Kickflip not flipping - You might be popping wrong

Last updated: 2023/05/26

Why does my fickflip slowly?

Don't pop too hard. The excess energy of the nose makes it hard to flick.

Pop is the most underrated yet the most critical part of skateboarding tricks. You must understand the difference between jumping and popping to avoid popping the tail too hard(overpopping); otherwise, you give the nose too much energy to flick. Let's science it.


Pop just hard enough to deliver the nose to your front foot.

Snap the tail and raise the nose so your front foot can keep in contact with your board. Flicking becomes hard when the nose's momentum overwhelms the force of your flick by popping too hard.

Lift your body first and pop light.

Your thighs lift your body, and calves pop the tail. By raising the center of gravity of your body first, you can snap the tail much lighter.

Avoid overpopping.

Pop as hard as needed so the nose loses momentum when it reaches the peak of its trajectory. It becomes unnecessarily harder to flick if it still has excess momentum after reaching the peak.


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Common Mistakes

Your board may flip slowly by trying to get away from your board.

You'd pop to achieve the following goals.

  • To jump into the air.
  • To deliver your board's nose to your front foot.

A problem happens when you try to pop harder because you think your board flips slowly, and you must secure a longer time in the air to avoid landing primo or upside down. It may sound counterintuitive, but your board may flip slower by trying to jump higher.

What happens when you pop?

A skateboard is a solid object. When you apply a force to one side of it(tail), the other side(nose) correspondingly moves.

In other words, the nose has more energy as you pop harder. And how strong you pop determines how strong your flick has to be.

How to pop effecitvely

Pop gently so the nose loses momentum.

In the previous video, we learned we need only 3kg of energy (enough for a finger to generate) to flip a board, and human legs are easily strong enough to create such energy.

But it applies only under the condition where the nose is in the state of sitting still. It implies the following hypothesis:

  • When you pop the tail excessively hard, the energy of the nose remains too strong for your front foot to flick. You'd find it heavy to flick when the nose's energy to come up is more significant than your flick's.
  • The power of the nose has to become small enough by the time it reaches where your front foot flicks it in a way you deliver the nose to your front foot.

Lift your body with thighs and pop the tail with the back calf.

Understanding the difference between the functions of your thighs and calves is essential to pop without overpopping.

Functions of thighs

Use your thighs to raise your body weight, NOT to pop your board. Extending your thighs before snapping the tail allows you to loosen your body weight sitting on your board. You can snap the tail more lightly with your body weight floating in the air.

Functions of back calf

Use your back calf for popping the tail. The rear calf alone is NOT strong enough to raise your body and must act in association with your thighs.

Hold until your thighs raise your body's center of gravity and pop AFTER that.


Try flicking while getting off your board.

The same practice as "How to flick" applies here.

  • Pop gently. No wild idea is needed.
  • Get off the board by jumping towards your heel side.
  • Leave your front foot on the deck while sliding it up.
  • Flick gently. Make sure to keep in mind where you should stop flicking.
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