Heelflips are achieved by combining an ollie and a kick towards the front-foot’s toe-side corner of the skateboard. When done properly, the board flips under you one full rotation along the board’s length-axis. The heelflip is one of the best in skateboarding, but also one of the most difficult.
Before we get into the specifics, we recommend you check out the video below. When you’re finished watching the video you should read the post that follows to really help you understand the mechanics of the heelflip.
Onto Flip Tricks!
I hope you have been having fun progressing on your board! Don’t worry if you are still on Basic Riding or learning your Ollie. The more time you spend on the fundamentals of skateboarding and just getting really good at simple riding, the better.
Before you learn heelflips I would recommend learning to Ollie, Frontside 180, Backside 180, Front and Back Shove It. It is definitely possible to learn how to heelflip before that, but I feel if you have those down it will improve your board control and make this trick easier to land.
The heelflip can be difficult and it may be easier to learn kickflips first, but if you are ready to tackle heelflips, here is some basic information to get you going!
Reviewing these 6 crucial steps will help you with your heelflips.
- Foot position
- Body position
- Practice steps
- Back foot popping
- Front foot flicking
The foot position for the heelflip is your front foot about the same distance up the board as an Ollie or Kickflip but instead you are going to have your toes hanging off the board. Your back foot is going to want to be in the pocket of your tail closer to the side your heel is and you are going to want to stand on the balls of your foot. Your back foot should be slightly angled with your heel turned a few degrees toward your front foot.
When it comes to life in general, having good posture has many benefits. Good posture keeps your bones and joints aligned correctly so your muscles are being used properly. It prevents back and muscle pain and makes you look good too! Perhaps the most underrated benefit of good posture, however, is that good posture unlocks the secret to perfect heelflips.
Standing up straight before you pop your board and keeping your back straight as you bend your knees will keep the board under your feet as it flips. Your chest should be facing out, not facing down towards the griptape.
You don’t want to be slouching or hunched over in any way as you perform a heelflip. You will end up jumping forward instead of upward, resulting in your board landing behind you instead of under you. If you’ve been practicing heelflips for a while to no avail, simply correcting your posture as you attempt the trick may fix your problem.
Now that you’ve got the foot placement down and your body in the right position, let’s go over a couple of helpful practice steps that can help you build the muscle memory required for landing heelflips consistently.
To start learning to get heelflips down, pop your board on the ground but don’t jump, just stand on the tail so your board is standing up and drag your foot up the board and off the side to practice the motion of the heelflip. Practice that a bunch of times to get comfortable.
The next practice step is stepping off with your back foot. The reason is we are just going to be practicing getting the rotation of the heelflip with the board so we can get comfortable with the board flipping. To perform this practice step, pop your board and flick the heelflip with the front foot and essentially try to land with just your front foot.
One of the common problems with the heelflip is the board going behind you. If this happens, you are going to want to be leaning back slightly toward your heels. With these two practice steps mastered, it’s time to start putting some heelflips down for real.
Back Foot Popping
You should be used to this step by now. With your back foot in the proper heelflip position, the role of your back foot is to pop the board straight down the same way you would with an ollie. Apply pressure with the ball of your back foot as you bend your knees, then pop HARD and jump high!
After you’ve popped the board and jumped in the air, make sure you bring that back foot up high enough to allow your board to complete the heelflip rotation.
Front Foot Flicking
The motion of your front foot is similar to the ollie when you’re doing a heelflip. The main difference is that the front foot will kick outwards, rolling off the nose on the toe side edge of the board. Although the heel is involved, it’s more or less your pinky toe and that side of the foot that will flick off the board as you kick to achieve the heelflip rotation.
As you bend down to pop the trick you should feel majority of the pressure applied to the ball of your front foot. This pressure is almost enough to curl your big toe over the edge of the board.
After you’ve popped the board with your back foot and flicked it with your front foot, try bringing your knees up towards your chest as you jump to let the board finish flipping. Watch the board as it flips under your feet and wait for the opportunity to stomp on the bolts. Sometimes heelflips will flip slowly, forcing you to wait until the last second to put the landing gears down.
To get a faster flick and catch your heelflips better, adjust your front foot to be closer your back foot. This can also give your heelflips some extra height. Remember to bend your knees as you land to help absorb the impact and prevent you from accidentally stepping off.
- Back foot in the pocket of the tail, slightly angled, and your front foot around the middle of the board with the toes slightly hanging off the side of the board.
- Apply pressure to the ball of your front foot as well as the ball of your back foot.
- Keep your back straight with your chest facing outwards.
- Practice the flick of the heelflip.
- Start popping and doing the heelflip but letting your back foot come off.
- Try to land the heelflip! Allow the board to flip all the way around and then catching the board with your feet.
- Land with your knees slightly bent.
- Roll away!
Congratulations you have just learned the heelflip!
At BrailleSkateboarding.com we have everything you need to help you progress. Our full tutorial Skateboarding Made Simple is a unique approach to learning to skate created by expert instructor Aaron Kyro. The full lesson plan Volume 1-7 will take you from beginning to advanced skating!
Show us your best heelflips! Braille Skateboarding wants to see heelflips from all over the world, so film a quick clip of you doing your best heelflip and post it on Instagram tagging @brailleskate and #brailleskate. Let us know which piece of advice helped you the most so we can highlight that and we can get more people landing heelflips!