[Authors note - this has been sitting in my google docs for months now, I’ve not really progressed much further but I’m still skating and still enjoying it so I thought I’d post it now. I’m going to try and post more this year even though four months of it are already up, so hopefully you’ll get some more #content. It was also far too long so I've split it accross two posts.]
I’d been riding a skateboard into working every day for a month or so (I realise I'm becoming more like Nathan Barley by the week) when I decided that I wanted to learn some tricks. The most essential skate trick is the Ollie, a jump on a skateboard where the board rises as you jump. To somebody whose only ever played Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater it seems easy, it is not.
When I was a kid I never managed to get a good Ollie, I could every now and then through sheer force of will do a terrible one standing still. Now I’m approaching 30 I decided to see if older me is more talented, physically capable or bloody minded.
An ollie when explained sounds like the simplest thing in the world, you ‘pop’ the tail of the board and slide your foot forward which drags the board into the air and levels it out. This is what I was taught when I was a kid but misses out so much. Nobody ever told me (or I didn’t pay attention to) what’s different to ‘popping’ the tail and just standing on it and jumping. The trick is less to think of it as standing on your tail but bouncing it off the ground as you jump. That’s what gives your board it’s initial upwards momentum as it springs back up.
The slide seems difficult but you can practice it stationary and weirdly I’d maintained the muscle memory some 20 years after I last tried it. So I tried to ollie and I ollied, which was unexpected. However I hadn’t won yet, every time I tried I would always turn in the air. I could land on the board every now and then but more often than not I’d be off balance and just stumble of. I remember vividly having this problem as a snotty ten year old.