By Andres Pachon
A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.
Vert (short for vertical) skateboarding tackles a whole different level of difficulty when it comes to skateboarding, there are also many complexity levels within the tricks themselves just like in any other discipline. It involves much more speed and air time which is basically those moments where you are no longer glued the ground and go flying on your board! Vert tricks involve full body spins, board grabs, handhelds and everything in between.
When you think about it, it is the evolution and somehow a marriage of two of the most significant disciplines in skateboarding, bowl or pool riding and freestyle skateboarding, some people might debate that but this is one way to see it.
Vert Skateboarding Gear
Photo: Matyas Paster (Unsplash)
One very important factor when it comes to vert is the gear that you need to get to be able to perform it with 55 mm or larger wheels and wider decks for more stability on the drop to pads and helmets! Safety is very important in any sport but trust us it will be way different the fall that you get from that ledge than the one you could get from a ramp while turning your whole body 20ft in the air!
Vert Skate Tips
Photo: Jan Kopřiva (Unsplash)
Let’s dive in on a few tips if you are planning on dropping from your first vert any time soon. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that vert takes even more guts than skills, you need to be skilled of course, but know that it is no easy task and you will need to practice a lot of smaller transitions if you are even planning on dropping a real high vert. Don’t try to play a hero because you could really get hurt! So let’s just say that you are already comfortable riding and skating a small transition or two for the next few steps:
Check out the ramp or bowl before dropping in. Get a feel for the surface and terrain.
When you're at the top of the ramp or bowl, take a look where it goes. For your first time, try to find a line that ends with a flat area that doesn't have a lot of other skaters around.
Put the tail of your board on the metal edge on the top edge of the ramp. Your back wheels should be hanging down over the edge of the ramp. Hold your skateboard there with your back foot across the tail.
Put your front foot over the front trucks of your skateboard. Stomp it down with all your weight until your front wheels hit the ramp. Do it with confidence, if you hesitate or have second thoughts while doing this a lot of things could go wrong.
Know how to fall, it is very rare to complete a full vert drop the first time you do it, but check out some of the other guys and try to learn from them. And just like in regular skateboarding you have to know how to fall to avoid major injuries Be confident and don't try to push your skills further than what they could actually go, take it slow and PRACTICE! PRACTICE! PRACTICE!
Vert Skateboarding Tricks
Photo: Seyi Ariyo (Unsplash)
Like in any other discipline, there are MANY tricks and variations involving vert. Let’s cover just a few of them so you can get an idea of what kind of skill you must have already if you are planning on attempting them:
"180" is an aerial trick where the skater and board spin a half rotation. It is basically an Ollie 180 performed in the air.
Rider and board spin one full rotation. This is most commonly performed from fakie so that the rider completes the 360 facing forward.
3 and a half full rotations. This is one of the most difficult air tricks due to the number of rotations, this trick was landed by Mitchie Brusco at the X-Games Minneapolis 2019, I think we have an article about mitchie brusco where we mention this).
The first lip trick performed by Jay Adams, these tricks require different varieties of balance on the "lip" of the ramp as above, there are many tricks and variations, we will show a few and some of the coolest ones!
A Stall on both trucks of the skateboard. It is mostly performed to recover composure before performing another trick or to "drop in" on the vert
Doing a 180 up to the lip, or come up fakie and land on the front foot with your nose and truck balancing on the edge of the coping.
Similar to a hurricane except you Ollie 270 into a smith grind.
This trick is done by balancing on the bottom tip of the tail while grabbing the nose with your front hand.
These are just a few of an almost endless list of tricks with different difficulty levels to choose from. Just like with any other trick, we recommend checking them out on YouTube and see for yourself that some of these are no piece of cake. Go practice and pull off some sick SHIT®!
Read also: The History of Vert Ramp