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).
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.
An Ollie is basically an upward/forward jumping trick. The name “ollie” comes from the nickname of Alan Gelfand who created the ollie in 1976. The ollie was then modified for flat-ground use by Rodney Mullen in 1982, and it is this flat-ground version of the ollie which is most commonly referred to as the ‘ollie’ today. The ollie is arguably the most important trick in skateboarding because it is the foundation of the majority of skateboard tricks which require lift. When you want to do a trick like the kickflip, when you want to get onto something like a ledge, or down something like a set of stairs, or try handrails, the ability to ollie is a necessity. Therefore the ability to ollie high and with good control is critical to your total skateboarding skill-set.
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.