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The wheels of your skateboard can greatly affect your ride in numerous ways, such as the speed, your ability to take control of the skateboard’s movements, and what you feel while riding the board. The good news is that they come in various sizes, levels of durability, and colors, allowing you to pick one that suits your skateboard preference and style.
Just before a skater performs an ollie, there are three forces acting on the skateboard. One of these forces is the weight of the rider, shown here with two red arrows. Another is the force of gravity on the board itself, shown with a small black arrow. Finally, blue arrows show the force of the ground pushing up on the skateboard. These three forces balance out to zero. With no net force, the skateboard doesn't accelerate, but rolls along at a constant speed.
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 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.
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.
So with your back foot, you want to kick the tail of your board down and right when it touches the ground you jump in the air off your back foot. This is the ‘pop’. It takes a little bit of getting used to but most beginners don’t really understand that initially, your back foot is doing most of the work. Then bring your knees up to your chest after the jump, the higher up you pull your knees the higher up your skateboard can go!
This board is an excellent option for beginners because of its simplicity and durability. The lightly concave design allows for simple turns but doesn’t require the rider to be an excellent navigator. You can start off riding this deck down the street and use it as you learn ollies, kickflips and how to drop in to a half pipe. It will withstand it all and look good doing it.
Sizing plays an important role in the performance of any deck. A large majority range in size from 7.75" to 8.5" in width. These will provide a great platform for shredding any obstacle and will excel in street and skatepark environments alike. For those who prefer a smaller board, decks are offered down to 7.5" in width- benefiting people with smaller feet or the technical skater. Conversely, those looking for a wider board will enjoy our selection ranging up to 8.9" wide. Larger decks will accommodate those with very large feet, as well as offer an amazing experience for cruising and shredding large ramps and transitions.
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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.
It's a neat piece of science art, and it also tells us something interesting. The arrows show us that the force on the skateboard is constantly changing, both in magnitude as well as in direction. Now the force of gravity obviously isn't changing, so the reason that these force arrows are shrinking and growing and tumbling around is that the skater is changing how their feet pushes and pulls against the board. By applying a variable force that changes both in strength and direction, they're steering the board.
It wouldn’t be until the early 1980’s however, that a man named Rodney Mullen fully developed the skateboard ollie and brought it into vogue. Competing in the Rusty Harris contest in Whittier, California in 1982, Rodney Mullen used a back and forth motion on his skateboard to strike the back end of the board on the ground and using the front end to level the board out in mid-air – all from a flat surface. The audience’s jaws collectively hit the ground.
The Fakie is almost the same thing as a regular ollie-pop, but instead of going forward, the skater is going backwards when they pop the board up in the air, usually performed when you’re in a switch stance. A switch stance is when your feet are in the opposite stance of how you normally would stand, like when you write with your left hand instead of your right (if you’re right-handed).