KSC Skateboard - Ollie: The Pulse of the Planet daily radio program offers free legal online mp3 downloads, exploring the world of sound in nature, culture and science, with audio adventures, world music, extraordinary sound portraits, science diaries, and nature ring-tones; an amazing sonic experience.

Airdate: Nov 18, 2008
Scientist: Paul Schmitt

KSC Skateboard - Ollie

KSC Skateboard - Ollie
Skateboarding tricks begin with a basic trick called the Ollie.


music; ambience skateboard park

Schmitt: “You know, so it’s an amazing trick that mystifies people.”

It may seem like an impossible feat, but it’s one of the fundamentals of skateboarding. Today, a look at the forces at play behind a trick called the Ollie. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Pro skateboarder Jeremy Wray.

Wray: “The Ollie is the basis of modern street skateboarding. Every time you need to get onto a handrail or get onto a ledge or do anything, you have to hit the tail. You gotta get the board off the ground. It all starts with an Ollie.”

Paul Schmitt is the founder of createAskate.org and a major skateboard manufacturer.

Schmitt: “An Ollie’s a trick where people that don’t understand skateboarding think it’s magical. You see a guy skatin’ down the street, and there’s a fire hydrant, and he’ll jump over it with his skateboard with no ramp or tools or anything. And what happens with an Ollie, it’s basically an energy transfer. He’s takin’ that energy that’s moving forward, and he slaps the tail on the ground, and he jumps in the air, and the board hops up to his feet, and he’s got a style and skill to do that. He sucks up his knees to make it go higher with him, and it looks like it’s totally Velcroed to his feet, and he flies over the obstacle. Now, in street skating it’s the basis for almost every trick cause you Ollie in and out of everything you do.”

And how did the Ollie get its name?

Schmitt: “There’s a guy named Allen Gelfand, from Hollywood, Florida. And at the skateboard park he’d do this trick, and whenever they would leave the skate park, they would go to the burger joint. All he would ever eat was a Ollie burger, so they just started to call him Ollie. And that’s how the trick got named, so glad he didn’t like eatin’ Whoppers, because it just wouldn’t work. Ollie was a really unique name that obviously stuck, you know, for many years.”

Paul Schmitt is one of the participating scientists and engineers in the Kids’ Science Challenge, a nationwide competition for third to sixth graders. Check out kidsciencechallenge.com. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.