After you’ve developed a familiarity with the kickflip, a sensible trick to add next to your repertoire is the heelflip. While bearing a relatively similar level of difficulty, a poorly executed heelflip is more likely to shoot up and bludgeon the groin area of the skater. Hence, better to learn the basics of flipping with the kickflip first. The overall mechanics of the heelflip are quite similar to those of the kickflip, save for the direction in which the front foot ‘kicks’ out.
What is a Heelflip?
The heelflip is a maneuver in which you impart spin on your board using the heel of your front foot while doing an ollie. As such, the rotation of the heelflip is opposite that of the kickflip. The heelflip is a fundamental element of many more complicated maneuvers such as the varial heellflip and the inward heelflip.
How to Heelflip?
You must be able to ollie as a prerequisite to the heelflip, as the heelflip is essentially a slightly modified ollie. If you are not able to ollie about 1 foot (30cm) consistently, it is probably best to keep practicing your ollie before moving onward to the heelflip. Our tutorial post for the ollie may help you.
Stance for Heelflip
The heelflip stance is similar to the ollie stance save for the positioning of your front foot. Your front foot should be just behind the front hardwares and the toes of your front foot near or just over the front edge of the board. Maintain a centered and well balanced distribution of weight over the board.
Direction of Body
Your body and your shoulders maintain a forward facing, upward trajectory during the execution of the heelflip. Keep your eyes focused on the area around the nose of the board and get ready to see your board flipping underfoot.
Popping the Tail and Dragging the Nose.
After popping down on the tail, drag the nose of your board with the heel of your front foot. This manner of leveling out the nose of the board is somewhat different from that of the kickflip and the ollie and is the primary reason why your board may begin to react wildly. As with the kickflip, you may practice putting your back foot on the ground right after you pop your tail as a safer alternative for familiarizing yourself with dragging/flipping the board with the heel of your foot.
Use Snapping and Kick Off
As your heel approaches the edge of the nose whilst dragging upwards for the purpose of leveling, snap your front foot outwards, diagonally and forward. Meanwhile, stay aware of the need to maintain the weight of your body and your momentum centered over the board so that you may quickly draw your front foot back towards you after it has initiated the board’s spin.
Following Board With Eyes
With the proper leveling and snapping motion of your front foot, your board will begin to spin. Be aware of your balance and follow the rotation of your board with your eyes so that you may catch it in the air. As with the kickflip, the height at which you are able to level off the nose of the board will determine the height at which your heelflip will apex.
It’s rarely a bad thing to have landed with a slight dependence on good luck, but a consistently well-landed heelflip is contingent mostly on catching the board underfoot in the air with your feet over the hardwares of the board. Practice as best you can landing on all four wheels at the same time.
Practicing the Heelflip
Take it one step at a time, and be sure to bring to the table an already consistent and confident ollie. Remember to focus on jumping upwards, remember to focus on maintaining your momentum and the weight of your body directly over the board as it rotates underfoot. Be efficient with the motions of your body. Practice practice practice practice, and make sure you have fun. If it’s not going smoothly, shake your head and crack a smile at the fact that you’ve been trying it over and over nonetheless. There is a ripe and comforting humor there for sure if you take a moment to think about it.
There have been many a great heelflip in the history of skate. Here at Nollieskateboarding the immediate examples that come to mind are from Lindsey Robertson’s part in Zero’s “Dying to Live” video released in 2002. It is a part replete with solid heelflip action. Heepflip grabs and heelflips into handrails, for example. The ending flip at the Hollywood High 16-set is just wow.