What Is an Aerial? Your Guide to Sky-High Skateboarding Tricks

Dive into the gravity-defying world of Aerials in skateboarding. Learn what sets this trick apart and how it elevates skaters to new heights of mastery!

Have you ever watched a skater launch off a ramp, twist in the air, and then land with such precision that it leaves you breathless? That’s not just any move; that’s an ‘Aerial‘ – or as we often call it, an ‘Air.’ Imagine breaking free from gravity and rotating through the air—that’s the unbeatable thrill of skateboarding aerials. If you’re a skateboarder, you’ll find no parallel to the sense of accomplishment that comes from pulling off this epic trick.

What is an aerial? An aerial in skateboarding terms, represents tricks performed on vertical platforms involving rotation and grabs.

What are the basics of aerial tricks?

Aerials, or “airs,” are a fundamental part of vertical skateboarding; they’re the heart-stopping jumps and spins people envision when considering extreme skateboarding. Born out of empty pools and vert ramps, these high-flying maneuvers have evolved into complex, innovative performances that push the boundaries of what’s possible on a board.

Image of a skateboarder doing an aerial trick. Source: unsplash
Image of a skateboarder doing an aerial trick. Source: unsplash
My favorite complete skateboard (at the moment):

Enjoi Whitey Panda Complete Skateboard

What is an aerial? Your guide to sky-high skateboarding tricks | 61vn95mf7ql. Ac sl1184 | skateboard salad
My favorite complete skateboard (at the moment):

Enjoi Whitey Panda Complete Skateboard

I had my board stolen a few years ago and was forced to quickly replace it with a complete. I got one with an Enjoi deck and loved it so much that I still buy the Whitey Panda deck each time I need a new deck. This complete with budget-friendly, beginner-friendly parts, but I still swear by it.

How are aerials performed?

Performing an aerial involves timing and precision. Skateboarders either perform an ollie just as the front wheels reach the lip of the ramp or lift the front wheels over the coping. While it may sound simple, the reality is an intricate ballet of balance, speed, and intuition. Aerials ask for more than guts; they demand skills honed through countless hours of practice on and off the ramp.

What is the range of aerial tricks?

Don’t be fooled into thinking aerials are all about getting air and soaring through the sky. It’s not just about the height achieved but also the rotation and the tricks in mid-air. From half rotations (180) to jaw-dropping three-and-a-half full rotations (1260), the world of aerial skateboarding is a treasure trove of gravity-defying sequences.

Which aerial tricks are the most iconic?

Some aerial tricks have made their mark in skateboarding history, such as Tony Hawk’s ‘900’ and Tom Schaar’s ‘1080’. Recently, Mitchie Brusco pushed boundaries even further by launching the first successful ‘1260’ at the X-Games Minneapolis 2019. But it’s not just rotation-based tricks that define aerial skateboarding. Tricks like the ‘Airwalk’ pull you in with their simplicity and style, making it appear as if the skater is walking mid-air!

“Once you’re airborne, it’s a kaleidoscope of freedom, rotation, and instinct, with each aerial maneuver becoming a brushstroke in skateboarding.”

However, it’s not just about spinning and walking on air. Many aerial tricks involve technical grabs:

  • Indy: Backside air with a toe-side rail grab
  • Stalefish: Heel-side grab with a backhand, considered as one of the tough grabs
  • McTwist: Not for the faint-hearted, this is an inverted backside 540 while grabbing Mute Air

There’s even a trick without using the feet to get air! The ‘No Comply’ involves popping the board’s tail and using the front foot to land back on the board. It’s a broad and endlessly creative world with countless ways to tweak and invent new aerial tricks.

How can you embrace the aerials?

It’s important to understand that nailing aerials takes time, patience, and lots of falling. Start with understanding your skateboard, how it reacts, and how you balance. Knowing your ride is the first step to mastering skateboard tricks.

You don’t need to recreate Tony Hawk’s ‘900’ on your first day. Start with something less complex, perhaps a ‘180’, then progress step by step. Approach these tricks like you’d solve a Rubik’s cube: layer by layer, taking your time.

Remember to take care of your skateboard as you continue to develop your skills and achieve new heights. Your skateboard takes the brunt of all those slams and rough landings. Learn when to replace your skateboard deck and keep it in shape for all your future tricks.

Before you dive into the world of aerial skateboarding, have a look at a quick checklist of dos and don’ts.

Understand your boardRush into complex tricks
Wear proper safety gearNeglect regular maintenance of your board
Take it step by stepIgnore your physical fitness
Practice regularlyForget the inception of skateboarding — fun
Rules to follow in the world of aerial skateboarding.

How’s my personal journey with aerials?

As someone far from an expert, connecting with a skateboard is all about embracing the journey. Aerials, in all their complex glory, are a testament to our innate desire to reach higher and go further. Sure, I’m not quite at the ‘720’ level—heck, I’m still trying to land cleaner ‘180’s! But every inversion, every rotation, and every sick air I manage is another hard-earned victory against gravity.

Let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like that first flush of triumph when you successfully land a trick for the first time. That instance, as brief as it may be, keeps me returning for more despite the slams and bruises. But hey, it’s all part of the gnarly journey, right?

What else can you do with aerials?

Beyond the dizzying rotations and gravity-defying leaps, aerial tricks serve another purpose. They create a communal bond among skateboarders, a shared pursuit of innovation that transcends cultural and geographic divides.

Image of a skateboarder doing a trick midair during a skate competition. Source: unsplash
What is an aerial? Your guide to sky-high skateboarding tricks | image of a skateboarder doing a trick midair during a skateboarding competition unsplash | skateboard salad

Whether shredding at a local skatepark for beginners or grinding at a world-famous spot, you’ll find fellow skateboarders united by the love of challenging norms and defying gravity. Each successful spin, each new combination, is another shared cheer, another shared triumph.

So get out, grab your board, and aim for the sky. Each rotation is a call to the world: look at what we can achieve when we dare to push boundaries. You’re not just performing an aerial trick; you’re a part of a vibrant, thriving community that’s always ready to redefine the impossible.

If you want even more tips and insights, watch the video below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

In the world of skateboarding, questions often arise as rapidly as a board on a ramp. Here are some common queries and my attempts at clarifying them.

Is it necessary to start with basic aerials before attempting more complex ones?

Absolutely! Learning to skateboard is like building a house: you start with the foundation before adding the walls and roof. Similarly, mastering the ‘180 Air’ before progressing onto the ‘720 Air’ builds up your skills and confidence. Trust me, your progress will be faster and safer this way.

What’s the significance of grabs and how do they vary with different aerials?

Grabs add an extra layer of complexity and style to aerials. They involve holding onto the board during a trick, making it look cooler and help with control during the maneuver. The different grabs, like the ‘Indy’ or the ‘Stalefish’, require different body positioning and hand placements, enhancing the visual appeal of your aerials.

Are there any specific practices or exercises to improve aerial tricks?

Yes, off-board training greatly helps in improving balance, strength, and air awareness—key attributes for executing aerial tricks. Regular workouts focusing on core, leg, and arm strength and balance exercises will go a long way. Interested in maintaining top fitness for skating? Check out our insights on skateboarding and physical fitness.

Who are some skateboarders I can follow for inspiration in aerial tricks?

Legendary figures like Tony Hawk, known for landing the first ‘900’, and Mitchie Brusco, who conquered the ‘1260’, are prime examples. They’ve revolutionized the field with their groundbreaking performances. A range of rising stars like Tom Schaar and Brighton Zeuner also showcase extraordinary talent, breathing new energy into aerial skateboarding. Watching these masters in action is a surefire way to get inspired.

Final thoughts

So there you go, folks—a deep dive into the uplifting world of aerials in skateboarding! Things may sometimes feel like they’re going “over-rotate,” but don’t forget, practice makes perfect, and you’ve got the strength, the balance, the ‘Indy’…I mean, the indomitable spirit to tackle them all. If you feel ready to ‘grab’ life…err…your skateboard by the wheels, get out there and show gravity who’s boss.

I read and reply to every comment. Did I manage to cover everything you wanted to know? If there’s a tricky trick or a convoluted concept you’re gnarly about, drop a comment below, and let’s have a chat. Feel free to share this post if it sheds some light on your skateboarding journey, and don’t forget to explore the rest of the blog for more tips and tricks on mesmerizing maneuvers like aerials. Thanks for hanging around, and keep rolling!

Key takeaways

This article covered the exhilarating thrill of aerial tricks in skateboarding. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Aerials are intricate skateboarding tricks involving rotation and grabbing.
  • Various degrees of rotation, from 180 to 1260, define the complexity of aerials.
  • Grab techniques such as the Indy, Stalefish, and McTwist add an extra layer of style.
  • Legendary skateboarders like Tony Hawk and Mitchie Brusco have left their mark with groundbreaking aerial tricks.
  • Start with simpler tricks, then progress to more complex ones, ensuring safety and steady learning.
  • Regular workouts can enhance balance and strength, which are crucial for performing aerial tricks.

Helpful resources

Steven Portrate
Written by Steven Sadder, Staff Writer

Hey! I'm Steven, a lifelong skater, and proud New Yorker. I’ve been skating since I was a teenager. I may be a bit older now, but I'm not slowing down. Follow me for skating tips and latest gear reviews.

Nick eggert.
Edited by Nick Eggert, Staff Editor

Nick is our staff editor and co-founder. He has a passion for writing, editing, and website development. His expertise lies in shaping content with precision and managing digital spaces with a keen eye for detail.

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