History of the Skateboarding Trick
Skateboarding as we recognize it today has existed since its invention in the late 1940s. Since its
emergence, much of skateboarding’s appeal has been centered on the potential for stunts and
performance. There are a variety of different types of common tricks that are learned and
performed by skaters today.
Although boards resembling skateboards were seen as early as the 1940s, the skateboarding
tricks we are familiar with today did not emerge until later. Prior to the 1970s, the most common
skate tricks seen were 2D freestyle type maneuvers such as wheelies, manuals, and pivots. But
in the late 1970s and early 1980s, a number of new tricks were invented by Alan “Ollie” Gelfand
and Rodney Mullen that remain some of the most commonly seen tricks today. These include
the ollie and the kickflip, which opened the door for a variety of other aerial tricks, such as the
Types of Tricks
Since its invention in the late 1970s by Alan “Ollie” Gelfand, and its adaptation for use on flat
ground by Rodney Mullen in the early 1980s, the ollie has been one of the most commonly used
skateboarding tricks. It is useful because it provides the skater with a way to jump or over or up
to features of different heights. It can thus serve as a way to start a grind or slide, and can also
serve as an opening for other types of aerial tricks.
Flip tricks are another now common type of aerial trick derived from the ollie. To perform most
flip tricks, the skateboarder leaps into the air, and then spins the board in the air before returning
to the ground. A flip trick is defined as a kickflip if the board spins around the axis it is moving
along (and thus remains facing the same direction for the duration of the flip).
Slides and grinds both involve the skater building up momentum, then jumping to some type of
ledge or rail and sliding along it. The difference between a grind and a slide is the part of the
board that is in contact with the ledge. If the board itself is touching the ledge, the trick is a
slide. If the truck of the board (the part which attaches the wheels to the board) touches the
ledge, the trick is a grind. History of skateboarding tricks will never be the same again.
Marcus, Ben, and Lucia Daniella. Griggi. The Skateboard: The Good, the Rad, and the Gnarly:
An Illustrated History. Minneapolis, MN: MVP, 2011. Print.
Mullen, Rodney, and Sean Mortimer. The Mutt: How to Skateboard and Not Kill Yourself. New
York: Regan, 2004. Print.