X Games Austin 2014: Skateboarding Tricks 101

X Games Los Angeles 2012 - Day 4With the X Games moving south this year to Austin, there’s a new audience that, in majority, will get its first dose of extreme sports’ biggest event and what it has to offer.

Like recent years, X Games Austin will mainly focus around three major sports, skateboarding, BMX and moto – with RallyCross and Stadium Super Trucks mixed in as well.  It might be a lot to learn, but don’t worry, we’re here to help.

We’ll start with perhaps the most recognizable of the three – skateboarding.

You’ve probably forgotten most of the tricks since you haven’t picked up a copy of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater since it was good.  It all begins with the placement of the feet on the board.

If the feet are placed on the back of the board and it’s lifted into the air, that’s called an ollie.  If the feet are placed near the front and the board is lifted into the air, that’s called a nollie, or nose ollie.

A skater can also ride what’s called switch, or fakie – riding backwards with the tail facing the travel direction.  From there, the opportunities are pretty limitless – it’s basically anything the rider can come up with.

There are all different types of aerials – which combine rotation and grab – that can be done in the air and while we wish we could explain them all, there’s simply too many.  The most common include:

  • Rotation-based tricks (like the 900 and the 1080)
  • Frontflips and backflips
  • Indy – grabbing the toe-side rail with your back hand while doing a backside air
  • Japan Air – pull the board up behind the back with knees pointed down
  • Mute – grabbing with front hand on toe side, between the feet, while turning backside
  • McTwist – an inverted backside 540, usually while grabbing mute
  • Nosegrab and tailgrab – pretty self explanatory

Along with the grab tricks, there are a variety of flip tricks as well.  Unlike the aerials, which need speed and major air provided only from a ramp, flip tricks typically can be done on flat ground.  There are three main types – a kickflip, a heelflip, and a pop-shuvit.  From those three come a wide variety of tricks that combine two of the three, add rotation, or simply were concocted out in some 7-11 parking lot.  What you’re most likely to see at X Games Austin would be:

  • Kickflip – horizontally flipping the board 360 degrees
  • Heelflip – like a kickflip, but is executed with the heel of either the back or front foot
  • Pop-shuvit – rotating the skateboard in a 180-degree motion without flipping the board
  • Hardflip – combines a frontside pop shuvit with a kickflip
  • Ollie impossible – vertical 360-degree rotation of the board around back or front foot
  • Inward heelfip – heelflip executed at the front of the board in the nollie position
  • Laser flip – a frontside 360 shuvit with a heelflip, also called a frontside 360 shove-it heel flip

Last but certainly not least is grind tricks.  Much like the other two styles, there’s a wide array of tricks that can be done on the board while shredding up metal or concrete – about 50 or so actually.

The most basic is the 50-50 grind, when both trucks are sliding on the edge.  The 5-0 grind, when the back trucks grind the edge while the front truck is suspended above the edge, is another basic grind.

The boardslide, riding along the edge on the wooden deck while the board sticks out, is often used in a street scenario.  Most other tricks branch out based on those three, getting more complicated as it goes – maybe that’s why we tend to only see big-time grinds during the street event.  What you’ll likely see the most at X Games Austin would be:

  • Nosegrind – the board's front truck grinds an edge, while the back truck over the edge
  • Crooked grind – like a nosegrind, but the tail of the board is angled away from the edge
  • Overcrook grind – similar to a crooked but the tail angles towards the far side of the edge
  • Smith grind – back truck grinds an edgel, while the front truck hangs over the near side
  • Feeble grind – back truck grinds a rail while the front truck hangs over the rail's far side
  • Bluntside – tailslide where the nose of the board goes over the rail/ledge
  • 50-50 – body varial a 50-50, while jumping and doing 180, then landing back on the board

We cannot forget about manuals either.  A manual extends a combination by balancing the board on one set of wheels without letting either side of the deck touch the ground.  These can be difficult to pull off after a big trick, but very rewarding from the judges perspective.

Knowing all of these tricks will certainly give you a greater understanding , but if you want to become an expert, there’s really only one way to do so – watch the X Games for yourself.

Ed Miller is a contributor for  CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @PhillyEdMiller or “like” CraveOnline Sports on Facebook.

Photo Credit: Getty