Who Invented the Kickflip: Where It All Began

One of the earliest skateboarding tricks is the kickflip. It is a spectacular skateboarding maneuver that involves a 360-degree flip and a graceful land on top of the skateboard. The board will spin counter-clockwise when the trick is admired from the back. There are so many variations of this trick but who invented the kick flip? Let’s find out the origin of the kickflip, some impressive variations, and tips on how to be good at this skateboarding trick like Rodney Mullen and Tony Hawk.

Who First Performed the Kickflip?

The original kickflip is more than 40 years old. It was in the 1970s when many skateboarders started to perform the stunt by flipping up the edge of the skateboard using their toes. At that time, their creativity took the best of them, and skateboards flipped over completely but did not gain much clearance from the pavement. 

Also, the first kickflip required skateboarders to stand parallel to the motion of their boards. Both his feet faced the skateboard’s nose and the skater drags his board.  The kickflip was originally called oldschool kickflip.

But in 1982, Rodney Mullen enhanced the technique creating a much modern style.  Skateboarding legend Rodney Mullen first called the trick the “Ollie Flip” however, some skaters who were unable to figure out how to perform Mullen’s trick called it the “Magic Flip.” The term magic flip still holds today.

Rodney Mullen used the ground-based ollie to launch from the floor but instead of flipping the board’s edge using one toe, he started the flip by moving his front foot from the top of the skateboard. 

The new kickflip allowed more control of the board in different areas like the board’s nose. Mullen’s kickflip allowed improved clearance height, enhanced initiation time and flip speed, and better handling as the board flipped completely. Many freestyle skaters easily adapted the Mullen kickflip and soon, even street riders bound their boards were performing it. And as they say, the rest is history.

Here’s a YouTube clip of the infamous Rodney Mullen kickflip. Check out how Mullen moves swiftly in the air perfecting this art.

As soon as the trick hit the streets, the “kickflip era” was born and the art of taking off in the air, performing quick tricks in the middle took on. Many variations of the kickflip were also created by Rodney Mullen. Nowadays, the kickflip is one of the most popular basic tricks. After a skater master the kickflip, they become more confident in performing other tricks such as the kickflip to frontside boardslide maneuver. 

Who Holds the World Record for the Most Consecutive Flatground Kickflips?

Skateboarder Magnus Borderwick of Norway was just 13 years old in June 2007 when he carved his name in sports history for the most consecutive flat ground flip. He made 508 flips and this was performed in 84 minutes. 

Here’s a YouTube video of Magnus Borderwick’s defining moment. Check how he places his front foot and back foot, how he would flip the board, and finally, his flawless landing.

A variation of the classic kickflip which is the quad kickflip is one of the most difficult flip tricks. Only semi-pro skater Ryan Green was able to complete this trick. Green combines talent, art, and creativity to come up with this amazing skateboarder trick.

How To Perform the Mullen Kickflip?

Image Source: https://skateboarding.fandom.com/wiki/Kickflip

Set an ollie stance but your heel must hang off while your toes or your feet facing an angle. Pop your board like you would an ollie but the front foot moves to the side of the skateboard. This may also depend on the stance that the skateboarder prefers. 

While you’re in the air, fold your knees to your chest so you won’t hit your board as it spins from the board’s axis. Then, catch your board using the back foot and stomp it down. Landing afterward, ride your board after the trick.

Here’s a YouTube video that teaches beginners how to quickly perform a kickflip.

What Are Some Tips to Perform the Kickflip?

The kickflip is a basic trick but most riders and skaters take time to perfect it like the ollie. Riders often commit the following mistakes: 

The board may fly forward due to a strong kick. For this, the rider must correct his footwork. Use your foot and not your leg to move the board. Some riders fail to land properly on the board while some land only with one foot. Landing with just one foot can be dangerous as this can make you lose your balance. For this mistake, jump higher and always consciously remind yourself that you need to land on both feet not just on one foot.

Another mistake is the board hitting the ground before you do. This is a very common mistake and the only way to remedy it is to pop harder. Many other kickflip mistakes may be avoided with common sense. Use a well-maintained board, wear grippy shoes, and always have a warm-up before performing any trick. 

What are Other Variations of the Kickflip?

Image Source: https://www.skatedeluxe.com/blog/en/trick-tips/skateboard/flat/how-to-360-flip-treflip/

The kickflip is the starting point to learning and performing other sports tricks. Skateboarding Wiki rounds up the most common variations of this trick:

360 Flip

This variation combines the backside 360-degree pop shuvit and a kickflip. There are many videos of the 360 flip online.

540 Flip

This variation trick is a backside 540 pop shove-it and a kickflip

720 Flip

This kickflip skateboarding variation combines a 720 pop shove-it and a double kickflip. The 720 kickflip was first landed by professional skater Mike Mo Capaldi.

Big Flip

The rider performs a 180 as the skateboard rotate a 360.

Double kickflip

This variation involves turning the skateboard twice before it’s caught. The double kickflip was made by pro skater Malcolm Rieck. 

Hardflip 

The hardflip combines the frontside pop shove-it plus the kickflip. The board flips while moving in a partial backflip and spins halfway, finally, the board flips over to complete this difficult skateboarding maneuver.

Heelflip

Similar to the kickflip but the skateboard moves in the opposite direction. The rider kicks the board with his heel to create the turning motion. 

Kickflip 180

This skateboarding variation is a combination of an ollie 180 and a front side and a backside kickflip; the skateboarder and his board rotate in a similar direction. 

Kickflip Body Varial

The board moves for a kickflip and the skater completes a full 180 spin. He lands with a switch stance. 

Kickflip Indy

The skater flips his board and takes it using his hand than his feet. It is now mostly performed on launch ramps to create more air time. 

Mother Flip

This is an innovation of the classic air trick. The board moves a 360 kickflip and the body completes a 360-degree turn in the opposite way.

Quadflip

The board completes 4 spins before the rider catches it. This is one of the most difficult tricks of the sport.

Quintuple kickflip

The board completes 5 spins before the rider catches it.

Triple kickflip

The board completes 3 spins before the rider catches it.

Varial Kickflip

The board will spin a 180 and a kickflip all at the same time. Tony Hawk and Eric Koston have a tutorial of this variation online.

Conclusion

Now that you know who invented the kick flip, various kickflip variations, and some tips to enhance your flips, you may now confidently perform kickflips on your own. Remember to stay focused, practice, and don’t give up. Even pro skaters practice getting this right. Use a complete skateboard with no setup required and correct your foot placement especially your front foot.

How do you like this post? Did we miss anything about the history of the kickflip? Let us know from the comments section below.

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