Kickflip is a trick you rotate the board with toe of your front foot during an ollie. It is the next step for skaters who have can do certain level of ollie, and basis of other flat tricks. Although you’ll be able to do it constantly once you understand, it may take a long to get there. The two biggest keys for kickflip are learning how to use your front foot, and getting used to having the board spinning right under you. This is an in-depth guide of learning kickflip explaining its stance, form, basic movement, and efficient way of practice.
*This guide is going to be explained with regular stance.
Stance and Form
Back Foot – Same as an Ollie.
As headline says, keep your toes on the edge of the tail to pop the tail firmly and steadily.
Front Foot – Angled and slightly Back.
Unlike ollie, front foot should be angled and placed slightly back. This is to make the motion of grinding up with the toes. Basically, position of your front foot is besides the front hardware but some people place wider and others place it narrower. Find the position where you feel comfortable in your learning process.
Upper Body – Turns More the Side than Ollie.
Turn your upper body to the side little more than you do in ollie. It is also an important factor in grinding up with the toes of your front foot and kicking through smoothly.
Where to Look and Position of Weight.
When you kickflip on flat ground, it is important to keep your eyes around the toes of your front foot and do not let them wander. *If you are going over an object, look at the top of the object, and look at where you land when jumping a stair set. Ideally, your weight should be behind your front foot and put same amount of power of both feet to make your board parallel to the ground.
Those are the stance and form to keep in mind. Make sure you adjust little position and angles which is comfortable for you.
Pop Tail Firmly
Once you are ready, pull your upper body straight up and pop the tail firmly. Up to this point, it is same as an ollie, but it’s important to keep weight position. Your front shoulders naturally open in order to connect to the kicking motion. The key is to be aware of the entire movement and doing each movement naturally.
Grind Up with Front Toes
Grinding up motion of kickflip is done closer to the front toes while ollie is done with the side of the front foot. You will be able to do this almost automatically when you have a good stance and form, and the correct direction to kick through.
Flick to 11 o’clock
Flick with snap of the ankle in the direction of about 11 o’clock. Perfect angle is slightly different in each person so find your best angle through your practice. It will be difficult to control, when you are doing trick with too much power. Make sure you are relax. Your stability and height will increase dramatically when you get the feeling of rotating only with your front foot without doing unnecessary body movement.
Same timing as Ollie
Timing of flicking is different in each person, but it is basically the same rhythm as an ollie. Practice with your normal ollie in mind.
As you can see, it is important to kick through the air at a precise angle, relaxed, and with the same rhythm as an ollie. Once you’ve successfully flicked, keep your eyes on the rotation, keep your weight positoin, and use your knee cushions to land on all four wheels at the same time.
Practice Method – Step by Step
We have looked through basics of the kickflip, but it is very difficult to learn in a day or two. Taking steps and learning gradually is very important method of learning kickflip. The first step is to learn how to turn the board, and the second step is to ride the turned board with both feet.
Need Proper Ollie Skill
Being able to do certain level of ollie is required to start learning kickflip. You should be able to consistently go over a set cone of at least about an foot high before you try.
STEP1. Learning Board Rotation
Your board may rotate in an unexpected direction and be dangerous if you try to land with both feet from the beginning. The first step is to learn how to turn the board without landing on both feet. An effective way to practice is to hold onto a fence at a reasonable height. You can hold your upper body in place by holding on to an object, so you can concentrate on learning how to move your feet without a risk of falling. Once you get the idea of spinning board, you can start practicing without holding on to the object and try to land on one foot in the air, either front or back, by lowering your foot to the ground first. You can do this while standing still or going slowly. Try as many as you can until you get used to rotating your board.
STEP2. Landing on Both Feet
The most difficult part of learning kickflip is to land on both feet. The first landing with both feet requires commitment. If you don’t have the confidence that the board is going to spin the way you want to, your body will reflexively run away. You need to get used to it through repeated practice. By practicing with one foot on the ground and switching the foot you put on the ground, your body will gradually learn the movement and you will have more time to land with both feet. Don’t worry about the height, just aim to make.
STEP3. Being Steadier and Higher
The next step is to make your kickflip more consistent and the higher. The only way to make your kickflip steadier is to practice repeatedly. If you have been practicing at a standstill, try to make while going slowly. In order to increase your height, you should be aware of the stance of your front foot and the angle at which you kick through. The kickflip is easier to spin if you place your front foot shallowly and kick through sideways, although you won’t get as high. Try this if you land before the board has finished spinning. On the other hand, if you can put with your front foot deep like an ollie, and flick to forward. Try changing the way you do it gradually so that you can eventually get closer to the feeling of an ollie.
Learn at Your Own Pace Having Fun.
The time takes to learn kickflips varies from person to person. Some very talented people can make it in only few days, but it usually takes few weeks or even months to learn in average. Do not worry even if your friend land his/her first kifkflips while you are still struggling. You will catch up if you practice enough in your own pace. The more you do, the more you will be able to develop your own kickflip. The feeling of catching the air with a snap is a great feeling.
Slow-motion with Various Angles
This is a video of a kickflip with as many different angles as possible, and edited at different playback speeds. It is also good to imagine motion of the tricks you wanna learn when you are not on the board. Hope this video helps.