September 2004


Today I bought my second ever skateboard, or, at least a new deck for my first, which is now well and truly smashed up with one missing fish tail and the words “eat it” cut into the grip tape (I was drunk and thought it was a good idea at the time). Many failed nosestalls caused the fishtails to develop large splits as the nose would smash into the obstacle at high speeds. It only took a bad ollie or two to snap off one end and the other wasn’t far behind.

I’m now looking at the new deck, resplendently clean and smooth. To be honest, I’m quite reluctant to put trucks and grip tape on it because Martin and I have been having so much fun on it this morning without it. I actually landed a kickflip or two, and shuvits are a piece of piss. It’s much like riding a snowboard (I’ve never actually got on a snowboard but I at least imagine it’s a similar experience).

Doing all these smooth bottomed shuvits has really taught me something today. For the longest time, any shove-its or pop shove-its I was doing always flew around about a metre to the side (away from me forwards in the case of backside shove its and away behind me for frontside). To counteract this, I thought I had to try and balance the actions of both feet so both were shoving the board equally so it would rotate on the spot. To see how this is wrong, it may be useful for you to have a board in front of you.

I’ll use a backside shuvit as my example because I’m more familiar with it, as I find it much easier than doing one frontside. The same principles will apply for a frontside shuvit though.

With the back foot on the tail, and the front foot in the middle of the skateboard, my bad shuvits become apparent as you imagine the front foot pushing forwards equally as the back foot pushes back. The axis that the board will then be spinning around is approximately over the back truck or just in front of it. This means that there is far more weight on one side of the axis (the side with the nose) than on the other. The result is that the greater weight at the nose end takes the spin out of control, making it harder and much more scary to land as you have to consciously jump to the side to land on it.

For A Better Shuvit, Then…

1. You want the board to spin right around an imaginary axis that is drilled straight through the middle of the board. That way, it will stay right below your feet. To accomplish this, you’ll either have to have one foot on each fish tail and push equally in opposite directions with both, which is possible (I just tried it) but extremely impractical, or, as in the following method, place your feet so that the back foot is on the tail and the ball of your front foot is slap bang in the centre of your board.

2. Shove the tail back (or forwards for a frontside shuvit) with your back foot. Your front foot, almost acting like the axis you want the board to spin about, should make no shoving movement and barely leave contact with the board. If you cut a circle of grip tape out of the middle so you have smooth bit of deck (which also helps with some other tricks, especially in freestyle skateboarding) I imagine you wouldn’t have to leave contact at all.

3. The ease of this trick becomes apparent, as all you now have to do is let the skateboard spin around and plant your back foot back on it. Your front foot really doesn’t do a lot at all.

4. If you want to do 360° shuvits (of course you do) all you need to do is shove the board harder with your back foot. You will probably have to jump a bit too, otherwise the decks friction with your font foot will probably slow it down before it reaches the 360° mark. Your front foot should still maintain contact, but not heavily. Keeping contact with the skateboard like this is kind of reassuring because you know it’s under you.

Pop Shuvit

If you are jumping up a bit to try and accomplish a 360° shuvit, you’ll probably end up doing a pop shuvit (360° or otherwise). I don’t imagine you’ll be complaining about this since it’s a much more impressive trick. The difference here is simply that the board spins higher in the air because you pop the skate board as you shove it with your foot. This will happen pretty much automatically if you’re jumping up, as the back foot will pop the tail down as it shoves gaining it a surprising amount of air considering you will not be doing a foot slide as you would to do a high ollie.

Pop shuvits are sometimes called ollie shuvits too, but this is probably a bit misleading since you don’t really ollie at all.