Kw-logo-holiday

The Science of Skateboarding

The ollie is performed by using the Rotation Around Multiple Axes law.
Science of Skateboarding
Skateboarders use the laws of physics to perform the coolest tricks.
Science of Skateboarding

Skaters seem to have found a way to defy the laws of physics, but they're actually using these laws to perform cool skateboard tricks.

The Physics of the Ollie

To perform an ollie, skaters jump over obstacles onto curbs and ramps. The coolest thing about this trick is that the skateboard seems to be glued to the skater's sneakers in mid-air. The physics behind the ollie is called rotation around multiple axes. Three forces act on the skateboard just before the skater jumps:
  • the weight of the skater.
  • the force of gravity on the skateboard.
  • the force of the ground pushing up on the skateboard
  • .
    These three forces balance out to zero, which is why the skateboard rolls along at a constant speed. The skater also needs to crouch down in order to do an ollie because a low center of mass is essential to jumping high.

    The Physics of Pumping in a Halfpipe

    The faster a skater goes in a halfpipe, the higher he can rise out of the pipe. To pump in a halfpipe, the skater crouches down while riding across the flat bottom of the pipe, but must straighten up as he enters the sloped part of the ramp. Centripetal force, which keeps a body moving in a circular path (for example, a halfpipe), makes it hard to rise up. The net work you perform by pumping to overcome the centripetal force though, gives you a net energy gain. This extra energy boost gives you the added speed and greater height at the top of the ramp or halfpipe.

    The Physics of the Frontside 180

    Skaters perform the frontside 180 by flying into the air from the top of a halfpipe. When they reach the other side of the ramp, they seem to stay there for a moment, and then turn in mid-air and skate back down the ramp. This trick is performed by using the law of conservation of angular momentum. This law states that if you're rotating, you'll keep on rotating unless a twisting force stops you. Also, in the case of the frontside 180, if you're not rotating, you need a twisting force, or torque, to help you to start rotating. So, the skateboarder uses his arms as torque to turn himself around in mid-air, pulling off the trick.

    Related Stories:

  • Learn How to Ollie
  • Learn How to Kickflip
  • How Do You Do a Heelflip?
  • The Spin on Beyblades
  • More Scientific Info!
  • >

    readers voted!

    Comments

    SilverstreamFan327
    Cool!
    commented: Thu May 03, 2012

    there are 1 more comments

    Please login or register to add comments


    like this article?
    Sign up now to get more just like it!

    latest videos

    F1105477551343

    Coolest Skateboard Trick?

    • Ollie.
    • Frontside 180.
    • Rail Slide.
    • Caballerial.

    related stories

    Random in the forums

    sharlene13
    sharlene13 posted in General:
    hey someone text me 
    reply 15 minutes
    karacck
    karacck posted in General:
    YOUR MOOD :HAPPY FAVORITE COLOR :BLUE FAVORITE CARTOON: STEVEN UNIVERSE
    reply 19 minutes
    SelenaGomezFanGirl
    thanks but ill have to check that character cuz i aint know that person!
    reply 22 minutes
    Miley143
    Miley143 posted in General:
    "Charulata" wrote: "Miley143" wrote: YOUR MOOD :-  Overly Excited  FAVORITE COLOR:- Black FAVORITE CARTOON:- Well this isn't a cartoon but my favorite movie is The Nightmare Before Christmas  Sorry! You have to tell your favorite cartoon's name! oh I'm sorry well probably  looney tunes?
    reply 30 minutes
    blackveilbrides15
    6 foot 4 
    reply 37 minutes

    play online games

    Hour-of-code-tumb

    Codey the troll is lost! Help him avoid obstacles and get back into the computer...

    Candy-quest-feature

    Your troll is lost! Help it avoid obstacles and get back into the computer.

    Fo...

    Dragon-dash

    Your dragon must return to guard the treasure! Help it gather lost coins and avo...

    _thumb_100x100

    Shoot blobs with different properties to merge yellow blobs. Your blobs can be r...

    1005_cc_kidz_100x100_vlh

    Candy's got her candies into a terrible mess, can you help her to sort them out?

    Candy-100

    A great online version of the famous Candy Crush. This is the best game launched...

    _thumb_100x100

    Bloons 2 is here! A worthy and awesome sequel at last to our original Bloons gam...

    Frostbox_100x100

    Explore the world or hang out with friends in your own condo. Get a unique look,...