The impossible is undergoing somewhat of a renaissance right now across all the trick-based disciplines of skateboarding, but you rarely see anything other than a regular ollie impossible outside of freestyle. This nosehook impossible, done stationary, is where it all started, and is still the best place to begin.
Once you’ve got this one down, you can roll into it with a little 180, or move onto the ollie versions – but starting here will give you the best chance to perfect that back foot wrap.
Here’s your starting point for the nosehook impossible. Your back foot is at the end of the tail, but not hanging off, and the front foot is under the nose, close to the truck. Both feet want to be as far into the board as possible, with only your heels not on or under the board.
Here’s the same position viewed from in front. I’m trying to keep my hips and shoulders in line with the board – this should help keep the board straight as I wrap the impossible.
To get started, I compress slightly on my back leg, ready for the jump. I also start leaning back slightly so I can pick the nose up with the front foot to begin the impossible.
The takeoff involves effectively standing on the tip of the tail for a second as I pick the board up by lifting the front foot straight up. This is why a rounded tail doesn’t do these too well – the board will roll on that tip and be unstable.
Now my front foot has finished getting the board vertical, I can stop thinking about the front foot and let the back foot take over. I need to push that back foot horizontally through the tail and aim to get it where the front foot started. That’s what’ll start the wrap.
Here’s your classic impossible photo, with the front foot lifted towards my body and my back foot mid-wrap. As you can see, I didn’t push perfectly straight – I scooped slightly backside and dipped my toe. That’s not uncommon. I’m not entirely happy with this, but I’ll make up for it in a second.
This is the make-or-break point, and where most beginners go wrong. I have to start lifting the back foot up and pulling it back towards where it started to finish the wrap. If I do this right, the end of the trick should be fairly vertical.
To finish the wrap, I actually twist my ankle and slide the outside of my foot up towards the tail, as if I was levelling out a nollie. Once it gets to a certain point you can just push it downwards, but try to slide all the way to the back truck if you can.
Now you can really see the ollie/nollie similarity on the back foot. My front foot can start coming back to the board now – all we basically have left to do is land.
I’m coming down with my feet too close together here. It’s fairly common for this to happen with impossibles – the more vertical the wrap, the more likely you are to land with your back foot in the middle of the board.
I’ve finally landed solidly. Again, you can see I’m relatively nose-heavy on the landing. If I’d rolled into this I probably could have landed to a nose pivot and turned it into a 360 nosehook impossible; I imagine this is also how Darryl Grogan does the Chef Salad (ollie impossible nose pivot) so well.
Impossibles are awkward. No two ways about it. You can wrap a nosehook impossible on pretty much anything, but getting them perfectly end-over-end is a challenging task.
To make this easier on yourself, get a board which is the right length. You can do them on a street board, but unless you’re a tall, lanky bastard, having one foot on the tail and the other underneath the nose is going to feel like a massive stretch.
Steep tails will help you get started with the wrap as the board will already be at a steep angle, but a steep nose is more likely to cause your foot to slide out from under it prematurely. Griptape under the nose will also help you get traction as you pick the board up.
As I mentioned in the video, a square tail will help prevent the board from going off-axis as you start the trick – the trade-off is that the take off will feel more awkward. It’s a small price to pay to avoid sloppy shuvit-style impossibles, though.
Maybe a single kick with a steep kicktail is the best board design for the nosehook impossible? I’ve only ever skated single kicks with very mellow kicktails, so if you’ve found something with a steep, street-style kick, give it a try and let me know in the comments whether or not it helps.