Dolphin Flips and 9 Other Skate Tricks Nobody Does Anymore

Remember the Dolphin?

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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After skateboarding purged itself of the triple flips and curb dancing of the early ‘90s, the list of acceptable tricks was trimmed down tremendously. Late shove its, anything pressure flipped, and all that grossness was cut by the mid-‘90s, and older tricks like wallrides and street grabs weren’t being done by many either. Soon enough Philly popularized pole jams and started taking wheels back to walls, trees, and any surface out. By the 2000s, pretty much any trick was ripe for a comeback, even P-Rod managed to make nollie late flips not look gross.

But despite the fact that creativity is being pushed more than ever in skating, there are still some tricks people won’t touch. Sometimes they just look terrible, others are just outdated and can’t be adapted to modern skating. Occasionally, someone will take a risk and throw something illegal in and make it look good--Mike Carroll’s pressure flip off a bump and over a bench in Fully Flared comes to mind. Some tricks straight up shouldn’t be done... ever. Here are Skate Tricks Nobody Does Anymore

Written by Anthony Pappalardo (@AnthonyPops)


Dolphin Flips

I’m not even sure why the Dolphin Flip happened, as it’s virtually impossible for this to look good. Essentially, it’s a varial flip that flips down and it’s a pretty tough one to learn, so it’s not surprising that it’s a fairly lost trick. Who wants to struggle to learn something awful? It’s also a fairly one-dimensional trick, as you’re not really going to do it into a grind or slide. Still, Darrell Stanton was bold enough to start off his first line in Free Your Mind with one. 

Nollie Hard Flips

Another relic from the illusion flip era, the nollie hard flip is rarely done by anyone these days. Cairo Foster mastered the fake flip so well that he could pop them over anything he could ollie, resulting in the nickname “nollie hard” by some harsh Pier 7 locals. It’s another example of a trick with a weird forward motion that doesn’t look clean or natural.

Illusion Flips

Picturing the non-flip of an illusion flip in my head conjures up dudes in wind pants and New Era fitteds hucking their boards around with their legs spread wide like MJ. The frontside kickflip that doesn’t flip, many exaggerated the illusion flip to the point of being offensive channelling. It's basically the total opposite of what The Boss does so damn well. Luckily,people stopped trying to emulate the flip Muska popularized and went back to proper frontside 180 flips. 

Front Foot Impossible

When the front foot impossible came out around 1990, everyone was so focused on progression that some nasty looking tricks got popular. This one is really bad. Somehow Ocean Howell made it look fluid, but Damian Carbajal’s slow motion atrocity in Not The New H-Street  video is a visual example of why this one hasn’t been revived.

Willy Grind

Not only did the saggy slide of the willy grind not look good, it was basically just a lazy nose grind. For a trick to survive and be taken to new levels, it has to be something you can finesse or power, not just kind of half-ass. This one isn’t coming back, as it really just looks like a straight up mistake. For the most part, the only ones you’d see even trying them were the random little kids that showed up to parks with some Costco complete and an extreme T-shirt.

One-Foot Tail Grab Nose Bonks

For a good period of time around '89-'90 people were legit going bonkers, nose bonking everything around. Trash cans, ledges, logs, anything stationary was getting tapped by someone’s front wheels. Nose bonks have made their way back and recently Clint Peterson popped an insane one off a roof in a Stereo video ad, but the one-foot tail grab variation fell off. One-foot tail grab ollies were a big trick for that era--it was almost mandatory that you learn them. As the whole one-foot craze gave way to the flip-trick revolution/evolution, the one-foot tail grab nose bonk was deaded.

Casper Flips

Time has proven that any trick involving some late kick where you redirect the board has little staying power. Landing a casper flip on an object or sliding it like Marc Jackson, Gonz, or Rodney Mullen looks amazing. They have style, but most other casper flipping looks herky jerky and jarring. Difficulty aside, it's just a strange-looking trick that most were over after they shredded their shins learning them.

Street Plants

Taking vert tricks to curbs and parking lots was a revolutionary idea in skateboarding in the ‘80s. It was a key moment in skating that completely changed its trajectory and helped establish street skating. The stationary nature of a street plant of any variation was an homage to vert skating but it lacked the flow that moving tricks offered. It’s a very showy trick and when it was popular, it wasn’t uncommon to see a grip of kids gathered around in a circle like they were breakdancing, seeing who could hold their ho-ho plant the longest, or extend the furthest. Currently, street plants have been relegated to dork trick, where they’ll most likely stay forever.

Ollie Airwalks

Many pros have have had entire careers without any footage of them grabbing their board--Gino Lannucci is a prime example. Since grab avoidance is perfectly acceptable, it's not a shocker that many variations faded out. The ollie airwalk, the trick that obviously inspired the shoe brand's name, and its upright scissoring motion is seldom seen anymore and a tough sell in general. Kicking one off a launch ramp in '86, while wearing neon shorts and a beret, made sense, but the ollie airwalk is seldom seen any more. Mike V is one of the only ones to execute this trick with power and make it look so violent that it’s rad.

Frontside Nollie Tailsides

Some tricks needed to be invented as a bridge to progression, like the ollie itself. No one is putting a straight ollie or nollie in a line, as it’s barely a trick, and the same can be said for the simple frontside nollie tailslide. It’s a slide you can cheat on, by sort of pushing your tail onto the ledge, then putting weight on the tail to avoid sagging. Backside lasted, and nollie flipping into a front tail still flies, but the stock version has been retired. When popped crispy and onto a rail or high ledge, it can still look great, though. In one of the most underrated parts ever, Stereo’s A Visual Sound, Mike Daher threw a nice one down on a good-sized ledge for the time, proving simple tricks done with power will always impress.

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