The Ollie

Alan Gelfand

Alan Gelfand performing one of the first Ollies that I ever photographed / Solid Surf skatepark / March 1979

The ‘Ollie’ is arguably the most important trick in skateboarding today. Most of the tricks we do are based on it. We don’t often hear the history behind it though.

Alan Gelfand, born in 1963, started skateboarding in 1974. He used to skate at a park called Skateboard USA, which had over-vert sections, mostly because they were still perfecting ramps and skateparks at that time. It turns out that the imperfect transitions would be pretty important in the development of the ‘Ollie’, or ‘Ollie Pop’, which was its original name. It was while trying a lipslide that Gelfand accidentally missed the coping, and performed the first witnessed aerial without grabbing the board. Scott Goodman, a skateboarder from Hollywood, gave Gelfand his nickname, “Ollie” and named the trick and ‘Ollie Pop’.

Stacey Peralta saw the trick in 1977, and the ‘Ollie Air’ was adopted in 1978, simply called an ‘Ollie’ today. Gelfand was also the first member of the new Powell Peralta team with Stacey Peralta and Ray “Bones” Rodriguez, which later became the infamous Bones Brigade. Incidentally, the team also came to include Rodney Mullen, who helped develop the ‘Ollie’ on flat ground.

Hope you learnt something today kids!

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