Work and Progress

November 27, 2013

Rolling City A Graphic Short in Block Prints Vol.10 Ode to the ollie

Ode to the Ollie

Hand Ollie COVER X


I learned to do my Ollies in the parking lot of Crystal’s Coffee Shop, across from where I lived on 19th street.

For those of you who don’t know what an Ollie is…. essentially,  it’s a jump or hop while you’re moving on the skateboard. In the mid 80’s the Ollie marked a transitional period from a generation of pool and ramp skaters to a new breed of street-only skating kids. I was one of those kids.

And though the landscape of street skateboarding has changed,”the Ollie” remains in focus. In fact, it is the basis for a lot of skateboarding flip tricks today. Every street skating kid in the last 25 yrs has had to learn it.

Natas Gonz2

For me? learning to Ollie was important. It was important because my terrain was the street. In order to have more freedom, I needed to not stop.  When skating through the city, I had to have a continuous forward motion without breaks, even for red lights (especially for red lights). I’d just jump a curb or a grass patch when necessary to keep moving. Like improvisational jazz; blowing dashing, jumping, sliding.

Charlie was the first cat I saw do an Ollie, and I’d never seen it done before.  Smooth and fluid, almost without sound, like a cat.

Charlie Ollie wheels Ready

And that’s how I wanted to do them……………….smooth and easy.  — But “easy!”….  they were not.  It took some work.

By this time (’85-’86) I could do foot-plants and 360 slides as well as some other minor stuff. The Ollie was the next logical thing. I needed to learn it.

Charlie ran me through the basics.

CHARLIE: …Keep all your weight on your toes. You’re gonna do a back foot snap, front foot tap…tapping the tail of your skateboard hard enough so that it bounces off the concrete, and the front of the board rises up…….flowing from back momentum to front momentum,  like this__. I’ll use my left hand and right foot so you can see it happen stationary….

And then, he would do it.

Hand Ollie

I am not a direct learner. Most often, I need to do things wrong first, so I can begin to understand and work towards the correct way (whatever that means). So, before I actually learned this trick,  I came up with a few tricks of my own…. along the way.

1. Fail Ollie 2

 The Die! Skateboard Die!

2.Rolling City Nut Shot2

The infamous, Nut-Shot.

The Clash

and “Fathers Name In Vain!” (also known as the Pete Townshend)

I would have liked to show you how easy and naturally I learned to do this trick, accompanied by an image of me Ollying over five cheering neighborhood friends. But that’s just not how it happened. Although I eventually did learn how to Ollie . For me, skateboarding has always been about lessons in living: the journey, struggle and failure, followed by an an anti-climactic reward.

Flat on back red

 My technique did get better and my Ollies got higher, and indeed it was a flow, like jazz on wheels.

cloud w landscape

Charlie Parkder TV

Text and original block-print Images © by Sergio Teran

Rolling City Vol.1

Rolling City Vol. 2

Rolling City vol.3

Rolling City Vol. 4

Rolling City Vol.5

Rolling City Vol.6

Rolling City Vol 6.5

Rolling City Vol.7

Rolling City Vol.8

Rolling City Vol.9

Yellow Church

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