The Dorkiest way to Learn a Kickflip

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, I bought a skateboard. A skateboard seemed like it would be a fun new hobby with the additional time I had on my hands. To be honest, the real reason I bought the skateboard is that a girl ghosted me around this time and dated a skateboarder. Out of pettiness, I wanted to get good at skateboarding quickly, since I’m a nerd I tried to find a tech solution for getting good at skateboarding. Some quick background about me, I wasn’t starting from zero, when I was around ten-years-old (I’m 23-years-old now) I skateboarded and knew how to do an Ollie and a basic grind. So this was more relearn skateboarding from a decade ago. My eventual goal is to become able to do a kickflip.

I use to be an Assistant Video Coordinator for a women’s Canadian football team so I have experience using video to improve athletic performance which gave me this idea. When I was practicing skateboarding I got in the habit of filming the session on my iPhone which records at 240 frames-per-second. For those who don’t know film cameras record at 24 frames-per-second. So, when you can record at 240 frames-per-second and play it at 10% speed smoothly. The first trick I needed to relearn to get on the path to be a good skateboarder was an Ollie which is jumping the board up and landing on it.

This was my first attempt at an Ollie in a decade. As you can see I was a little rusty. From the video, you can see that I did not pop the board high enough off the ground with my bottom foot and my top foot didn’t push the board down correctly. So after analyzing this video and figuring out what I have to do differently I tried again.

As you can see with this second attempt I corrected the problems of last time. The board is popped up a lot higher and the top foot catches the board and pushes it down a lot more effectively. In the slow-motion you can see that I didn’t land the best and was a bit off-balance which is a little thing I can still improve with practice. After the success of the ollie, the next logical step before a kickflip is to try to learn a pop shuvit. For those of you that don’t know a pop shuvit is like an ollie but you rotate the board around on a horizontal plane when it’s in the air. When learning a new trick on a skateboard it’s best to start on grass so your wheels don’t roll and if you fall you just land on grass. That’s why my first attempts at a pop shuvit I started on grass.

That was my first attempt at a pop shuvit. As you can see I was nowhere close to landing it. I throw the board too far in Infront of me when I should have kept it under me. Additionally, my left foot wasn’t high enough in the air to catch the board and I had a weird spinning momentum.

My second attempt was better but still needs improvement. I pushed the board higher and raised my left foot more. I still had the problem where I throw the board too far in front of me and that why you can see I landed on the edge of the board and not in the center which on grass is okay but if I was on the pavement I would have fallen.

Amazingly with my shoe still untied I finally landed a pop shuvit on the grass. You can see that there are still hints of the mistakes I previously made like the board is still far Infront of me but I corrected it the best I could by leaning more forward. After landing it in the grass I moved back to the concrete to try it properly.

As you can see in this video the wheels moving freely immediately screwed up my ability to land the trick. The board moved under me more than it did on the grass which ruined where I landed. My motion seems to be pretty consistent with what I did successfully earlier but I’ll have to adjust to the new variable of wheel movement.

With this second attempt, I regressed. In the slow-motion, you can see that my problem is I didn’t pop the board enough and with my right foot I didn’t push the board around enough, probably because the board didn’t have the air time to do it. Despite landing a pop shuvit on grass I’m still far from landing the trick on the pavement.

Unfortunately, living in Saskatchewan this was the last attempt I had before the snow fell. So I can’t conclude by saying I’m now an amazing skateboarder who can do a kick-flip or even a pop shuvit. I’m not going to go to the Olympics or the X-Games as a skateboarder anytime soon. But, with modern tools, I can progress my skills faster than people in the past and when the snow melts I can pick up where I left off. With such a good slow-motion camera in everyone’s pocket, you can use this technic to help your athletic ability. For example, improving your golf swing or hockey shot with a slow-motion video would be an easy thing to do.