M80 Kickflip

Category

Kickflips

Learn first

Kickflip and Endovers

Use

Mellow tails

Difficulty

4/10

Speed

Medium

Avoid

Loose trucks

M80 Kickflip

Category

Kickflips

Learn first

Kickflip and Endovers

Use

Mellow tails

Difficulty

4/10

Speed

Medium

Avoid

Loose trucks

M80 Kickflip

Category

Kickflips

Learn first

Kickflip and Endovers

Use

Mellow tails

Difficulty

4/10

Speed

Medium

Avoid

Loose trucks

The M80 kickflip, invented by Matt Barden in 1978, could be described today as an “old school kickflip sex change revert”. Only it isn’t that. It’s an M80, and it feels great to do. This is the “basic” version; you can also turn them in the other direction or start by rolling backwards. Note that I do my kickflips with my back foot; if you do them with your front foot, this version will be a bit more difficult to do.

There’s a couple of requirements before you begin. First, make sure you can do a kickflip smoothly – the original one, not the ollie one. You need to be able to do one rolling at a decent speed to do an M80 well. Because you’re landing to a 180 pivot, you’ll also need to be able to do endovers well before you get started on this one.

M80 Sequence 01 Square Edited

Just like with a regular kickflip, you want to start in the middle of the board with both feet facing forwards. An M80 kickflip is a bit more picky, though; you need to hook with your back foot, and you can’t have one foot even slightly in front of the other. That cross I’ve photoshopped on my board’s nose will be explained in a second.

M80 Sequence 02 Square

I want to start the M80 kickflip by rolling at a decent speed. If you go too slowly, you’ll struggle to do the endover cleanly when you land. I compress at the knees, ready for the jump, and stare at an imaginary cross in the centre of the nose – this will keep my shoulders facing forward and help me get my back foot into the right place when I catch the board.

M80 Sequence 03 Square

As I take off, the M80 kickflip looks very similar to a regular one, but I’m still staring at the nose. I’m not going to explain the mechanics of the flip – that’s already been covered on this site. Just get a clean kickflip, and try not to turn into it too soon – you want the board to be flipping before you start turning at the hips.

M80 Sequence 04 Square

Here’s where things start to differ. My shoulders are still facing forward, but I’m beginning to twist at the hips as I hover above the board. I’m not going to think about the front foot – I just have to worry about getting my back foot onto the nose.

M80 Sequence 05 Square

As I bring my back foot forward, note that the board is still flipping straight, and hasn’t moved off its original alignment. You really don’t want to half-and-half these. The goal is a perfectly straight flip; if the board is spinning slightly by this point, your original foot placement is off.

M80 Sequence 06 Square

I’m never sure if I’m doing this bit by sight or purely by timing, but as the board finishes its flip, I start extending my back foot down to the point I’ve been staring at since before I began. If I’ve moved my hips enough, my front foot will be in the right place to catch the tail behind me. I can’t see that, so I don’t think about it. I have to just trust it’ll be there.

M80 Sequence 07 Square

As soon as my feet connect, I start to let my hips unwind back to a more natural position. As you can see in this frame, the catch is very straight-legged on my back foot, and it’s the bend in my front leg which controls the angle of the board at this point. My body has to stay upright and straight, so I can’t rely on that to balance; if my upper body isn’t centred above the wheels, I’ll spin out and fall off.

M80 Sequence 08 Square

Finally, my hips and feet have come back into alignment. It’s easy to get lazy on these sometimes and fall short of a complete 180º turn once the tension in the hips has gone; I’ve got to keep pushing that front leg round until it gets past my front shoulder.

M80 Sequence 09 Square

As I get through the pivot, I can start relaxing the back leg. This is important for two reasons: not only does this help soak up some of the shock caused by landing entirely on one end of the board, but it’ll help smooth out the roll away from the trick.

M80 Sequence 10 Square

Now I’ve finished bringing the board round and can start putting the nose down. Notice here how my shoulders are still facing forwards; pushing my front leg back to the front has twisted me up again. It looks almost like I could be doing a spacewalk at this point…

M80 Sequence 11 Square

I find it very hard nowadays to not roll away from these with my arms in this position – I look like I’m doing a little bow. I think it’s because my arms swing the opposite way to my legs as I bring the board around to help me balance.

Additional Notes

There’s a lot that can go wrong with the M80 kickflip, and while a lot of the issues are similar to the regular kickflip, there’s a few extra issues to pay attention to.

If the board is rotating: your feet aren’t starting out in the right position. They need to be perfectly balanced, side-by-side. Most people end up spinning the board backside (clockwise for a regular footer); if this is happening, your hooked back foot is too far back, and needs moving towards the nose. You might even want to have your back foot slightly in front of your front one if you still can’t stop it rotating.

If you’re landing in front of the board: a lot of people lunge forwards, thinking that’s a good thing to do because they’re aiming for the nose. That’s a big mistake. There’s a lot of forwards movement in this trick, but you don’t want to actually jump forwards during the takeoff; it’s a combination of the rolling speed you started with and the 180º turn you finish with which creates that movement. Jump straight upwards and slightly to the side.

If the 180 seems like a lot of work, or seems erratic: check your starting position on the board. I was teaching these to Felix Jonsson in Paderborn, and he was starting with both feet together, but really far back on the board. His logic was that it makes it easier to see the catch, but the problem is that it puts your body and centre of balance too far behind the front trucks. Try to stay in the centre of your board as you start these.

If the board is landing upside down: because you’re turning into the flip on an M80 kickflip, some people end up kicking the board harder than they would for a regular kickflip. Worse, some people will turn the foot into the flip, and end up toe-poking the board from underneath. Flip just like a normal kickflip, and try to avoid turning your hips too much until you’re already on the way up.

If you’re finding it hard to get a clean takeoff: tighten your trucks. You don’t have to lock your kingpin nut way down, but a super-floppy setup will be really uncomfortable and make learning this trick far more effort than it needs to be. You also risk wheelbite catching the board to pivot if your trucks are too loose, and that’s not a fun way to slam.

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COMMENTS (7)

  • Matt Barden

    5th January 2021 , 9:49 PM / reply

    Saw this online and loved it. I still skate on occasion, although mostly longboard cruising. Thanks for giving this trick some life, especially in these more current times.
    • Tony Gale

      6th January 2021 , 1:24 PM / reply

      Hey Matt, it's an honour to have you drop by and leave a comment. I've loved this trick for the best part of two decades now and I'm happy I can keep it going in one way or another. I hope you're doing well and staying safe!
  • Matthew Barden

    6th January 2021 , 5:21 PM / reply

    Hello Tony! Appreciate the reply. Hopefully all is well out there where you are. I'll share one other bit of history with you. Steve Day and I skated in the 78' Oceanside contest. During that time, I was practicing 180 kickflips (old skool hooking shoe on edge of board) and one time I pulled the trick, the board didn't rotate on its axis, is simply swapped ends. I was asked what was that, I said instead of flipping, it just got shoved over... That's where the shuvit came from. Then of course it went on to pop-shuvits, 360's, 540's etc. Crazy how mistakes can sometimes make the best tricks! Take care out there stay safe and healthy!
    • Tony Gale

      6th January 2021 , 6:31 PM / reply

      Hang on - are you telling me that a) you invented the shuvit and b) the 180 kickflip came before the shuvit? That's amazing! Also, can you settle a debate? I read years ago that you invented the M80 in 1980. My friend and teammate Felix Jonsson saw your comment and had a dig in an old Swedish trick book which says you invented it in 1978. Which date is right - do you remember? I guess it doesn't really matter, but it's interesting to know!
  • Matthew Barden

    6th January 2021 , 11:54 PM / reply

    Hey Tony, Yes, invented the Shuvit. Also invented the M-80 in 1978. M was for Matt, 180. My skating partner Steve Day invented the first handstand kickflip about the sames time. There was a time when I literally skated to and from school (6 miles) and then came home to skate on the street out front of my house till midnight or so. So, lots of time to try new things.
    • Tony Gale

      7th January 2021 , 3:01 PM / reply

      Wow, that's a great bit of trivia. People have been doing shuvits for decades now and I don't think I've heard anyone say who invented them before. It'd be great to sit down together in front of a camera some time - post-pandemic - and get some of this info out there. It's next to impossible to get any solid info on anything which happened in freestyle in the 70s - what certain tricks were called, who invented what, and so on. It'd be a shame to have those stories lost to time. I'd have loved to have had the chance to talk to Ty Page before he passed, for instance.
  • Markus Bohnensack

    16th January 2021 , 9:26 AM / reply

    Okay, wow, this is all some amazing first hand info, thank you, Matt. Tony, I agree that it would be nice to have this recorded in other ways, but for now it's really nice to just have such interesting comments on here.

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