You’ve probably heard of the Kickflip before you even picked up the board. It’s a classic trick that every skater needs to have under his belt. Today, we’re showing you exactly how to do it.
The Kickflip is acheived by combining an Ollie and a kick-flick motion towards the front-foot’s heel-side corner of the skateboard. This makes the board flip toward the heel, along the board’s length-axis.
The Origin of the Kickflip
Before you learn this trick, it is important to know the history behind the Kickflip. Will knowing the Kickflip’s origin story help you land it? Probably not. Does knowledge equal power? Most definitely. Buckle up, folks, it’s story time!
The original Kickflip was very different than the Kickflip we know and love today. Curt Lindgren invented the trick in the 1970’s. Curt performed the trick by using the top of his toe, placed under his board, flipping the board upwards. When done this way, the trick would not get off the ground much and required the rider to have both feet facing the nose.
In 1982, Rodney Mullen modified the trick, inventing the modern-day Kickflip. Rodney would use a flat ground ollie to begin the trick, then initiate the flip by sliding his front foot off the top fo the board which would allow him to pop the trick higher, and control the direction of the board during the flip. The Kickflip became a common trick for freestyle skateboarders and eventually street skaters as well.
Are you ready for Kickflips?
I don’t know how many times we have seen the very first trick someone tries to learn be the Kickflip. This will set you up for failure. It is VERY important to learn tricks in an order of progression. This is what makes Skateboarding Made Simple so effective. It lays all the practice steps out in an exact sequence of progression so you are always improving.
Before getting into the Kickflip, you should be very comfortable on your board and have the following tricks down:
- Frontside 180
- Backside 180
- Pop Shove It
- Frontside Shove It
The above is the sequence of tricks that Braille recommends. Once you have these down, the Kickflip should be a lot easier to learn.
That being said, the Kickflip is one of the coolest and most fun tricks there is, so it’s understandable that everyone wants to learn it first! Watch the video below for an in-depth look at how the Kickflip works and how you can go about learning to Kickflip. You’ll learn how to position your feet, how to flick with your front foot, and how to land on the board and ride away clean. You’ll also be able to look at the Kickflip in super slow motion and see how the trick breaks down.
Once you’ve watched the video, read the information below for a greater understanding of the mechanics of the Kickflip.
Now that you’ve had a chance to watch the Kickflip video tutorial, keep all the details fresh in your mind by going over what we’ve learned. This recap should do the trick!
- Foot Position
- Body Position
- Front Foot Flick
- Practice Steps
- Landing & Rolling Away
The first thing to know about this trick is the foot position is very, very important. Your back foot is going to want to be in the middle of the tail standing on the balls of your foot. The ball of your back foot should be applying pressure evenly at the tip of the tail, with the heel of that foot slightly raised. Having your back foot in this position will generate more power and enable you to pop your board and have it flip under you much easier than if you were standing flat-footed.
Your front foot is going to want to be behind the bolts at about a 45-degree angle. Think of how you would position your front foot for an ollie. Now pivot your front heel towards your back foot, and hang your front heel off the edge of the board. Your front foot’s toes should be pointing diagonally on your boards towards the toe-side pocket of the nose.
The body position for the Kickflip is an often overlooked aspect of this trick. For an Ollie or Pop Shove-it, for example, your shoulders are in line with the bolts of your skateboard and your chest is facing outward, the same direction your toes are pointing. However, for the Kickflip, your shoulders and chest will be facing a different direction.
Think about how your body is positioned while you are pushing your skateboard. Your chest is opened up, facing towards the nose of your skateboard, and your shoulders are perpendicular to the bolts of the skateboard. This is the same body position you’ll need to utilize when popping a Kickflip.
If your chest is facing the toe-side, you may end up flicking down and pushing the skateboard away from you. When you have your chest pointed towards your nose, your body will be in a better position to properly flick the Kickflip and get your feet back onto the board for the landing.
Front Foot Flick
It is important to get your feet and body into the proper Kickflip position and then start practicing the flick.
The flick is key. One detail that is often missed is people tend to think you flick down with your foot but in reality, you want your foot to flick off the front corner of the nose up and out, not down.
One of the first practice steps you can use to help you learn the flick of the Kickflip is to just bend your knees and practice sliding your foot up the board and off. You want to flick off the front side of your shoe and off the corner of the nose. This is by far the most important detail of the Kickflip.
The next practice step is to basically land one footed. Practice flipping the board and then stepping off with your back foot and trying to catch it with your front foot. This will get your comfortable with the motion of the flip and the timing of it.
Landing & Rolling Away
With those practice steps mastered, the only thing left for you to do is to get your back foot onto the board for the landing. Once you pop, proceed to bend your back leg and let the board flip under you. Bending the knee of your back leg will bring your foot up slightly, allowing the board to complete the flip.
Wait for the board to flip all the way around and catch it once you see the grip tape. As always, stomp it on the bolts! Land with your knees bent and roll away. This will probably take a bit of practice but stick with it and you will get it!
For the full tutorial that will teach you all the exact practice steps for learning the Kickflip get Skateboarding Made Simple. At BrailleSkateboarding.com we have everything you need to help you progress. Our full tutorial Skateboarding Made Simple is a unique approach to learning to skate created by expert instructor Aaron Kyro. The full lesson plan Volume 1-7 will take you from beginning to advanced skating!
Show us your best Kickflips! Braille Skateboarding wants to see Kickflips from all over the world, so film a quick clip of you doing your best Kickflip and post it on Instagram tagging @brailleskate, #brailleskate, and #brailleskateboarding. Let us know which piece of advice helped you the most so we can highlight that and we can get more people landing Kickflips!