Skateboarding has come a long way since Rodney Mullen introduced what will become the fundamentals of modern skateboard tricks. To celebrate skateboarding, we’re bringing you 15 of the best skateboard tricks of all time.
Beforehand though, we can all agree that “best” really doesn’t mean much skating-wise. Unlike many sports, there are no statistics nor points to judge riders off of. It all comes down to personal taste and preference.
However, there are many tricks widely considered like pillars in the evolution of skateboarding. In this sense, here are 15 history-making tricks.
1. Jeremy Wray – Water Tower Ollie (1997)
In 1997, street skater Jeremy Wray pushed the boundaries of skateboarding by risking his life to get the cover of Thrasher Magazine. He had this trick in mind since he saw these two water towers 16 feet apart from each other.
On a random day, he decided to check it out closer and climbed straight up to the top of 50 feet water tower. 5 tries later, History was made, and the standards of all new generations to come jumped through the roof.
2. Tony Hawk – the 900 (X-Games 1999)
Tony Hawk has been for many decades the face of skateboarding. From having his own skateboard brand to a best-selling video game franchise, Tony Hawk brought skateboarding to the mainstream.
However, the most defining moment of his career has to be the 1999 edition of the X Games. He performed the first-ever 900 shot on camera. This very technical trick consists of a two and a half backside spin over coping. Despite having landed it quite a few at home, you can tell on his face how shook he was to land this on live television, in front of millions of viewers.
3. Tony Hawk – The Loop (2001)
If you ever watched the Jackass, you know how risky (and mostly stupid) some of the stunts they did were. For their MTV Show, they invited Tony Hawk and his BMX counterpart Mat Hoffman to try the Loop.
A real-life roller coaster ride where bailing is not an option and any mistake can cost you your life. After a few scary-looking slams, both completed the full-pipe, making it in the history books. Note that Tony will try the loop on many occasions, later on, taking one of the worst slam in his career.
4. Chris Cole – 360 flip Wallenberg (2003)
The Wallenberg 3 blocks is another iconic skate spot. Located in San Francisco, California, it is a staple of street skateboarding and has been hit by lots of incredible skaters wanting a piece of it. Chris’ 360 Flip might not be the hardest trick to go down there. But it perfectly depicts what skateboarding is really all about: dedication and persistence.
Chris Cole went through mental and physical pain to 360 flip Wallenberg. It took him 66 tries of eating dust and shedding blood before finally winning the battle. A true sign of passion.
5. Bob Burnquist – The Loop of Death (2003)
2 years after Tony Hawk performed the first-ever loop on a skateboard, vert legend, Bob Burnquist tried to one-up his peer by realizing a scarier stunt than the Loop itself.
The idea was simple. Take out the top part of the full-pipe to make a gap between both vert parts of the loop. In addition, Bob did it switch. Because why not? Does it even make a difference at this point?
6. Danny Way – The Great Wall of China (2005)
In the early 2000s, skateboarding popularity kept rising as more and more sponsors and TV channels were investing in the discipline. In 2005, Danny Way – one of the greatest vert and mega-ramp skater – had the crazy idea to jump the Great Wall of China. With his sponsors Quicksilver and DC Shoes, they built a 5 million $ ramp going from both sides of the wall.
On his first try, he cleared the Wall but flew out and broke his ankle. The next day, after escaping the hospital, he went back and landed a backside 360 – with a broken ankle.
A true warrior.
7. Dave Bachinski – Kickflip El Toro (2006)
Located in Lake Forest, California, El Toro sees extreme sport riders from all over the globe come and try entering history rolling away from the most famous set of stairs in the world. At the time, only a handful of tricks were been made down the stairs. Never anyone tried a flip trick.
That’s until Dave Bachinsky landed what is, to this day, the most iconic kickflip down 20 stairs.
8. Neen Williams – Heelflip Burbank 16 (2011)
Nowadays, whenever anyone mentions heelflips, you know Neen Williams is going to come up straight away.
Worshipped by the whole community as the master of Heelflip, Neen has a way of flicking it no one else can match, and always has the ninja kick pose mid trick.
While filming with the Baker boys at Burbank, he warmed up doing a Frontside Shove-it down the drop before he arguably landed the best looking heelflip ever done. He caught it at its peak, picture-perfect and clean landing, what more can you ask for?
Well, according to Neen, a Varial Heelflip.
9. Danny Way – Helicopter Drop-In (2012)
In 2012, our favorite stuntman, Danny Way, came back with another crazy stunt in mind to push the boundaries of skateboarding even more. This time, he wasn’t going to jump over something. No. He chose to jump out of a helicopter into a vert ramp.
After a few scaring looking attempts, he rolled away into this 30 feet ramp, making the cover of Transworld Magazine in the process. Hats off.
10. Tom Schaar – the 1080 (2012)
13 years after Tony Hawk landed the first 900 live on national television, Tom Schaar wrote vert skating history by stomping the first-ever 1080. 3 full 360 spins! Even more impressive, Tom did it while he was only 12 years old. A true prodigy who was already doing 540s and 720s by the age of 8.
Next step, the 1260?
11. Dane Burman – 50-50 The Municipal Death Rail (2013)
For the ender of his Zero Video part, Dane wanted a trick that would mark everybody’s mind. He chose a handrail no one ever thought of skating. And for good reason, there’s a 30 feet drop on the other side of the rail. One miscalculation and you’re done.
To top it all, once you’ve successfully grinded the rail, you still need to go down a 15 feet drop. 7 years later, he’s still the only one to ever skate this spot.
12. Aaron “Jaws” Homoki – Ollie Melon Grab Lyon 25 (2015)
18 years ago, Ali Boulala, a Swedish skater, tried to ollie down the Lyon 25 and blew his knee. Ever since this spot became the Holy Grail of gaps. Widely recognized as the biggest gap ever attempted. For more than a decade still, no one stepped to the challenge.
Until June 2014, when Aaron “Jaws” Homoki – recognized as one, if not, the best gap skater – tried to fly down this set. After a few close tries, he broke his board and did the split, tearing up his ACL.
A year later, after his knee recovered, he flew straight back to France to get his revenge. With Ali Boulala on the spot, Jaws couldn’t give up and finally rolled away from the biggest gap ever ollied.
13. Chris Joslin – 360 Flip Davis Gap (2015)
In 2015, Chris Joslin was a no-name. Except for Plan B and Ryan Sheckler who spotted him early on and had a plan to make him blow up to the world. He was going to do the hardest tricks down the most iconic skate spot.
Davis Gap has always been one of these untouchable spots. Only two skaters successfully made it alive skating it. Jamie Thomas ollied it in 1998 and Corey Duffel did it in frontside 180, 9 years later.
Nothing to worry about for Joslin who eats gaps for breakfast. He went straight for the 360 flip down this mountain. 12 tries and 2 boards later, he enters in the legend with the biggest 360 flip ever done.
14. Don “Nuge” Nguyen – Steepest Hill Bomb (2016)
Hill bombing is gnarly. Especially on a skateboard. Now, I’ll give you that riding down a hill is not a trick per se, but what if I told you Nuge bombed the 5th steepest hill in America. Pretty much a street mega-ramp. A road so steep, you would be scared going down in your car.
Miraculously, he makes it on his first try, avoiding speed wobble and pebble at 35 mph. Mind-blowing.
15. Henry Gartland – 50-50 The Kinker (2018)
This trick truly shows how far skateboarding has come. 30 years ago, no one would have thought grinding a kink rail was possible – yet even an eight kinks handrail.
Nevertheless, Henry took a hell of a beating to get this trick. Four sessions, hundreds of tries, and some stitches didn’t stop him from grinding through the 8 kinks of this endless looking rail.
This concludes out list of the best skateboard tricks ever. I guess us mortals better stick to easy skateboarding tricks and leave the gnarly stuff up to the professionals!