Kw-halloween-logo-small

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!

    latest videos

    F1105477551343

    Coolest Skateboard Trick?

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

    related stories

    Random in the forums

    Cataclysm_Destruct
    Band.
    reply about 1 hour
    hugebear
    hugebear posted in Say Anything:
    Skillet
    reply about 1 hour
    Bunnoo
    Poetry is my life.
    reply about 1 hour
    Coolmath5u
    Coolmath5u posted in General:
    Hey guys! SO today i would like to tell you guys about Coolmath5u.# # #  . Coolmath5u is a website where you could play unblocked games at school or home, and schools never block it because it has math in its name. So when ever your bored in school, remember Coolmath5u.# # #!!!!    :)
    reply about 1 hour
    Cataclysm_Destruct
    Type.
    reply about 1 hour

    play online games

    Candy-100

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

    Big_icon_(7)

    Have you ever fancied being a ranger like those fantasy characters you love so m...

    Big_icon_(4)

    You run across the city in a car chase with the police officers.

    Big_icon_(6)

    The evil master kidnapped all of your friends!

    Ow_fright_ad_100x100

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