The Science Behind These Four Skateboarding Tricks

The Science Behind These Four Skateboarding Tricks
Photo by Free-Photos, CC0 1.0

Skateboarding is one activity which seems to defy all laws of physics. The skateboarders flipping and maneuvering their way through the line of obstacles on their pathway is a definite treat to the eyes. They seem to perform a beautiful act which is nothing short of magical in its own way. But underlying all these seemingly easy acts are a range of various physical phenomena which have to be learnt over a period of time to effectively implement such techniques. Let’s have a look at the actual principles which govern such tricks which seem to be impossible.

1. The Ollie

The Ollie is the basic maneuver to many more complex techniques. In this, a skateboarder jumps over obstacles onto the other side with the skateboard seeming to stick to their feet as they fly in the air. When the boarder crouches just before taking off, there is a low center of mass which is critical to ensure a high jump above the ground. Just as they jump, they push down the rear of the board to provide the force to execute the jump. In the air, the front foot is pushed down while the rear foot is slowly eased to provide even balance. And finally, as the skateboarder lands under the influence of gravity, he crouches down to again absorb and minimize the impact which finally finishes the Ollie beautifully.

2. The Frontside 180

This is another graceful move which can be executed in full flair. In this move, the skateboarder moves along the ramp, and then appears to hang in mid-air before turning about 180 degrees to land facing the opposite side. The science behind this is the concept of conservation of angular momentum even though initially there is no angular momentum acting on the person as there is no rotation. According to this, as a person is in mid-air, the skateboarder uses the twisting action in which the upper body is rotated in one direction while the lower body is rotated in the opposite direction to provide the torque required. Once the twist is performed, the skateboarder falls under the effect of gravity to fully complete the landing in the opposite direction. The best hoverboard reviews at can be a real companion to find the perfect boards while performing such tricks while on the move.

3. Hippie Jump

This is a maneuver which demonstrates the highest level of coherence which can be displayed at any sport. While moving over a horizontal surface, the skateboarder executes a forward jump such that the board continues moving on the ground and the skateboarder lands the jump perfectly on the board which is still moving. For this technique to occur perfectly, the jump has to be executed vertically without any horizontal velocity on the board. This horizontal velocity can cause the board to move forward or backward and break the coherence. A vertical velocity alone is required after which gravity causes the jumper to land on the skateboard due to the same horizontal velocity with which both of them are travelling.

4. Pumping

Pumping is usually exhibited in a half pipe wherein a skateboarder tries to achieve the maximum vertical height to further perform air-borne tricks. This is based on the concept of conservation of angular impulse as well as momentum. In this method, the skateboarder crouches low at the straight part of the pipe and then stretches out when the curved part is reached. This is done to provide a different value of distance from the center of the mass. Doing this continually allows the skateboarder to achieve greater heights as reducing the distance from the center of mass allows greater angular velocity to be achieved. And thus, after some number of times, the height reached is maximum due to the high velocity which is gained overtime.

Like everything else in this world, even skateboarding is governed by a set of rules which can be explained by science. Practice is the final key which allows skateboarders to execute these rules beautifully and show off its grace to the audience.