*Kickflip: A skateboard trick where skater ollies to pop themselves and their board into the air and then, mid air, they kick the side of the board so it does a full rotation and they then land back on the board.
There’s a weird thing that has happened to all skateboarders as we just mind our own business skating anywhere in public. Out of nowhere someone, usually from a car in slow traffic, will shout out, “Do a kickflip!” It’s so common that it’s a running joke with skaters that we say it to each other to be funny.
But when you’re out in the world it’s such a strange, mildly aggressive, Catch-22 demand. Like, do you ignore them because it’s none of their fucking business if I can kickflip or not? But what if you CAN kickflip, do you just do one casually as a flex but end up feeling like a dancing monkey giving in to a stranger’s demand? Is the person shouting, “Do a kickflip!” just a skater kidding around to another fellow skater and they’d be hyped if you landed one? Or is the reason why they shouted it in the first place to have a laugh when you don’t have the confidence or skill level to deliver a trick like that on demand and in public? What if you have the balls to actually take up that challenge? You bend down to pop the Ollie, you go to kick the board into a spin and your timing is off and your board spins half way and smacks the sidewalk with you landing off to the side and you’re left to pick up your pieces of pride from the sidewalk as they drive off?
I got a Do A Kickflip this weekend at my local skate park by a teen that had wandered in and was sitting on the bench observing. There were four or five other skaters there and two BMXers so there were other people he could have demanded this of than the nerdy middle aged lady wearing knee pads, wrist guards and a helmet.
Yes, he targeted me but jokes on him because he didn’t know that kickflips have been my bread and butter since the 90’s. It took me a while to get them back after my fifteen year break from skating but I recently had a breakthrough where I’m landing them every time. So when he said to me, “Can you do a kickflip?” I answered yes.
“Go ahead and do one then.” The kid said to me. Everyone in the park stopped and waited to see what would happen next. Every skaters’ conundrum had finally visited me. It was my turn to decide what to do. My pride left me no choice. “Okay.” I shrugged.
I dropped my board, bent down to Ollie, kicked the board into a perfect spin and landed back onto it smoothly. Honestly, I was so grateful that my kickflip did not abandon me at that moment. At my age it could go at anytime.
“Ya!!” the kid started laughing and fist bumped me.
I’ll take my small victories.