To execute an ollie...the front foot is moved slightly more towards the center of the board. The skateboarder jumps up, and as they are about to take off they kick the tail of the board down. The kick gives the front end of the board upward momentum, and as the tail hits the ground, it rebounds making the board completely airborne. When the board takes off, its nose is much higher off the ground than the tail is. The skateboarder slides their front foot up and forward on the griptape. The movement between the shoe and the board levels the skateboard and takes it further off the ground.
But where did the ollie get its name?
The Ollie is named after Alan Gelfand...aka Ollie...who invented the trick!
Alan Gelfand (born 1963, New York) is the inventor of the ollie, a skateboarding trick.
Gelfand moved from New York to Hollywood, Florida with his family in 1968. Alan "Ollie" Gelfand started skateboarding in 1974 after his father bought him his first skateboard. In 1976 he won the South Florida Skateboard Championships. This was the year skateboard parks started to appear with the very first one opening up in Port Orange, Florida in early 1976. In 1977 Hollywood would get its own park called Skateboard USA. This park with its imperfect walls was atypical of the first-generation skate parks and it was the over-vertical sections of the big bowl which played a significant role in Gelfand's 1977 development of the ollie. Gelfand's "no-hands aerial" was dubbed an "ollie" by friends Kevin Peterson, Craig Snyder, Jeff Duerr, and Scott Goodman using the nickname they had given Gelfand only months earlier.
During the summer of 1977 California skateboarder Stacy Peralta visited the Solid Surf Skate Park in Fort Lauderdale where he met Gelfand and observed with some disbelief his no-handed aerial. In 1978, after Peralta formed Powell Peralta with skateboard equipment manufacturer George Powell, Gelfand was recruited as the first member of the new team joining Stacy Peralta and Powell's own Ray "Bones" Rodriquez. This team later became known as the legendary Powell Peralta Bones Brigade which included other Florida skaters such as Mike McGill, inventor of the 540 aerial or "McTwist" in 1984, and Rodney Mullen who during the 1980’s grew to become one the of major influences of today's street skating.
Another young Bones Brigade member, Tony Hawk, used the ollie during the early 1980’s as a way to achieve higher air when doing tricks. The ollie soon changed both vert and street skateboarding in revolutionary ways and most skateboard tricks are now based on this maneuver.
In the late 1990’s ollie became an official entry in the Oxford English Dictionary but the origin was listed as unknown. In February 2004 the Oxford English Dictionary rectified the listing giving Alan "Ollie" Gelfand credit as the name and originator behind the 1977 maneuver. In July 2006 the Merriam-Webster followed suit adding Gelfand and his ollie to its dictionary. Gelfand stopped skateboarding in 1981 because of knee injuries, general burn-out and the shutdown of most U.S. skate parks during the previous year.
During the 1980's Gelfand turned to racing cars driving Volkswagens exclusively and winning many of the Sports Car Club of America SCCA races. In 1987 Gelfand won the World Karting Association, or WKA Grand National Championship. From there he went on to win four 24-hour races driving VW's he custom-built in a shop called "Ollieprep". In 2001 Gelfand raced in the Grand Am Cup behind the wheel of a 2000 model Porsche 986 Boxster. Gelfand continued racing for another year placing 3rd in several national competitions.
In 2001 Gelfand returned to skateboarding. In 2002 he opened a venue in Hollywood, Florida called Olliewood which features a 48 foot bowl built by the Team Pain crew. He also owns a Volkswagen dealership called "Volkswagen Depot" in Hollywood, Florida.
........and now you know where the skateboard trick "Ollie" got its name!