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The All-Powerful Ollie
By Scott McLachlan

The ollie is absolutely the most important trick in modern skateboarding.

“After pushing, it is the thing you will perform most throughout your skating career, often without thinking or concentrating.”

I thought that summed it up quite nicely (I didn’t write it, it’s from the book “Hardflip: The Illusion”).

I think a lot of people who are just getting into skating tend to forget about the ollie and go straight for kickflips and 360 Flips and other silly flip tricks – I know I never really worked much on ollies until I’d been skating for 3 or 4 months (I was trying stupid frontside heelflips and annoying backside flips instead), and I realise now how stupid I was. The ollie is the most simple, fun, and versatile trick, and you should always be trying to take it to new levels in your skating. So check out the tip.

Description: The skater pops the tail and levels out the board with their front foot, causing the board to rise off all four wheels in to the air. The board does not flip or rotate in any way.

OK, it’s not the best description, but the tip explains everything nicely.

First and foremost, you'll want to get your foot positioning right. Everyone develops their own slightly different position, but essentially your back foot should be on the tip of your tail (possibly slightly tweaked so your toe is pointing slightly backwards), and your front foot should lie evenly across your board, somewhere between both sets of bolts. Some people think that if you bring your front foot further back you can ollie higher, but I never bring my foot further back than halfway between my bolts. You tend to have more control if you keep your front foot in a reasonable position.

Now that your feet are all ready to go, you've got to think about what you're actually trying to do. You can break the ollie down into a few simple steps:

The Pop, The Level, and the Landing.

Popping your board into the air is probably the most important thing to be able to do in skateboarding, as pretty much any trick you can think of involves it. For the ollie, you'll want to crouch down with your knees bent, then rise up and at the peak of the rise, push your back foot hard down against the ground and jump skywards, causing your board and body to rise into the air. It is vital that the popping movement of your back foot is sharp and crisp, and that you time your jump with the rise of your board.

Now comes the Level. This step uses your whole body in the levelling out of your board in the air. As your back foot pops the board, your front foot should be moving in a sliding motion towards the nose of your board. As you rise to the peak of your ollie, the outside of your front foot should be touching the nose-end of your board, which is the first part of levelling out your ollie. In conjunction to this, you need to pull your back leg up, and suck both knees into your chest, which brings your tail into the air and levels your board out flat. Always level your board out flat - rocket ollies (non-levelled ollies) are one of the ugliest things in skateboarding, so practice levelling your ollies, and for extra style points, see if you can bone them out (poke your nose down at the peak of your ollie).

Finally there's landing to be done. Once you're at the peak of your ollie, your body is quite probably ready to come back down to earth, so landing is a fairly natural step. You'll probably want to straighten your legs out a little before you land, and then absorb the impact with your knees. And remember to try as hard as possible to land over the bolts - this minimizes board snapping, and looks and feels a lot better than if you land all sloppy.

OK, I've managed to make ollieing sound extremely complicated and hard in this tip, so here's a breakdown:

Pop, Jump, Slide, Suck, Land, Roll Away.

See, easy as pie.