Before we even get going on this, let’s set some ground rules. Let’s take it as a given that no one’s ever going to agree on the best skateboard tricks of all time, nor even what exactly “the best” means. It’s really the combination of the trick, the spot and the style in which it’s done all coming together. And even then it’s pretty much a subjective thing.
Plus, once you mix street skating together with mini-ramp skating, together with vert, together with the crazy structures that only Bob Burnquist and the X Games crew assemble, it gets even harder. Plus, what about how tricks are put together in sequence, be it on street or ramp.
With that in mind, check ‘em out. My totally subjective, entirely non comprehensive list, in no particular order, of 8 of the best skateboard tricks of all time, plus two honorable mentions for innovative terrain use.
Somewhere there’s probably footage of someone clearing more stairs, or maybe even off a higher drop, but the combination of height, drop and narrow run-up here puts this ollie into the record books for sure.
Eighteen feet is a pretty long distance to ollie with a drop involved, but on essentially flat ground, with a gap as deep as your house in-between it moves into the category of things that you probably shouldn’t attempt unless you’re better than 95% certain you’ll be able to land it.
Probably less of a drop and distance than Homoki’s ollie above, but Bachinsky sticking this kickflip is a thing of beauty.
Perhaps not the cleanest landing in the world, but it doesn’t matter one bit.
Each of those sets of stairs isn’t that tall, but there are three of them, with not insignificant gaps between them, plus not exactly an easy run up off to camera left. Most people would be thrilled to 360 flip at all, many would be thrilled just to be able to ollie it, but doing it switch really ups the ante.
He may not have been the absolute first person to skate street, and isn’t really known for taken on the sort of gaps involved in the above clips, but without Rodney Mullen pretty much all of that doesn’t exist.
Moving on to an entirely different set of skateboarding skills…
If he were strapped in on a snowboard on a bluebird day with a perfect powder landing this would still be a pretty damn stylish backside 360. But Rob’s on a skateboard, not strapped in, and making something seriously difficult look absolutely effortless. Just dropping in on ramp that size requires nerve, let alone drifting without grabbing like that. Oh, and he follows it with an inverted backside 5.
White’s whole run here is pretty amazing—it won him gold at this year’s X Games so it should be—but the trick he pulls off at the end… I have to say it’s not the most stylish looking thing out there to my eye, but there’s no doubt it’s friggin impossibly hard.
You may have seen footage of this before, but for some reason the raw footage of Bob Burnquist’s fakie to fakie 900 on the monstrosity of a ramp in his backyard, the first time anyone landed one anywhere, is just gorgeous.
I’m including this clip not just because it’s a mind boggling hard thing to do on a skateboard but because, I embarrassingly must confess, that maybe from the first time I ever rode a vert ramp in maybe 1988 or ’89 (dating myself as a veritable geezer in skateboarding terms) I’ve had dreams about skating a ramp and this sort of flip from one transition to the other thing happens. Except that it’s not over-vert going into it, I sort of freak out mid air upside down and have to correct myself, flipping cat-like onto my feet. In my dreams I think I’ve landed it once. In waking life I’ll never come close, nor would consider trying. But Bob does it.
And the honorable mentions…
Is there any doubt that Mark Gonzalez sees the world much differently than the average skateboarder? Most people would just push by that spot (such as it is) without a second look. One of the many reasons the Gonz still inspires.
You may not even want to learn how to do it, but it’s one of the silliest and yet most difficult things I’ve seen. You’ve got to flip so fast, then land right on the coping. I’m still laughing and at the same time impressed.
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