Learn Inverts in 30 days: Day 2

Learning inverts in 30 days: Day 2

First of all, thanks for all the tips, warnings and encouragement I’ve been getting via comments and email. I wasn’t sure how this would go over, so it was a nice surprise. Alright you sissies…

Day two. I didn’t have time to go to a skatepark, and I don’t have a ramp in my yard, but I was able to spend about 20 minutes in the street. I figured if the only thing I did was work on the motion of grabbing and getting airborne a little it would still be time well spent, and I think I’m right. The act of reaching down, grabbing and planting still feels foreign to me, so the more I do it, the more it becomes second nature. I decided to work on de-stinkbugging it too, reaching around the front leg instead of between. If I learn them this way I won’t have to unlearn a bad habit.

Man, it feels awkward, but with each attempt it makes it a hair easier. My wife caught and snickered at my first attempts that left me sprawled on the concrete. I focused on the the curb by my driveway as the transition. Although there’s barely anything there, I think it helped me mentally. It makes me think we need higher curbs. Several older neighbors came out to see what the commotion was all about, which added a whole different level of awkwardness. Even the ice cream man looked at me kind of funny when he drove by.

I’ve come to the realization that I’ve got a fundamental problem with my timing and rotation. As you can see in yesterday’s post, I am turning or carving before I plant, which can only end in the dreaded over-rotation. I’m still doing it on the curb plants too, but for now I’m going to concentrate on the motion and work on the timing later. I’m not sure if the photo shows this, but by the end I managed to get the board off the ground a fair amount.

Let this be a tip for all of you who say they don’t have the time to make it to the skatepark to work on your handplants. Go out to the curb in front of your house, and you can still make progress.


  1. I applaud your desire to avoid the stinkbug, but it will be much harder for you to keep your back foot on the tail. I’ve been jonesing to relearn inverts cuz it was one of my favorite tricks back in the day (the last one I did was 20 years ago and resulted in a broken arm)…I’m hoping to follow your lead and make a real attempt to get them back…thanks for the inspiration.

  2. backwardsbernie on September 3, 2008 - Reply

    i don’t think grabbing any trick between the legs is considered “stink bug” but whatever works for you go for it. I think grabbing between the legs closer to your back foot helps keep the back foot on and also lift the back wheels off the ground.

  3. I used to grab around my leg, but found it more difficult to plant on the coping with my other hand, and I tended to over-rotate it, resulting in the dreaded tailbone/skull-whip fall that someone else described. When I switched to between the legs, I planted higher, and the landing was easier to stick. Hey, Valdez grabbed between his legs, so I don’t think the “stinkbug” stigma applies to handplants…

  4. david c. on September 3, 2008 - Reply

    I learned ’em halfway up a ten foot ramp and slowly worked my way to the top. I think I did ’em with my hand six inches below the coping for about a year…of course the difference between that, and on top, was completely in my head (a bad place for anything). Try simply kickturning around your planted hand to get the proper motion down. Air will happen more naturally when you do it higher on the tranny.
    Where you grab on inverts is all about which variation you’re doing – grab stinky for standard, sadplant or smithverts, around the knee for contorted tuck-knees, backside for Andrechts, between the legs backside for Stelmasky, OR there is still time to pioneer something… how about nose grab?!??!!!

  5. The stinkbug comment was not meant to be taken seriously. I don’t know if there is a stigma about how you grab your inverts, probably not since they seem to be a well respected move in this part of the country, even the youngsters will give a little Woot! Not enough people doing them to discriminate.

    There’s something weirdly satisfying about being able to lift your board up from the street with both feet on the board and one hand on the ground.

  6. I wouldnt worry about the ice cream man giving you a funny look, just give him a funny look next time he drives though. Ice cream guys and clowns are about the freakiest people I can think of.

  7. “Valdez” may be the best bet. Grover has a well centered valdez. The symmetry looks cool. I learned a lot studying photos of his invert (fashion sense too). If you valdez grab closer to your back foot your board will naturally get above you but be careful of the extra momentum.

  8. I suspect that the awkwardness of the ‘invert’ on the driveway (as pictured) is because it is so flat. The rotation of the body, lifting of the board and weight on the planted hand are all exaggerated. As you move to a steeper surface, my guess is that it will feel much less awkward. (But there may be a sweet spot after which if you go higher, it becomes awkward again. Ideally the sweet spot will migrate towards coping over time.) However, the time is not wasted – because the movement is so exaggerated on the driveway, it is good to do as part of the learning process.

    I am rooting for you and your invert!

    And before I forget, I think Bernie’s description of how to do an invert is one of the best I’ve read anywhere.

  9. Have you tried them on barrier walls? Just an idea.

  10. bernie o'dowd on September 3, 2008 - Reply

    I just got home from skating and I did some inverts. I love ’em. funny thing is now that i’m old and shit when i get reach the apex i let out some kind of guttoral “ugh!”. I don’t even try to it’s like my guts are old and weak and don’t like being upside down or something. people probably think i’m trying to be gnarly or something “arggh!” look at me I’m radically upside down. Funny how people think inverts are so amazing now when like 20 years ago everyone did ’em like the ollie or something. yes I’m rambling ‘cuz i’m drunk.

  11. Wish I had a good elbow to join this fun- but NOOO I go and destroy it.

  12. There’s always the Eggplant.

  13. look at me I’m radically upside down.

    WINNER: bernie o’dowd

  14. jeffjohnson on September 4, 2008 - Reply

    yeah… bernie’s comments made me laugh out loud. gettin’ old is good times.

  15. bernie o'dowd on September 4, 2008 - Reply

    I think there should be a whole website that’s a support group of old skaters trying to help each other fulfill their dreams of skating half as good as they did 20 years ago. The last bitch for me to get back was lien to tails on vert. They were supposed to be included in my 40 year old “super run” a couple of years ago. Along with a backside air, frontside air and an invert. I got it but a year late. And now guess what? they’re gone again. Hooray I love losing tricks!

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