HOW TO OLLIE
THE OLLIE IS AN ADVANCED MOVE and not for beginners. In spite of that, it is often the first maneuver that new skaters want to learn and master before learning any of the essential basics. Perhaps this is because the move is so magical and a real demonstration of power. On this page you will find a range of how-to’s for the move, beginning with the first one by Alan “Ollie” Gelfand himself from 1979. If you have a trick tip for the Ollie that you’d like to share, including illustrations, photos, or videos, please contact us.
When Alan Gelfand’s trick tip for the Ollie on vert appeared in SkateBoarder mag in January 1979 as part of a feature called “Special Tips on Progressive Aerials” no one was quite prepared for what was going to be unveiled in the pages of skateboarding’s bible that month. Up until that point in time, only a handful of people outside of South Florida had seen or heard about the move. “The No-Hand Ollie Air,” as it was referred to in the magazine piece, was otherworldly and there was literally nothing else like it at the time. The fact that Alan Gelfand was unknown amateur skater from Florida, and not a California pro, made it even more astounding. James Cassimus photographed Gelfand in the concrete halfpipe at the Lakewood skatepark in California sometime in the fall of 1978. This was the same place where Gelfand had debuted the move during the summer of 1978.
SkateBoarder Magazine, January 1979
THE NO-HAND OLLIE AIR
by Alan Gelfand
- Start the approach at an angle similar to that used in a frontside kick turn.
- After reaching the lip, just before the wheels edge out, kick the tail. Don’t go into it with a lot of speed, otherwise the board will fly away.
- Make sure the heel of the back foot is closer to the rear truck than normal and that the front is placed behind the lead truck. These foot placements are essential, since the feel will change positions in mid-air.
- When you kick the tail, you want to totally unweight and pull away from the board. Thus, the kicking action will keep the board with you. In doing this, the body and board will automatically do a 180 in the air and be set up for landing. Keep in mind that the upper half of the body will move before the lower half does.
- As you re-enter on the vert, keep your body over the board and easily place your feet down on it. It is important to keep your weight centered on the re-entry, otherwise the board will catch and track off of the course you want.
- Now just ride it out and set up for the next move.
- Equipment: A strong, light board is essential. Position the back truck a little closer to the tail than in normal riding. Choose a good strong truck that will handle the stress of continuous take-offs and landings. I use Mid-Tracks on a 9-3/4” wide Double Beamer.
- Hint: Start off doing it on a flat surface. After you’ve mastered it, try it on some moderate banks and after that, do it on the vert. Always try to keep your body positioning in tune with the board. Don’t over amp because you’ll blow it.
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TONY HAWK: HOW TO DO AN OLLIE
Presented by Men’s Fitness in 2012, this short tutorial video featuring the Birdman himself, Tony Hawk, demonstrates how to do what has become one of skateboarding’s most famous and popular moves.