Skating is a sport, a hobby , a crime, and a vibe. However, above all, skateboarding is a community that supports one another and no matter what your reasons are for skating, you can bet on the skaters in your local park getting behind you. Whether you are trying to nail a nightmare big flip or simply trying to do a kickturn on a ramp without falling off, the skaters on-site will still be stoked if you pull it off.
This is why skateboarding is so rewarding and why even when you are learning to do the basics and skating has the potential to feel like a chore, it rarely does. That is down to the great company that you can keep. So with that in mind, it’s time for you to nail the basics without judgement and with as little stress as possible, and our guides will help with the latter.
In this guide, we look specifically at the skateboarding trick, the nollie. This is a variation of an ollie that is popped at the nose rather than the tail, offering a wealth of new ways to approach tricks that are much more technical, much more stylish and if you happen to be in a competition, will score much bigger points. So without further delay, here is our essential guide on how to Nollie.
What is A Nollie?
If you are familiar with an ollie, the concept of a nollie shouldn’t be too hard to understand. A nollie or ‘nose ollie’ is an ollie that you pop from the nose. It is basically a reverse movement of the standard ollie. Due to this, many get this mixed up with tricks like the fakie or switch ollie. The skater will pop the nose and slide their back foot along the grip tape toward the tail to level the board in the air.
This trick while very simple on paper, can prove to be quite tricky, especially for skaters just starting out. This requires the ability to essentially reverse everything that you know to be comfortable and familiar about an ollie and asks the skater to completely change their weight dispersion to allow this trick to happen. Some will take to it with ease, while others will take some time to adjust.
Who Invented the Nollie?
Who else but Rodney Mullen of course. The grandfather of freestyle skating had a hand in creating or at least modernising nearly every popular trick within the sport today and the nollie is no different. No one is truly sure when the nollie was first performed. However, you can find a quote in a Trasher issue from 1983 which was a tutorial from Rodney Mullen for Helipops which talks about Nollies. When Mullen was teaching the readers how to do this freestyle 3-shove variation, the skater stated that it is easiest to get into a reverse ollie position for this trick. This shows that Mullen was performing or at least thinking about these tricks way back then.
This would eventually lead to Dan Gallagher performing Nollie Hardflips and Nollie Flips for the first time and in the modern days of skating we live in, nollie variations are done regularly and tend to be the competition clinching tricks due to their added difficulty.
Is a Nollie Considered a Stance?
While regular, Goofy, Switch and Fakie are considered stances, nollies are not related to stance. Granted you can only do them when in your natural stance but they are simply another trick. Nollie is not a stance in the same way that an ollie is not linked to a stance. So when you are playing a game of skate, try not to make this mistake or get confused, or you’ll be picking up some extra letters.
Are There Different Types of Nollie?
As with just about every trick, there are variations that add some style, difficulty and aesthetic brilliance to this beginner trick. Thanks to this trick being the base for some very complicated tricks, there are countless. So for the sake of being concise, we will only be listing the variations that stick strictly to Nollies with no added extras. Here is a list of nollie variations below:
- Nollies With Rotation: Firstly, you have the nollie with a rotation. This is when the nollie is popped and then the skater does at least a half rotation in the air before landing, however, the number of rotations are only limited to the skater’s ability and air time.
- Nollie Pivots/Reverts: A Nollie Revert/Pivot is when the skater performs a nollie, or a nollie with a spin and then lands on the tail of the board to spin the board on it’s wheels for a further half rotation.
- Nollie North/South: This is when the skater will pop the board and take flight with their nollie. Then while sliding their foot up the board toward the tail, they will extend their foot out to do a nollie north, or alternatively, hang their front foot of the nose of the board to perform a nollie south.
- Helipops: This is not necessarily all that different from the first rotation listed. However, because this trick had a legitimate name, we thought it was worth mentioning. This is when you do a backside 360 while in the nollie position.
- Boned Nollie: Then lastly, there is the boned nollie, this is when you pop a nollie high and then extend your legs out in front of you while maintaining contact with the board and then bring the legs back into their natural landing position.
What Tricks Do You Need Before You Try Nollies?
If you are planning to learn nollies, there aren’t any tricks that you strictly need to know as this is a beginner trick. However, several tricks would be beneficial to have in your locker. Firstly, we would suggest that you become comfortable riding around on the board, stopping, pushing, turning and power sliding if possible. This will give you a great foundation to get your nollies perfect.
We would also suggest that you learn ollies first. This is simply because these are the more natural of the two tricks and through learning to ollie, you will gain a better knowledge of how a nollie works and all you will have to do is reverse the movement.
Aside from this, there are no essential movements you need to learn. However, you can also learn some other additional tricks that will allow you to gain more confidence when manipulating a board and working in uncomfortable stances. Here is a quick list of some other tricks you can try out before you learn to nollie:
- Riding Switch
- Riding fakie
- Switch ollies
- Fakie Ollies
- FS/BS 180s
- Half cabs
- No complys
How to Nollie: A Guide
So now that we have gone through all the ins and outs of this trick, it’s now time to teach you how to nollie. The first thing you will want to do is stand on the board and get yourself up to speed. Then while moving forward, you’ll want to move your front foot up the board until it sits on the pocket of the tail. Then your back foot should be sitting on or just before the back truck bolts.
Then after the foot position is the body position. You’ll want to make sure that your posture is good, that your shoulders are square, that your weight is dispersed evenly between the two feet and that your eyes are firmly fixated ahead. Then once you feel that your body and feet are perfected positioned, you should push your weight down on the nose of the board and push the board into the air.
Once you have done this, you should immediately slide your back foot back toward the tail of the board as you would for an ollie, causing the board to level in the air. Then when you begin to descend toward the ground, make sure that your foot position returns to where it was before you left the ground while in the air. Then when you hit the ground, bend your knees to absorb the impact. If you have followed these steps to the letter, you will have successfully done a nollie.
Common Mistakes When Learning to Nollie
Board landing behind you
There is a common problem that occurs, especially when you have nailed ollies and then moved on to nollies. With an ollie, you will jump slightly forward to compensate for your movement in the air and land on the board comfortably and through muscle memory, when doing nollies this may occur. So to counteract this, the skater can jump slightly backwards to make sure that they land comfortably on the board directly below them
However, an important caveat to remember is that you shouldn’t overcompensate, because if you do, you may land on the tail, the board will flick up and that can lead to a nasty tumble. So play around with this until you find the right balance.
Board flying off behind you
This is different to the issue above as the board is never in a position where you can land on it as it tends to be rolling down the street behind you. This is because you are kicking out rather than mimicking the ollie motion, only backwards. So the thing you want to emphasise here is the sliding motion up the grip tape to guide and level the board. This way the board always remains under control and you don’t kick it away inadvertently.
No lift off the ground
This can admittedly be due to the problems above. However, this is most commonly down to poor weight dispersion. As this is an awkward trick at first, the default for most skaters is to treat this like an ollie and the weight all shifts to the nose. This simply won’t work for a nollie. To counteract this, make sure that you keep your weight centred throughout the entire trick and don’t open up the shoulders or lean into the nose or tail throughout.
Ollie to the Nth Degree
As you can see from the information above, the nollie is a very important trick, both for the casual and contest skater. This is a trick that allows for countless variations to be performed and allows skaters to become more accomplished, ambidextrous shredders. So for that reason, if you don’t know how to do this trick, get out there, follow our guide and before you know it you’ll be doing nollies with your eyes closed.
If you have reached the end of this article and you still do not have the answers which you seek. Then maybe our FAQ section can help you find what you are looking for. Take a look below:
Answer: While there are so many tricks that we could choose, including some incredible nollie variations from Sean Malto and other modern Skaters. We believe that it is the daredevil of skating, Mr Danny Way that takes this one. Danny managed to do a super clean nollie down the infamous Carlsbad gap in California in 2006. This was for the video part in Plan B’s Virtual Reality. Many other famous skaters would land killer tricks down this difficult over the rail gap. However, in 2012, Kris Markovic was the last to ollie down this gap before it was demolished. It may be gone but that spot is forever in the skateboarding hall of fame.
Answer: While nollie tricks are exceptionally hard to land, especially consistently, we would have to say that switch tricks are slightly harder. This is because, with nollie tricks, you are still riding in your natural stance but reversing the feet’s respective movements. With switch tricks, you are also doing this, but the tricks are also flicked and scooped from the opposite side of the board and with your less dominant foot. Don’t get us wrong, neither are easy, but switch is just a touch harder in our books.
Answer: Yes, it was. Yuto managed to see off competition from a series of incredible competitors including the likes of Nyjah Huston and managed to do so with some of the toughest tricks in the book. The highest-scoring trick that Yuto pulled out of his locker, which happened to be the winning trick, was a 270 Nollie Noseslide down the massive shogun rail in the Olympic park course. When it comes to showstopping death blows, they don’t come much sweeter than that.
So that is our guide giving you all the information you could ever need about the Nollie. What do you make of this guide? Did you find this helpful and informational? What other trick guides would you like to see from us in the near future? Let us know in the comments section below and as always, thank you for reading Skate Culture Insider.
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