Skateboard Tricks 101: How To Perform a Heelflip

skateboard tricks 101 how to perform a heelflip

If you are looking for a cool trick to try on your skateboard, nothing is as thrilling or challenging as the heelflip. Heelflips require the right skills and pop to do properly, but the payoff is sweet. Mastering it will take your skating game to the next level. 

You can perform a heelflip by extending an ollie with the following steps:

  • Take the necessary precautions
  • Get your feet into position
  • Pop, flick, and kick the board
  • Catch and land the skateboard

By reading further, you will learn how to make this trick your own with a set of 4 simple steps. We will also highlight how it differs from the kickflip, so you never get them confused and inadvertently injure yourself. 

How to Heelflip in 4 Steps

The heelflip is among the most popular skateboard tricks out there. Also called the heelie, the trick looks like a reversed kickflip with an outward spin. As such, it consists of an ollie followed by kicking out your front foot diagonally to flip the board. There are even double and triple versions of the trick as well. 

Despite its popularity, the heelflip is not a beginner move. Instead, it is considered an intermediate one that requires precise footing, balance, and practice to perform just right. You generally learn it after you master the Ollie, Pop Shove-it, and Kickflip. 

However, it is not a difficult trick to learn. It is just an extension of your basic tricks. As long as you already know how to do an Ollie and a kickflip on flat ground, you already have all it takes to start mastering the Heelflip. Because of this, the entire trick can be performed using the following 6 steps. 

Step 1: Prepare for the Heelflip

Every trick begins with preparation. It can and will take time to master the heelflip, and you will fall every time you try it until you do. Therefore, you will want to take every precaution you can to prevent or reduce the impact of injuries. 

As such, you want to wear proper safety protection gear and a sturdy pair of well-cushioned shoes. This gear will let you take a tumble, get up, and try again. You also want to perform the trick in wide open spaces such as empty parking lots, especially if you do not have access to a properly equipped skatepark.

Finally, it would help if you warmed up to the heelflip with strengthening exercises. Make sure you understand skateboard fundamentals such as ankle-strengthening and balance before you make your first attempt. 

Step 2: Get in Position

A good heelflip requires creating a counterbalance with your foot placement. You start the trick by placing your front foot as you would with an Ollie, approximately an inch below the front bolts. You then adjust your feet until your toes hang slightly off the board’s edge while keeping your back foot on the board’s tail. Keep your stance low and your feet should give you the needed counterbalance.

The position of your feet must be perfect so that you can catch the board with your heel as you kick it out. 

Step 3: Pop, Flick, and Kick

Once you are ready to attempt a heelflip, you pop an ollie while keeping your feet in position and your shoulders straight. As you pop the board, shift your weight to maintain balance and pressure on the board’s concave. 

As the board catches air, slide your front foot towards the board’s nose. As your foot reaches the edge, kick It almost straight out with a slight angle towards your toes to keep the nose-diving down. As your foot leaves the board, flick and catch the edge with your heel to begin the flip. 

Step 4: Catch and Landing Your Skateboard

Once the board completely rotates below your feet, catch it with your back foot first followed by the front. If you must, you can bring your knees up to your chest before dropping your feet on the board.  After that, maintain a bend in your knees as you land with the board parallel to the ground. This will help you absorb the impact. You can then roll away knowing you successfully did a heelflip. 

Practice and Progression to Improve Your Skills

Your first heelflip may not go exactly as described above. This is okay. It takes a lot of time and consistent practice to master. Remember, you must train your body to land back on the board while providing even foot pressure. The board will get from you. It is a challenging trick to pull off and you are bound to make a few mistakes.

Your best bet is to build muscle memory one step at a time. Warm up with a few ollies then you can flick the board while stationary. Once you have those down, you can start practicing leaning back on your heels. There is no need to push yourself, reaching this point is already a testament to your skills. 

Once you have the basics, you can start adding personal touches. Find what adjusts work for you. As long as your foot stays near the front bolts, you are fine. Everything else is up to personal preference. 

Through it all, just remember to:

  • Practice flicking without popping or jumping first
  • Start practicing with a stationary board
  • Never give up and take the time you need to master the trick

What’s the Difference Between a Heelflip and a Kickflip?

While a heelflip and a kickflip look similar, they differ in their rotation. A heelflip is an extension of an ollie where you snap the tail of the board off a surface, bringing the board into the air. You then adjust your positioning to flip the board outward (clockwise) and away from your toes. 

On the other hand, a kickflip uses foot placement to flip the board counterclockwise toward the skater’s toes. 

Both moves require similar skills and foundations. However, the heelflip can be easier to learn in some situations. However, most professional skaters recommend that you first master the kickflip before attempting heelflips. That will drastically reduce the learning curve regardless.


The heelflip is a great trick every skater should know. While considered an advanced technique, it is just an extension of the ollie with a few additional steps that flip the board. You can also add some personal touches to make it your own.

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