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What is a Kickflip?

By Holly Collins
Updated Mar 06, 2024
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A kickflip, sometimes called a magic flip, is a popular skateboarding trick. Considered one of the coolest tricks, it is frequently photographed. A kickflip involves a skateboarder jumping their board into the air while making it flip or spin underneath them.

This trick is accomplished by the skateboarder using the back foot to push down on the board and pop it off the ground while the front foot or ankle flips or spins the board while the rider is in the air. A clean kickflip is when the rider completes the trick with ease and ends it by landing on the board, continuing to ride.

The kickflip builds upon another trick called the ollie. An ollie is accomplished when a skateboarder uses their weight to push down on the back of the board propelling it into the air with feet still attached. Both rider and board then complete the trick by landing together. It’s like jumping without having the skateboard leave your feet.

A kickflip begins with the ollie and adds the spin of the board under the rider during the jump. Because the kickflip incorporates the ollie, it is also referred to as an ollie kickflip.

Many variations of the kickflip exist. It is the first of the flip tricks many skateboarders attempt. A doubleflip involves two flips of the board while in the air. Tripleflip or quadflips are accomplished by rotating the board three and four times while the skateboarder is in the air. A heelflip is when the board is flipped in the opposite direction.

Rodney Mullen is credited with inventing the ollie kickflip sometime in the early 1980’s. His trick is not the first to bear the kickflip name. The original kickflip was created by Kurt Lindgren, and appeared on the skateboard scene in the 1970’s. That move is now commonly referred to as the old school kickflip. The old school kickflip, gained widespread popularity among skateboarders in the 1970’s earning Lindgren the nickname “Mr. Kickflip.”

An old school kickflip differs from the ollie kickflip. The old school trick is achieved by the rider standing motionless on the skateboard. Alternatively, the rider may be moving but very slowly. With both feet on the center of the board, the toe of one foot is used to flip the board over while the rider jumps into the air and lands back on the board.

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