I pushed mongo for many years before I learned this was not the correct way of pusing a skateboard. It always felt a bit uncomfortable to be honest so I decide to just learn pushing the normal way.
Pushing mongo has a lot of negativity surrounding it, and for good reasons. It’s not just about style It takes longer to get into a proper stance and leads to reduced balance since your weight is on the skateboard’s rear.
What Is Pushing Mongo?
Pushing mongo is when you push your skateboard with your front foot instead of your back foot. Regular skateboarders use their left foot to push where goofy riders push their right foot.
When you push mongo on a skateboard you place your back foot near the center of your board (image 1) and use your front foot to push. In order to get back into position, you need to place your front foot on your board (image 2) while sort of simultaneously moving your back foot to your tail (images 3 and 4).
You can see why this can cause problems with stability and reaction time. It takes a lot longer than getting into a normal stance. It’s not all bad, you can unlearn and there are a few advantages if you started out pushing your skateboard this way. It’s not only about the time it takes to get on your board, so let’s take a closer look.
Why is Pushing Mongo Hated?
Skateboarding is a lot about style, and pushing mongo is considered a very ugly style of riding a skateboard. Skateboarders think mongo pushers are terrible skateboarders because they can’t even push properly.
The Advantage of Pushing Mongo
- It makes learning to ride fakie easier because, after pushing, you naturally position your feet in a fakie stance.
- Riding switch feels less awkward initially since you’re accustomed to pushing with your front foot.
However, despite these pros, the cons of pushing mongo don’t outweigh its advantages.
What’s so Bad About Pushing Mongo?
Pushing mongo on a skateboard is less efficient for several reasons:
- Quick access to the tail is crucial for tricks like ollies and kickturns. With mongo, it takes longer to position your foot correctly.
- There’s less time to react to unexpected obstacles, making it riskier.
- The weight distribution with a stationary back foot near the board’s center makes the ride unstable, especially at high speeds.
- Correcting your direction or avoiding obstacles is harder due to this imbalance..
- Mongo pushing can look awkward to some.
- Overall, pushing mongo can impact timing for tricks and reduce stability.
How to Stop Pushing Mongo
All you need to do is practicing to push the right way, do this for a couple of days and you’ll stop pushing mongo. Here’s how I did it:
I started by just cruising a smooth street or pavement, this way it made it a bit easier to focus. It was hard at first because it just felt unnatural and it was very awkward. I felt I looked like a beginner and was a bit embarrassed to be honest. It didn’t take very long before it got better.
One thing that helped was to lean on my knee with my hand, somehow it made me feel more comfortable. In short, here’s what to do when you want to stop pushing mongo:
- Find a smooth road/pavement/sidewalk and start pushing normal
- Use your hand (left or right, depends on your stance) and lean on your knee once you feel a bit more comfortable.
- Take it slow, your balance might be a bit off.
- Force yourself every time to push normal when you push mongo. Get off the board and get in the proper position.
You’ll soon reap the benefits when you visit your local skatepark. After a while, you don’t want to go back.
Skateboarders That Pushed Mongo
As a pro, you really can’t get away with pushing with your front foot and can make or break your career. Style is important and mongo looks weird.
Bill Danforth is probably the most infamous mongo pusher and was also notorious for his pumping style. He was also called ‘the Nomad’ and older skaters sometimes still refer to his style and call mongo pushing ‘pushing Dan’.
Randy Colvin’s part in Two World Industries Men (1990) clearly shows his mongo pushing style. Even though he showed some gnarly skating, it’s just strange to see a skater at that level push with his front foot.
Fakie nose grinds of rails, wallride to nollie are things you don’t expect from a mongo pusher. I don’t think you can get away with it this day, but the stuff he showed in the early 90’s was impressive.
Probably one of the most surprising names on this list is Tom Penny. Tom was a mongo pusher when he started out. There is supposed to be a video somewhere which shows him pushing with his front foot, can’t find it, unfortunately. Tom is a legend and soon corrected his stance.
Even Chris Cole started out pushing using his front foot. Chris is one of my favorite skateboarders, not just because of his mad skills but he’s just a great guy. In the documentary Motivation 2, Jamie Thomas noted that he once told Chris to start pushing like a regular (or goofy) skateboarder if he wants to advance his career.
Ignore the Hecklers
If you don’t feel like learning to push in a normal way, that’s fine! I get that sometimes you can feel pressured by your peers and people heckling you for riding mongo. I pushed this way for years and nobody cared at all, at least where I’m from. Nobody thought there was anything wrong with it, just a bit different.
Pushing mongo has a lot of disadvantages but you shouldn’t change your style because people don’t like how it looks. Do it for the right reasons and start practicing. You’ll be pushing ‘normal’ in no time depending on how long you’ve been doing it.
Now if you want to become a pro, you really should stop pushing with your front foot. Some got away with it in the early 90s, but those days are long gone. Skateboarding has come a long way since then and the rise of Instagram and Youtube demand that you skate with style or you can forget about a following.
As for me. I can still ride faster when I push mongo and it probably is because I did it for a very long time. I don’t regret relearning how to push but it was a bit embarrassing sometimes. Nowadays I ride fakie like a boss, so there’s that!