In skateboarding, there are no two tricks as well known as the ollie and the nollie. Even if you’re not familiar with the sport of skateboarding, you’ve probably heard of at least one of these tricks.
Even at their most basic, both of these maneuvers can be visually satisfying. Regardless of how simple the tricks seem, it still takes an advanced level of skating to pull either one of these moves off.
What makes these tricks so well-known in the skateboard world and beyond is the fact that they’re the base for any other type of kick or flip-trick. Most any maneuver that’s done on flat ground but requires air starts with an ollie or nollie.
Even grinding and board sliding requires the skater to pull off an ollie before nailing a rail. One thing that isn’t as well-known to the non-skateboarder is the difference between the two tricks.
Although the differences may be subtle, these two tricks are not the same. We will cover what characteristics make these tricks different and the things they have in common.
Table of Contents
Breaking Down the Ollie
An ollie is a skateboard maneuver that requires a skater to jump up with the skateboard still planted under their feet and land planted on the board. During the way up, the board is angled, but after achieving a certain amount of air, the skater will level the board and return to the ground on all four wheels.
The ollie is used as a means to achieve the air a skater needs to perform other maneuvers, such as a kickflip, pop shuvit, and other tricks. A skater who is efficient at performing the ollie can get as high as chest height without using a ramp.
Let’s break down the basic steps of perming this trick.
Performing the Ollie
This trick can be done stationary, which is typically how a skater will learn. Normally the trick is performed while a skater is in motion, and they continue skating after it’s landed. These instructions start off assuming a skater is stationary since that’s the most taught method.
Standing in the regular stance, balance yourself on the skateboard. Bend your knees and assume the position a skater would take if they were mobile. The back foot should be fully on the board, turned sideways just before the trucks. The front foot should be just before the halfway point on the deck.
2. Planting the Foot
Plant downward with the back foot onto the slope of the skateboard. This plant should be a quick step and is actually more of a tap since the foot is quickly released after the plant. The goal is to make the back of the board bounce against the ground, so it springs upward, lifting the nose at the same time.
3. Sliding the Front Foot
After the signature bounce is achieved and you hear the pop from the board, immediately begin sliding the front foot up towards the nose of the board. This motion will propel the board upward.
4. Releasing the Back Foot
Simultaneously, you should be continuously lifting the back foot to allow the tail of the board to catch up with the elevating nose. When the front foot hits the nose of the board, turn it sideways, and the deck will be level in mid-air.
5. Staying Level and Planting
Keep your feet in the same manner, with the back foot sideways on the tail and the front foot sideways on the nose. Make sure your knees are bent, and your feet remain planted to keep the board level. Maintain your balance as you’re coming down, bending your knees more as the board comes closer to the ground.
The goal is to have all four wheels hit the ground at the same time. If you were in motion while performing this trick, you should remove the front foot as you get closer to the ground and flange to keep the board moving forward and maintain balance.
Now that you understand what an ollie is and how it’s done, what separates it from the nollie?
Difference Between the Nollie
The nollie looks identical to the ollie. The only difference between the two is the nollie is performed the opposite way as the ollie.
Instead of planting with the back foot and sliding the front foot, the skater will plant with the front foot and slide the back foot. The tail of the board achieves flight first when a skater does a nollie.
It’s important not to confuse a nollie with a fakie ollie. This is when a skater rides fakie, which is skating in reverse and performs an ollie. They look very similar, and fans of the sport often get the two mixed up during competitions.
There are also nollie heelflips, nollie 180’s, and other variations of the trick in existence. Professional skateboarder Danny Way completed one of the most famous nollies in history when he completed the trick on the Carlsbad Gap, which is a famous skating location in California.
Despite their similarities, these tricks have different levels of difficulty in their own respect. Many skaters consider the nollie more difficult to perform because of the difference in how the feet are used.
Regardless of anyone’s personal opinion on either trick, one thing is certain. Both of these maneuvers require a high level of talent and dedication to learn. Mastering either of these tricks is a good indicator of an advanced level of skateboarding talent.