Skateboarding has been part of the Zeitgeist for so long that it is strange that its provenance is not more widely known. Skateboarding was supposedly born in the early 1950s as something for surfers to do when the waves were flat. No one person is credited with the design of the skateboard, the iconic layers of board and skate wheels beneath, but surf shop owner Bill Richards, in a deal with the Chicago Roller Skate Company, most recognizably had this design first.
After an initial flurry of sales, the popularity of boarding dropped off until a resurgence in the early 1970s. Skaters such as Ty Page, Bruce Logan, Bobby Piercy, Kevin Reed, and the Z-Boys took advantage of the empty swimming pools caused by the 1976 California droughts to pioneer vert skating, which led to a revolution in the tricks that could be performed. To this day, skateboarding is still going strong, with people like Tony Hawk becoming a household name.
So, you`re probably wanting to move on from this canned history lesson and want to learn some more about how to accomplish some tricks on your board. First of all, it is quite hard to establish what tricks are easy, as it depends on the individual skater; the bread-and-butter trick, however, is undoubtedly the "ollie".
Named after inventor Alan "Ollie" Gelfand, the ollie is said to be the fundamental boarding trick. First, you have to position one foot at the bottom of the board, and one in the middle. After gaining a little speed, bend your knees, and then "pop"; that is, push down on the board. Then, jump off the board, whilst sliding your foot up to balance the board out, looking to land with your feet above the trucks. You can break either the middle or ends of your board, or even yourself, if you don`t get your feet right on landing.
Using some of the techniques from the ollie, a kick flip is a spectacular airborne trick invented by Rodney Mullen. There are many different forms, but for the sake of brevity I will address the basic flip here. It takes the same initial steps as the ollie, feet, stance, but when you perform the ollie you slide your foot right up to the top of the board and flick the nose with your toes - not a lot of force is needed. Quickly get your feet out of the way of the spinning board and, keeping your level, "catch" the board with your feet, bend your knees, and land. Once the basic kick flip is mastered, other flips such as 360s and heel flips can be attempted. More easily said than done, definitely, but with practice it will come.
These are just two tricks of many, but mastering them opens doors to other tricks. As a last point, look cool while boarding by getting some good skating gear. If you live in Europe then check out Hardcloud and their stock of Volcom clothing. If you live in North America then look no further Sk8 Clothing will have you hooked up. Now get out there and practice!