rebound and durability. A bolt called a kingpin holds these parts together and fits inside the bushings. Thus by tightening or loosening the kingpin nut, the trucks can be adjusted loosely for better turning and tighter for more stability (useful when landing tricks). Standard kingpin nut size is 3/8" - 24tpi. The position of the hanger respect to the baseplate is also determined by the pivot, a rod that slots into the corresponding seat in the baseplate. The pivot stops the hanger from rotating around the kingpin. The pivot must allow some movement around the bushings and therefore is not a perfect fit. The space between the pivot and its seat in the baseplate is filled by a pivot cup, a plastic part that will take most of the wear and tear of the pivot and assist in centering the hanger needs to be lubricated every so often.
Cruiser - The name says it all. If you are looking to cruise around town then this is the right complete skateboard for you. These decks vary in length from between 20 inches all the way up to about 40 inches. The wheel diameters usually start at about 55 millimeters and use a much softer urethane than the previous Popsicle decks. These also come with all of the above but the decks do not always need grip tape. Some of the decks are plastic or composite material with grooves or gripping built directly into the deck mold.
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The ollie is a fundamental skill in skateboarding and is used to leap onto, over, or off obstacles, or over gaps of unfriendly terrain such as grass or stairs. As so many tricks depend on it - for example the kickflip and heelflip - the ollie is often the first skill to be learned by a new skateboarder. The ollie typically takes considerable practice to learn.
The wheels of a skateboard are usually made of polyurethane, and come in many different sizes and shapes to suit different types of skating. Larger diameters (55–85 mm) roll faster, and move more easily over cracks in pavement and are better for transition skateboarding. Smaller diameters (48–54 mm) keep the board closer to the ground, require less force to accelerate and produce a lower center of gravity which allows for a better response time, but also make for a slower top speed and are better for street skateboarding. Wheels also are available in a variety of hardnesses usually measured on the Shore durometer "A" scale. Again like car tires, wheels range from the very soft (about Shore A 75) to the very hard (about Shore A 101). As the A scale stops at 100, any wheels labeled 101A or higher are harder, but do not use the appropriate durometer scale. Some wheel manufacturers now use the "B" or "D" scales, which have a larger and more accurate range of hardness. Modern street skaters prefer medium-sized wheels (usually 51–54 mm), as small wheels with lighter trucks can make tricks like kickflips and other flip tricks easier by keeping the center of gravity of the skateboard closer to the deck, thus making the deck easier to spin. Street wheels are harder (A 100/A 101). Vertical ramp or "vert" skating requires larger wheels (usually 55–65 mm), as it involves higher speeds. Vert wheels are also usually slightly softer (A 98/ A 99), allowing them to maintain high speed on ramps without sliding. Slalom skating requires even larger wheels (60–75 mm) to sustain the highest speeds possible. They also need to be soft and have better grip to make the tight and frequent turns in slalom racing. Even larger wheels are used in longboarding and downhill skateboarding. Sizes range from 65 mm to 100 mm. These extreme sizes of wheels almost always have cores of hard plastic that can be made thinner and lighter than a solid polyurethane wheel. They are often used by skateboard videographers as well, as the large soft wheels allow for smooth and easy movement over any terrain.