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How to kickflip with your skateboard

Updated on August 25, 2011

Kickflips are tricky, so stick with it

Believe it or not, I was once an excellent skateboarder. This was back in the days when the sport was in its relative infancy. A lot of the moves that everyone can name today were not even invented yet back when I was skateboarding.

The kickflip is a trickier version of the ollie, the basic skateboarding trick. Where with an ollie you just jump up and make the board jump with you (and usually over an obstacle) and you land back on the board, the kickflip adds a flipping of the board and then landing back on it.

Practice makes perfect

The easiest way to practice for kickflips while avoiding the standard broken wrists and twisted ankles is to practice indoors without actually riding on the board. Just use one foot to kick up the board and use the opposite hand to reach down and flip it sideways. Watch the board carefully as it flips in the air, and stomp your foot down when the grip tape comes around again. Unlike with an ollie, you can't just stomp down on the board at any time, because that grip tape is turning around with the skateboard.

I'm ready to start doing kickflips

Now that you feel you're ready, let's get out on some smooth pavement. Start by warming up with a few ollies. You need to do ollies pretty regularly to practice for kickflips. After all, a kickflip really only adds about 2 moves to an ollie. Now that you're ready, start with a nice ollie with some decent air. I assume you're not standing goofy style, in which case just use the opposite side I tell you. Take your left foot and kick it sideways, scraping the bottom of your shoe against the side of the grip tape as it kicks out. Don't kick it out too far, or your body will rotate and you won't be able to get your foot back under you in time. You need to keep balanced because this is a very quick move. Your left foot should have rotate the board in the air. When the grip tape comes around again, stomp down with both feet on the board. After you fall down, get back up and do it again.

Alright, I still can't do a kickflip

Don't worry, spaz, kickflips are difficult. Even accomplished skaters will still mess up a kickflip. It takes a lot of practice. When you've got some down time, check out these videos of successful kickflips, many of them featuring skateboarders you know (and a few legends are mixed in there when they were really young).

How to do a kickflip in under 1 minute


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