Ah, the pressure flip. One of the most unfairly maligned tricks in all of skateboarding. With no complies becoming acceptable again over the last decade, it has to be the pressure flip’s turn again soon, surely?
The problem is most people who learned pressure flips back in the day learned them badly, with terrible technique and bad style – including myself. Turns out that with a bit of adjustment, they can turn into a really great trick, so leave the 90s behind and start doing them properly.
Before you start learning this trick, it’s probably a good idea to know how to pop shuvit. We don’t have a tip for those on here, as it’s a relatively common trick and most skaters will know how to do it. If you want a tip for that, leave a comment below and we’ll sort one out.
Before we begin, here’s a quick note on how NOT to do a pressure flip. This is how I learned them back in the day, and it is the worst possible way to do this trick. People adopt this stance because it gets the front foot out of the way faster, but it also makes the trick look awkward and ugly.
Instead, start with your front foot straight across the board, and covering the rear two bolts on the front foot. Exact position isn’t important – all this foot is doing is keeping the board under control as you set up for the trick.
The back foot is much more crucial. It needs to be up on the ball of the foot, as shown here, in the “pocket” between the concave and the kicktail. If, like me, you prefer a flat board, simply place it on the toeside edge of the board behind the truck in the flat space before the kicktail begins.
I didn’t realise until filming this how much I compress for a pressure flip. It makes sense; I’m about to jump quite high, and I can’t do that without balling up relatively tightly first.
As I take off, I pull the front foot straight upwards and drive the toes of the back foot down as hard as I can. I’m aiming to pull the side of the tail down and back towards the heelside wheel of the back truck. Don’t be deceived by the angle of the front foot, though – I’m not sliding it across the grip at all.
From this angle you can see the motion a bit better. The front foot has left the griptape, and the back foot is popping the tail as far over to the toeside edge as possible. I’m pressing those toes down and into the tail as hard as I can.
Here you can see why it’s so important to pull that front foot straight up. A pressure flip will always go slightly vertical, and you need to make sure you get out of its way. The back foot, meanwhile, has knocked the tail backwards slightly as it popped, and is still pointing downwards.
By this point I’ve pulled my front foot so far up my knee has gone out of shot. You can’t really do these well if you’re feeling lazy! My back foot now has to start following the front foot, and come up to my body to give the board space to finish the rotation.
At this point I know the trick is almost finished, and due to the height, I can’t rely on the floor to stop the board from over-flipping. There’s no room to be sloppy, so I’m watching for the griptape to come round.
Having seen my (frankly ruined) griptape appear beneath my feet, I start extending my legs again, ready to catch the board.
I almost always catch these back foot first due to how much I suck the front foot up. You need to be careful here; if the front foot doesn’t come back down soon enough, the board will bounce away or you’ll land the board on the tail.
As you can see, I was leaning slightly backwards on the landing. That’s another common problem with the pressure flip – but, with a bit of practice, you can usually get away with it and make it look (relatively) stylish.
The pressure flip is an underrated but fun trick. It is, however, very fiddly. Due to the fact the whole trick is dictated by the back foot, you need to get the starting position and the motion of the back foot exactly right.
If the board isn’t flipping enough, your back foot is either too flat, too far into the board (i.e. the pressure isn’t close enough to the toeside edge), or you’re not pushing it down hard enough as you pop.
If the board isn’t rotating enough, the back foot isn’t pulling backwards enough as it pops.
And if the board’s hitting your front foot, you need to lift it more – and unlearn what might be years of ollieflip motions. You don’t need to flick or slide that foot at all – just lift it straight up.
Something I forgot to mention in the video is that it’s not uncommon to lean back accidentally as you pop these. That not only makes it very difficult to land solidly, but tends to push the board out in front of you as you pop. Try to keep yourself centred throughout the trick.
Finally, this is one of the few tricks on here you should be able to do on pretty much any board. Note, however, that it becomes a lot more difficult if your trucks are too floppy. You don’t need totally solid 80s style freestyle trucks for this one, but if you can’t push down in that pocket without the board wobbling, buy yourself some better bushings and tighten your kingpin up a little bit.
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