Skateboarding: Legendary Tricks

Skateboarding: Legendary Tricks

by Steve Badillo


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Compiling more legendary skateboarding figures and their pioneering tricks, this comprehensive resource details dozens of spectacular stunts—combining invaluable technical information with insightful historical perspectives. Each feat is captured in action sequence and captioned allowing aspiring riders to learn how to perform them. A history of the tricks, featuring their legendary inventors, is also included. Blending background and how-to, this copiously illustrated reference explains amazing maneuvers that changed the sport and encourages a deep respect for the legends that made skateboarding the worldwide passion it is today.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781884654350
Publisher: Tracks Publishing
Publication date: 03/01/2010
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 976,003
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Steve Badillo has coauthored three top-selling skateboarding guides, including Skateboarder's Start-Up, Skateboarding: Book of Tricks, and Skateboarding: New Levels. He has worked as a stunt double and actor in numerous commercials and films featuring skateboarding, including Lords of Dogtown. He lives in Ventura, California. Doug Werner has coauthored five skateboarding guides and a dozen other sport-instruction guides, including the Start-Up Sports® series. He lives in Chula Vista, California.

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Legendary Tricks

By Steve Badillo, Becca Badillo, Gavin Badillo

Tracks Publishing

Copyright © 2007 Doug Werner and Steve Badillo
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-884654-98-5



Born in Hawaii, Larry Bertlemann, aka "The Rubberman," was a prominent surfer and skateboarder during the late '60s and '70s. Larry invented the bertslide while skating and incorporated it into his surfing repertoire by laying his hand down onto the water while carving the waves. The bertslide can be done on banks, ramps, pools and flat ground resulting in a trick that can be performed anywhere by anyone. Larry said he surfed for himself and the public not for the judges of contests. He was doing something totally new.

How do you score a maneuver you have never seen before?

— The Rubberman

The Dogtown boys took his influential style of sliding and adapted it to the banks, ditches and pools of Santa Monica and Venice. Jay Adams, Stacy Peralta, Tony Alva and the other Z-boys made the bertslide popular by adding variations to it like the 360 or 540 bertslides. Overrotating the slide gave it a stylish new depth.

The cutback (bert) was a very progressive move in surfing. To be able to change direction 180 degrees and slash off the white water and keep riding in the direction the wave was breaking was truly innovative.

— Tom "Wally" Inouye

Bertlemann had an unquenchable thirst for speed and riding on the edge. Years of surfing, skateboarding and motorcycles caught up with Larry in 1998. His adventurous lifestyle resulted in two degenerating disks, paralyzing the right side of his body. Luckily, surgery and therapy have restored his motion. The legendary bertslide is a fundamental trick for skateboarders to develop and learn board control.

This is a backside 540 bertslide. Approach the bank with fast to medium speed — this helps with the rotation. Carve into the bertslide and put both hands down on the bank. Start sliding the board around 360 by pushing your tail foot backside.

Overrotate your slide for best results. As you come around the first 360, you may have to adjust your hands on the ground to help your board rotate.

For the last 180, turn your head and shoulders around so your board can follow you. Push off the ground and swing the nose around leaning toward the flat bottom. Try it snakeskin style.



The wallride is a primal urge to attack a vertical wall with a kickturn. In the early '70s, when skateboarding started getting aggressive, young skaters would venture from bank to wall or flat ground to wall. Skaters like Bob Nichi were seen using little bank to walls to do backside kickturns around 1975 or 1976. I think the wallride is one of the tricks that skaters were able to perform at the same time in different places because of the new wheels and board designs of that day.

But the wallride stuck with one of the early pioneer skateboarders so much that his friends call him "Wally." In 1974 or '75 Tom "Wally" Inouye had a knack for doing the wallride before most other skaters, and he could do them high on the wall. Wally remembers skating Repetto Elementary School, which had a couple of banks and a downhill hallway. The school also had a wall about 3 feet high with only about 3 to 4 inches of bank at the bottom. Wally tried hitting the bank wall many times but didn't land it. Then one day when skating with his friends, Gary Zack, Jeff Walters, Dean Eddows, Jack Martin and Pat Driscroll, he attacked the wall at an angle instead of hitting it straight on.

This approach allowed Wally to land it almost every time. No one else could do it. Soon after his friend yelled out "Wally" and pointed to Tom. Tom's other friends joined in calling out "Wally." Since that day Tom was forever to be Wally. Wally became a notable pool rider in the '70s and launched his own company IPS (Inouye Pool Service).

Other skaters to do wallrides were Kevin "The Worm" Anderson, who did the Vermont drop in 1975. In 1977 Dave Hackett and Chris Strople did wallrides at Skatopia Skatepark, which had a brick wall coming out of the half-pipe. The trick gained further popularity when the skaters of Venice in the late '80s destroyed wallrides with variations and increased difficulty. Skaters like Aaron "Fingers" Murray, Jesse Martinez, John Thomas, Natas, Christian Hosoi and many others defined Venice skating with their wallrides.

I remember learning the wallride in San Fernando Valley at Balboa Banks. The banks were very wide. My friends and I would do a wallride, then a bottom turn and another wallride. We surfed Balboa Banks with wallrides all the way down the length of the banks.

All we tried to do is emulate an off-the-lip move from surfing.

— Tom "Wally" Inouye

With most wallrides you want to go as fast as you can. This bank to wall has a gap in it so I skated at an angle to ollie. Have your feet spread out as wide as you can for board control. Snap a little ollie and throw your weight up onto the wall. Let the board suck up onto the vert by bending your knees and keeping your head in transition. Level the wallride out by keeping the board parallel with the ground. Now start to guide the board with your front foot by swinging it around 90 degrees. As the nose comes around, your back foot should be putting pressure on the tail to lift the nose to get ready for landing. Compress and ride away. Now try frontside wallrides.



The tailblock, aka tail tap, was a trick invented when skateboarders began skating pools and hitting the lip with speed. These guys would go up for grinds, grab the board and end up with the tail on the coping. This trick was made famous by skaters like Jay Adams, Tony Alva, Duane Peters, Steve Olson, Shogo Kubo and Paul Constantineau in 1976-'77. Paul Constantineau helped popularize it with his "Tail Tap" pro model from Dogtown Skateboards in 1978.

In the '70s, pool riding became the terrain of choice for pro skateboarders. The tailblock was a staple trick and variations started to emerge in magazines and ads. Frontside tailblocks, backside tailblocks, grabbing the nose with your backside hand, and grabbing the nose with your crail hand became tricks worth notice. Pros like Peter Hewitt, Benji Galloway and Al Partanen do them today in pools, skateparks and ditches.

Tailblocks were also the name of the tail plate hardware that early skateboarders used to make the trick easier to balance on the tail. With different types of materials (wood, plastics and fiberglass) and styles of tailblocks, these skaters were able to attack the coping. Today's skaters are doing a greater variety of tricks that require a more streamlined board setup, so tailblock hardware has basically disappeared.

When riding in pools we did it a lot ... over at the Dogbowl. We would go up on top, pivot on the tail and drop back in ... going frontside and backside. Just surf skating.

— Paul Constantineau

This is a frontside tailblock. This trick is best done on pool coping, parking blocks or cement blocks. Approach the top of the ramp with enough speed to stall on the coping. As you hit the parking block, reach down and grab the nose as your back wheels hit the coping. Make sure your tail foot is on the tail and secure. Roll up and stall your tail on the coping. Your trucks and wheels should be in the air not touching the coping. The only thing touching the coping should be the tail.

Pivot on your tail frontside and lean toward the transition. You may air back in the transition depending on the ramp. Roll away feeling stoked.


Frontside Air

Tony Alva, aka "Maddog," is given credit for inventing the frontside air around 1977. The frontside air caused a turning point in skateboarding because the rider was able to leave the ground and blast vertically into the air. Although other skateboarders were doing it around the same time (San Diego skateboarders), Tony's style and ability to do it higher in pools made this trick famous.

Guys weren't doing airs on waves, guys weren't doing airs on snowboards ... we did the first airs on an extreme level ... not only to board sports, but first and foremost skateboarding.

— Tony Alva

Tony started and perfected the frontside air in the legendary Dogbowl and Gonzales bowl. The Dogtown boys practiced new moves with the assurance that they would not get kicked out or have the police coming around. This skateboard sanctuary provided the right environment for vertical tricks to be invented and perfected. Even with their different styles, guys like Jay Adams, Stacy Peralta, Paul Constantineau, Shogo Kubo, Jim Muir and others would push one another and feel free to progress skateboarding and find out what was possible. Carving with more and more speed, Tony discovered that he could smack the lip, bounce his back wheels off the coping, grab the board frontside with his indy hand in the tuck knee position, hang in the air and land it.

Every skater should have some form of frontside aerial trick. Whether it's indy, mute, lien, stalefish, tail grab or mellon, the air comes from the original frontside air tuck knee.

Frontside airs are fun and should be in everyone's bag of tricks. Skate as fast as you can. The faster you go, the higher the air will be. This trick can be done with an early or late grab, either way is fine. Hit the coping going frontside and snap your frontside ollie. Grab the board with your indy hand directly in the middle of the board. Float as long as you can and start turning your nose back into the transition. As you land, try to hit the top of the transition to get good compression for the next trick.


Rock N Roll

The middle of the board can now be used as a focal point of making something happen on your skateboard in the world of tricks.

Steve Olson

One of the first lip tricks most skaters learn is a rock n roll, especially when you are learning to skate transition. You start off with your fakies and kickturns, then your front trucks go past the coping and you do a rock to fakie. Now you're confident enough to combine kickturns and rock to fakie and it turns into a rock n roll. Now that you're ready to learn rock n roll, let's talk about where the trick originated.

In the late '70s, skaters with plenty of confidence created the rock n roll. As with many tricks, skaters invented maneuvers at the same time in different places. Legend has it that a skater in Northern California, Richie De Losada, was the first to do a rock n roll. Around the same time, Tim Marting from Alotaflex was given credit for the trick. But for all the skaters who were doing rock n rolls, one rider stood out among the others. In 1978 Steve Olson got the cover of Skateboarder Magazine doing a rock n roll. He won many contests with this go-to trick and combined it with lay back grinds. This took the trick to the next level with the boardslide rock n roll. Since then skaters have used the middle of the board to do tricks.

There are many variations of rock n rolls: frontside rock n roll, halfcab rock n roll, frontside lay back rock n roll, 360 rock n roll and others. But the traditional rock n roll in a backyard pool is still one of the coolest tricks.

This trick is done best on boulders. Have your feet spread out covering the front bolts and tail foot on the tail. You need only enough speed to get to the top of the ramp for this trick. Roll your front truck over the coping and put your wheels on the top deck of the ramp. As you roll over the coping, start turning your head and shoulders back into the transition with your body a little twisted. The nose of your board will follow you if you turn your head and shoulders around enough.

Then put some weight on the tail to lift up the nose and swing the board around 180 back into the transition. Compress and straighten out your knees. Now try a frontside rock n roll.



The first time I saw a pro do a millerflip was when I started skating cement parks. In the mid-'80s, there were not many near where I lived. I was too young to drive to parks like Upland Pipeline, Del Mar Skate Ranch and Skatercross. So when I could get someone to make the drive, I was stoked.

I saw him (Miller) do a Millerflip in the keyhole bowl at Lakewood working with Dale Smith, the coach of all coaches.

— Steve Olson

Skating up to the Combi Bowl in Upland is intimidating to a young skater. It's a big square bowl with a round bowl connected by a crazy shallow end that wasn't so shallow. I saw this kid skating the Combi with backside airs, lien airs and a frontside corner air in the square. Then I realized it was Steve Caballero. He made his lines look so easy — like anyone can do it. On his next run, he pulled out the millerflip in the round bowl. He went up and hit the lip, planted his hand frontside and pulled the board all the way around. It was so quick. I didn't even know what the trick was. The trick was named by the guy who invented it, Darrell Miller.

Around 1978, Darrell Miller was working on frontside inverts. He would just over-rotate the invert and slide into fakie. Miller was the resident pro at Skate City and had a reputation of being a gnarly skater. Jeff Grosso was a young skater at the time and recalls the intimidation Darrell Miller brought to the park, "Man he ripped." Miller had a moustache and would skate fast, doing stand-up grinds four blocks long. Then he would roll around, sit down and light up a Marlboro Red. Jeff remembers, "Whoa, he's smoking! Smoking is evil!"

When skating pool sessions, a lot of familiar tricks get thrown down, but this trick always gets cheers. Many pros like Duane Peters, Don Hamilton, Steve Caballero and Mike Vallely have performed this trick and have added many variations to it.

You need enough speed to spin all the way around, so medium to fast is best. Start by skating toward the coping and reach out with your indy hand reaching for the board. Grab indy and go into a frontside air, but you want to overrotate the board and body. Use your backside hand to help the rotation. Now, with your backside hand, try to reach for the coping. You will be blind when you grab the coping, but the faster you rotate, the easier it will be to plant your hand.

As you come in, you want to ride away fakie so keep rotating and put the nose under the coping. Push off the coping with your planted hand and lean fakie. Compress and skate away.


Layback Air

Florida's Kelly Lynn invented the layback air, aka layback invert. Kelly enjoyed doing frontside laybacks when surfing, so naturally he translated the trick to skateboarding. He started experimenting with them on banks at Moon Forest Skatepark in Ormond Beach, Florida in late 1977. Kelly began by doing frontside layback lipslides on banks. Then in early 1978, at a pool in Sensation Basin in Gainesville, he landed the layback air. The challenge became to get more upside down and to do them on bigger terrain. Before long he was doing them in the snake run at Sensation Basin, which had a true four feet of vert. Lynn became Florida's overall state champion at the age of 11 in 1976. He skated for Markel Skateboards while perfecting this trick. Other skaters like Mike McGill and Eddie Elguera popularized it on the West Coast. Some people thought Mike McGill had invented the layback air, but when questioned, he always gave credit to Kelly Lynn.

I remember going up with the intention of landing to tail and accidentally missing the edge of the pool on the way back in and almost making it. This caused a big light bulb to appear over my head and the very next one I tried to land inside the bowl on purpose and landed it first try ... it became my signature move.

— Kelly Lynn

This trick is legendary because it was the first time skaters combined airs and inverts in pools and ramps.

It's best to try it on a ramp that has some vert to it. Ride up to the lip with good speed. Make sure your feet are spread wide. Start reaching for the coping with your indy hand while you grab mute with the other. You should be grabbing your board and the coping at the same time. Pull the board around frontside like a frontside air, but put your weight on your invert hand. Swing the nose around 180 and put the board underneath your body.

Air back into the transition and let go of the coping. Compress and stand up for your rights.



In the late '70s, vertical skateboarding was becoming popular and with it, vert tricks were being created. Around 1977 Alan Gelfand invented the ollie in Florida. Skateparks with more vertical walls were opening all round Florida. Ollie began by hitting the lip and popping little airs to lipslides.


Excerpted from Skateboarding by Steve Badillo, Becca Badillo, Gavin Badillo. Copyright © 2007 Doug Werner and Steve Badillo. Excerpted by permission of Tracks Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Preface 6

Part 1 Early Tricks 8

01 Handstand 9

02 Daffy 17

03 Acid Drop / Bomb Drop 23

04 Slappy 31

05 Manual Roll 37

Part 2 Duane Peters 44

06 Sweeper 45

07 Disaster 51

08 Layback Grind 57

09 The Loop 65

Part 3 Inverts 70

10 Eggplant 71

11 Frontside Invert 77

12 Phillips 66 85

Part 4 Vert Airs 91

13 Mute Air 92

14 Caballerial 97

15 Judo Air 104

16 Stalefish 112

17 McTwist 118

18 Rodeo Flip 124

Part 5 Freestyle 130

19 Primoslide 131

Part 6 Grinds 138

20 Feeble Grind 139

21 Hurricane 145

22 Discolip 151

23 Suski Grind 157

24 Barley Grind 163

Part 7 Street 170

25 Natas Spin 171

26 Hardflip 177

27 Ghetto Bird 183

28 Laser Flip 189

29 Pole Jam 195

Bibliography 199

Resources 201

Index 207

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