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An ollie is a maneuver in skateboarding used to get the board and its rider up in the air. To perform an ollie, a skateboarder will stand on the board and kick the tail of board down while jumping and sliding their front foot toward the nose of the board, causing the skateboard to pop off the ground.
The ollie can be performed in combination with other tricks to get the skateboard to do other things while in the air. The level of tricks accomplished depend on the skill level of the skateboarder. Ollies are considered by many to be a basic trick, but when learning how to maneuver a skateboard, trying to ollie while rolling can be quite a challenge.
The ollie can also be found in snowboarding. When a rider quickly transfers his or her weight from the front to the back of the snowboard causing the board to snap off the ground. In addition to being a great first trick for the budding skateboarder and a simple staple to the professional ranks, for all the scrabble players out there, the word ollie has been added to the eleventh edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.
Many skateboarding tricks evolve from the ollie because it is the best method to get a skateboard off the ground without a ramp, the ollie can allow other tricks such as a kick flip, which requires the skateboarder to spin the board around his or her feet while in the air.
For the beginner, the ollie might be best practiced on a flat surface while not moving to get the hang of getting the skateboard off the ground and landing on it safely. As the skills of the rider improve, other things can be added to the repertoire of skateboarding tricks.
Some skateboards may have a nose or front end that is more pitched than the tail or rear end, therefore, it may be easier to get the skateboard up in the air with an ollie if the ollie is performed using the front of the skateboard to kick the board into the air.
As with any sport, safety is always important. It is a good practice to wear a helmet and pads to protect the skateboarder from injury as it is likely the pavement on which the ollie is attempted may come into contact with the skateboarder the first few tries.