and skateboarding is no different. The Ollie forged a new identity for skateboarding after its invention in the 1970s, and it lies at the root of nearly every significant move in street skating today. This groundbreaking no-handed aerial has also affected the evolution of surfing and snowboarding, and has left a permanent impression upon popular culture and language. This is the story of the Ollie, the technology that set the stage for its creation, and the skaters who used it to start a revolution.

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"When I saw the Ollie for the first time, I was like, "Good Lord, I have to do one of those!"…It was like seeing a man on the moon or something." — Chris Baucom

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Alan Gelfand in the concrete halfpipe at Clearwater Skateboard Park, Clearwater, Florida, 1978. Photo: © Bruce Walker. This photo is featured in Chapter 42: "A Changing Landscape"

Birth of Modern Skateboarding

A Secret History of the Ollie is more than just the story of the "Ollie"—the no-handed maneuver that allowed skaters to take flight. This unique illustrated series explores the birth of modern skateboarding, as well as some of its pioneers, groundbreaking moments, and history.

It is the first book to make the history of skateboarding digestible and accessible to non-skaters and the general public with text that is engaging and easy to read. It is also a visual history, with over 1200 images and photographs, some of which have never been in print before.

Regarded by many as the Bible, it is the ultimate book for fans of skateboarding, surfing, history, culture, photography, art, and extreme sports.

Volume 1: The 1970s
Available now: 912 pages; over 1200 images and photos

Volume 2: The 1980s
No release date set

Volume 3: The 1990s-2000s
No release date set

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"At the California contests thieves frequently stole Alan Gelfand's shoes, not because of their monetary value, but because they believed he had magnets hidden in them. They thought if he didn't have his shoes, then he couldn't do an Ollie. They were wrong." — Dan Murray

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Big O skatepark near San Diego, circa 1979, where some California skaters saw the Ollie for the first time. Photo: © Jim Goodrich

Early Cover Concepts
The first image is an alternate cover for the first volume, featuring a colorized Alan "Ollie" Gelfand. "Avocado Green" and "Harvest Gold." were two popular colors during the 1960s and 1970s, thus the use of similar green on this version. The second image is a cover concept for Volume 2 which shows the Ollie in its application on the street.

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The Pop Heard Around the World

OVER SEVEN YEARS IN THE MAKING, A Secret History of the Ollie tells in part, how a small, unknown group of skaters revolutionized skating around the world. Although the no-handed aerial skateboard maneuver known today as the Ollie is over 40 years old, its influence on skateboarding remains, and has never been surpassed.


Dogtown and the Z-Boys may have been an important part of the emerging American skate scene during the 1970s, but it wasn't the only scene. In California alone, besides Santa Monica and Venice, there were many other hot spots. They included San Diego, Upland, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Santa Cruz, Salt Creek, Vista, Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Oxnard, and San Francisco—all equally influential and significant for the skaters and innovations they delivered.

But far, far away from California, on the Gold Coast of Southern Florida, thousands of miles from the West Coast skateboard industry and its influential media, there was another tale unfolding. More obscure and under the radar, the Florida scene would have a dramatic and immeasurable impact on skateboarding, allowing it to literally take flight. It all started with the invention of the Ollie, a magical no-hands aerial and the signature move that would forever change skating.


Created in 1978, the Ollie, without a doubt, is the maneuver that changed skateboarding for all time. In
A Secret History of the Ollie, author, photographer, and skater Craig B. Snyder follows this revolutionary no-handed skate trick from its humble beginnings in his hometown of Hollywood, Florida, to the present day in this new historical multi-volume work with an origin story as dramatic and magical as the move itself.


Illustrated in color throughout,
A Secret History of the Ollie is not just the story of the Ollie, but a history of skateboarding like no other. Over 1200 images and photographs, many of which have never been published before, accompany 912 pages of some of the more crucial moments in skating history including the birth of the first aerials on land and in surfing.

Skateboard USA ollie skateboarding
Skateboard USA, Hollywood, Florida. This legendary skatepark was located off I-95 between Sheridan Street and Sterling Road.

912 pages
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1930287003
ISBN-13: 9781930287006
Dimensions: 9.3 x 7 x 2.2 inches
Shipping Weight: 4.7 pounds
Retail: $60.00
Printed in the U.S.A.
• TOP 10 PHOTOBOOKS Mother Jones
• BEST IN GENERAL TRADE ILLUSTRATED 58th Annual New England Book Show, Boston
• GOLD MEDAL Foreword Reviews: Book of the Year Award in Sports
• GOLD MEDAL FAPA President Book Awards
• GOLD MEDAL 20th Annual Independent Publisher Book Awards
• BEST IN SPORTS NYC Big Book Awards
• BEST IN SPORTS Independent Press Awards, New York