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Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition

The Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition Blog is the place for conversation and discussion about topics related to sports and sports fitness, general fitness, bodybuilding, nutrition, weight loss, and human health. Here, you'll find everything from nutritional information and advice about healthy eating to training and exercise tips for improving your overall well-being.

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Pop of the Ollie

Posted March 21, 2012 1:11 AM by HUSH

In my heyday attending Gotham High I was a phenomenal skateboarder.

(Wait for it...)


In truth, while I owned a skateboard and all the associated gear, I never developed much past the boardslide and even that proved treacherous and bruising.

Whether it's the darkslide, the 360° flip, or the famous 900, the trick starts at one place no matter your skill level: the ollie.

Fortunately for you, not only do I know how to ollie, but I also know the physics behind the ollie. I guess that makes me the CR4 resident expert on skateboarding. And, of course, anything else I determine myself an expert on. (Have you seen Courtship Chemistry ?! I mean, come on! I'm like making this stuff up as I go along people.)

So, without further ado, let the ollie and random skateboarding videos commence! (I feel like the King of Cartoons, but you don't have to like skating to appreciate the athleticism of the videos I've assembled. Watch one and you won't be able to stop.)

Self portrait...via UCSD

Forces on the board before the ollie are well represented in the photo below.

...via Skate Physics 101

The skater's weight and gravity adhere the board to the earth and the ground provides reliable return force. The speed of the skateboard counters the friction of the road or asphalt. For the most part, the center of mass of the skater will be over the middle of the board. All of these forces balance to zero and there is no torque on the board currently.

...via Thrasher

A skater is generally going to push with their rear foot. This will reduce the amount of time needed to plant the foot back on the board. This is especially important because the need to ollie could arise with any unpredicted obstacle (be it curb, dog, or hobo.)

With a downward force, the skater pushes on the rear tail of the skateboard. The skater's weight is now balanced further back on the board. This allows the downward force on the tail to act as a lever, with the skateboard's wheels and axle (or 'trucks') to act as the fulcrum. This causes front of the board to lift in the air.

When the tail of the board collides with the ground, the ground provides a return force that launches the board airborne.

The skater then slides his or her foot forward along the board which has a unique layer of sandpaper to maintain a high coefficient of friction. This sandpaper is called 'griptape.' This action does two things: it drags the board higher along with the skater's jump, and also begins to level out the board around its center of mass. The skater's rear foot should appear stuck to the board.

Eventually, gravity wins out and the skateboard and its rider return to the ground. The skateboarder must brace themselves for the return force imparted by the ground when the skateboard lands. An ollie will take less than a second to complete in most instances.

In practice, it's slightly harder. Perseverance, perspiration and patience will promise the pop you aspire. Eventually bigger tricks will fall.

And, if you think that might be difficult, skaters routinely ollie on their submissive foot, or in reverse like in the case of a nollie (a nose ollie).

Somehow, ridiculous amounts of money are thrown at skaters for a just few hours of work a week. And when it's a passion, is it really work? Also, your life gets themed to rap music and you bump into celebrities. Yeah, it's definitely not work.

There it is! There's that midlife career change you've been waiting for! And when you become decent maybe CR4 will sponsor you! And then maybe pigs will fly…except in skateboarding, where sometimes they do.

...via Transworld Skateboarding


Skate Physics 101

Physics of the Ollie

Exploratorium - Skateboard Science


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