How to Kickflip on a Skateboard

01
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Kickflip Setup

Skateboard Kick Flip

The kickflip is the hardest of the basic skateboarding tricks and one of the most popular skateboarding tricks to learn. Learning to kickflip first, before learning other skateboarding flip tricks, will help you in the long run. If you are brand new to skateboarding, you'll first need to learn how to ollie

A kickflip starts with an ollie, but you flick the board with your foot to make it spin underneath you while in the air. In a clean kickflip, the skater kicks the board with the top and side of his front foot, the skateboard flips and spins over at least once, and the skateboarder lands on the skateboard comfortably, wheels down, and rides away. 

02
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Stance

Skateboarding
Michael Andrus

Put your back foot flat on the tail of your skateboard and put the ball of your front foot right behind the front trucks. Doing an ollie and a kickflip you're stationary is possible, but most people find it easier to do while rolling. If you would like to learn to kickflip with your skateboard stationary, you can place your skateboard on some carpet or grass to keep it from rolling. If you prefer to learn to kickflip while your skateboard is rolling, don’t go very fast at the start. Just get rolling at a comfortable speed and then move your feet into this position.

03
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The Pop

Ollie as high as you can. The technique is basically the same, except for what your feet do while in the air.

04
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The Flick

Skateboards
Jamie O'Clock

When you launch up into the air, slide the side of your foot up the board like you do in a regular ollie. Slide it up toward the edge of the nose of the board and flick the nose of your skateboard with your front foot. The motion is like flicking something away with the back of your hand that's buzzing around. Except with your foot. On a skateboard. Here's how it works:

As you ollie, you drag your front foot up the board, right? Well, instead of stopping, continue the drag toward the heel edge corner of your deck. Using the top of your toes, flick the board. The motion of your foot should be out and a little down. Be careful not to just kick the skateboard down -- your foot will be underneath the skateboard, making it impossible to land right. Instead, you want the motion to be both down and out back behind you.

It's called a flick because the action is quick and just with the toes. In fact, try to aim for using your little toe. It only takes a little strength -- don't try to kick it. You don't want any leg strength in there at all. Just a simple little flick. Like a tap. 

05
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The Nose

Foot Positions

Your target is the corner of the nose of your skateboard. Flick your skateboard there, and you will have the most control. See the photo to get an idea of your target flick area.

06
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Get Out of the Way

Skateboard Tricks
Jamie O'Clock

After flicking the board with your front foot, get your feet out of the way so that the board can flip in the air. This is important. Don't let your front foot end up underneath the board. After flicking the skateboard, pull your front foot out and up. Remember that this is all happening in the air -- and very quickly.

07
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Stay Level During Flip

Skater Steven Reeves
Michael Andrus

While the skateboard is flipping underneath you, it can be easy to lose your level. That means keeping your shoulders level with the ground and pointed in the direction you are going. Try not to turn to the side and try not to tilt your upper body so that one shoulder is higher than the other. Staying level will help you when you land.

08
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Catch the Skateboard

Once the skateboard has spun around completely one time, put your back foot on it to catch it.  Catch the skateboard with your back foot and then put your front foot on.

09
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Land and Roll Away

Skater Steven Reeves
Michael Andrus

As you fall back toward the ground and land, bend your knees deeply again. Doing this helps absorb the shock of landing and keeps you in control of your board. Then just roll away.

10
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Troubleshooting

Skateboard Flip
Michael Andrus
  • Credit carding -- This is when the board flips vertically and hits you in the groin. Try to keep the board spinning only on the vertical axis (nose to tail).
  • Partial flip -- When you kickflip, the skateboard doesn't flip all the way over. That's all right -- focus on landing with both feet, even if your board is upside down. Next time try to flick the board harder. Make sure you are flipping off of the edge of the nose. Flick the skateboard out and down, not just down. Otherwise, your foot will keep the skateboard from spinning.
  • Chickenfoot -- This is when you pop up into the air, but when you land, for some reason one of your feet always seems to land on the ground. Read this FAQ on Chickenfoot for more help.
  • Low kickflips -- This happens a lot. Read more about how to kickflip higher for help.
  • Losing the board -- If your board flies out in front of you, then you might be flipping it in the wrong place, and there's a good chance you are using too much leg strength. Make sure you flick the board using just your ankle, not kicking it with your leg -- and make sure you are flicking the corner or the deck. If your body turns in the air, this is also because you are using too much leg strength. You want a soft flick or tap to spin the board. If your board spins sideways, that means you are flicking it, but too hard. If this is your problem, think "tap" instead of "flick."
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Your Citation
Cave, Steve. "How to Kickflip on a Skateboard." ThoughtCo, Aug. 30, 2017, thoughtco.com/how-to-kickflip-on-skateboard-3002975. Cave, Steve. (2017, August 30). How to Kickflip on a Skateboard. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-kickflip-on-skateboard-3002975 Cave, Steve. "How to Kickflip on a Skateboard." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-kickflip-on-skateboard-3002975 (accessed November 23, 2017).