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.
The official record for the highest flat-ground ollie is 45′ (114.3cm) by Aldrin Garcia during the “Maloof High Ollie Challenge,” held on the 15th of February, 2011. You can watch the movie here. However, a groundbreaking moment in the lore of the ollie will always belong to Danny Wainwright’s ex record of 44.5′ (113.03cm, ELEMENT-HIGHEST OLLIE CONTEST Feb.6th,2000.) Reese Forbes, a competitor of Danny’s in this contest, was also well-known as a master of the ollie.
The ollie is a fundamental trick in street 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 other tricks depend on it - for example the kickflip and heelflip - the ollie is often the first trick to be learned by a new skateboarder. The ollie typically takes considerable practice to learn.
If you’ve ever watched a skateboarder roll down the street and then all of a sudden pop into the air on a skateboard, you’re probably wondering the same question a lot of people do: how on earth do they do that? It almost seems magical how they just seem to explode off the ground, and then just kind of float. Skateboarder, meet, the ollie. It’s not in the category of “easy skateboard tricks,” but if you learn how to ollie, you’re well on your way to fame and fortune as a professional skater.
If you are completely new to skateboarding, consider taking a minute to read through the Skateboard Decks Section in our Buyer’s Guide will be helpful, but a good rule of thumb is: the bigger your feet, the wider your board should be. If you wear a size 9 and up, you can’t go wrong with buying an 8” board. Narrow boards are easier to flip while wider boards are more stable, but there are no hard and fast rules to skateboarding. The only way to really find out what you like is by trying new shapes, sizes, and brands. Brands like Welcome, Baker, Chocolate, Deathwish, and Element all have a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and graphics.
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.
Land at the same time – Again, this is probably silly to repeat, but you’d be surprised to find out how many people execute a successful jump, and then throw their hands up in the air to celebrate their new-found triumph, and forget the most important part: landing. The best position for your feet to be in is as close to the trucks as possible. Don’t land too close to the nose or tail, or you could end up breaking off those the board itself. Also, remember to bend your knees to absorb the jump. Don’t want to land straight-legged: that’s how kneecaps are destroyed.
Today, many riders use the “ollie-pop” on more than just the flat-level surfaces in between other tricks, it’s used heavily in the half-pipe and bowl ramps to allow the rider to go even higher in the air. Performing the “ollie-pop” while you’re at or near the top of the lip is a great way to get an extra couple feet, which might be all you need to get that extra turn in and nail the 720 (or 900, if you’re Tony Hawk).
Place your back foot on the edge of the tail (this is where you will apply a burst of force to the skateboard) and prepare to exert force through the foot’s ‘big-toe-mound’ area. Place your front foot behind the front bolts. Make sure the weight bearing down on your feet, as well as the weight of your body, is generally centered over the ‘middle line’ of your skateboard.