On Deck

Skateboarders pride themselves on their ability to put personal flair in their performances. Their tricks are composed of fundamental moves. This infographic explains four fundamentals: ollie, grind, slide, and flip.

First: The Ollie

Modern skateboarding begins with an ollie. There have been other milestones, but this maneuver gives a skater his or her power to defy gravity. The following sketches break down a skater’s typical method.

1 He begins with the toes of his back foot on the rear edge of the skateboard; he places his front foot in the middle of the deck.

2 He slams the tail of the skateboard to the ground with his back foot.

3 At the same time, he raises his front foot and kicks it slightly forward, which levels the board in the air. He brings both feet up as high as possible.

4 He prepares mentally for landing; it takes confidence not to bail.

Alan Gelfand invented the ollie, which was a nickname given to Gelfand by a fellow skater. After the Oxford English Dictionary made “ollie” an official entry, Gelfand is reported to have commented: “I never realized how many people were affected by one little move an 80-pound kid from Hollywood, Fla., made in 1976.”

Two: The Slide

Besides rolling, skaters also slide across an object using the bottom of their boards. They may use any part of their decks for a slide. They should, however, carefully gauge the speed of their approach. For beginners, it can be a vivid lesson in inertia: they often fall backward when their skateboards start to slide because of traveling at too slow a speed.

Three: The Grind

When the metal axles, or trucks, of a skateboard scrape across the edge of an object, it’s appropriately called a grind. Skaters must approach the object they wish to grind at a fast speed. As their trucks grate against the edge, they adjust their balance to transfer more of their momentum downward and push their boards  forward.

Four: The Kickflip

In the air, skaters also make their boards flip; the most well-known flip is the kickflip. The following series shows a skater’s steps in performing a kickflip.

1 He places his front foot a little closer to the side edge of the deck.

2 He ollies and drags his front foot off the deck’s side edge.

3 With a flick of the ankle, he sets the board spinning.

4 A solid landing requires patience and determination.

Skating legend Tony Hawk is among those who have struggled to learn how to do a kickflip. He wrote: “I started trying them right after Rodney Mullen invented them, and they seemed impossible.”

SOURCES: socalskateshop.com; tonyhawk.com
Jacob Benison, "On Deck," Information Graphic, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 1 January 2005.