Vert skating, aka vertical skateboarding or vert ramp skating, is a type of skateboarding where skaters ride on a skate ramp (or other incline) that has a vertical section. Usually this takes place on a giant half pipe, although this is not always the case.
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Vert skating 101 - The History
The origins of vert skating goes back to the mid 1960s and 1970s where skaters in Los Angeles would ride empty backyard swimming pools during the drought as an alternative to the street skating craze. Surfers, too, found pool riding to be a close (enough) comparison to riding the waves, and as the landscape was pretty well untouched, each day provided an opportunity to innovate.
From here purpose-built skate parks, ramps and halfpipes started popping up as an alternative for those without access to pools, while the OG pool skaters were learning to get air (getting the board out of the pool, turning and landing back into the transition). These ramps would be a plywood structure that replicated the horizontal and vertical sections of the pool, but without the corner parts that allowed for carving, leading skaters to further focus on tricks they could do in the air.
Throughout the 1980's vert skateboarding gained popularity, and new technically advanced tricks were created. Vert Contests and televised events made this the most visible form of skateboarding up until the early 1990's recession where skaters swapped ramps for the streets once again. As vert skating evolved through this time, street tricks were interwoven and a whole new technical era of vert skating was born.
Today we have accelerated this further, with the introduction of giant vert ramps called mega ramps - consiting of a roll-in that exceeds 12m (40'), a gap that ranges from 7.5m (25') to 21m (70') between the roll-in and the landing, and a huge quarter pipe that is 5.4m (18') or taller. This common 'MegaRamp' setup was dreampt up by pro skater Danny Way, who used this to jump over the Great Wall of China in 2005. This set up is still used today in actions sports events like the Dew Tour and the X Games.
Learning to skate vert
If you're interested in learning how to vert skate, there are a few things you need to know before you get started. First, vert skating is certainly not for beginners. You need to have a strong foundation of skateboarding skills before you can even think about even dropping in on a vert ramp. Second, vert skating is dangerous. There are many risks associated with jumping and flipping on a half-pipe or quarter-pipe, so it's important that you take the time to learn proper technique and safety before attempting any tricks. Finally, vert skating requires dedication and practice. If you want to progress and become good at vert skating, you need to be willing to put in the time and effort required to master the sport.
If you're ready to start vert skating, the first thing you need to do is find a good ramp. There are many different types of ramps available, so it's important that you choose one that is suitable for your skill level. We recommend starting out by simply pumping back and forth on a small halfpipe or mini ramp to familiarise yourself, before building up to larger ramps.
Rather than go through everything step-by-step, we'll let vert king Andy MacDonald walk you through the basics:
Picking a board for vert skating
We generally recommend wider decks (8.75"+), mid height trucks and larger hard wheels 56mm - 58mm 95a - 100a for vert and bowl skating. Vert skate setups aren't that standard so shops don't tend to offer fully built completes as there are so many variables. Here are some of our deck and component picks:
Powell-Peralta Andy Anderson Heron Egg 8.7"
- Why it's rad: Finely engineered by Andy himself. It's wide (8.7") and versatile. Fun Fact: there are no stright lines on this deck
- Buy at Stoked Buy at Amazon
Powel-Peralta Cab Ban This 9.265"
- Why it's rad: Wide, stable and made using Powell's Flight construction (practically unbreakable)
- Buy at Stoked Buy at Amazon
Once you've selected your deck, we recommend pairing this with some Independent Stage 11 trucks (match to the width of the deck you pick using their size chart), Dragon BUILT bearings (for easy install and long lasting performance) or Bones Reds (the OG classics) and some wheels.
For the wheels we recommend running something harder, from 95a to 100a that comes in 56 to 58mm. This is all a little personal preference really - you can learn more about this in our hard vs soft wheel guide - but here are some recs based on our years in the industry:
🎉 Best Newcomer - Powell Dragon Formula
🤩Best Overall - Spitfire Formula Four
💲 Budget Pick - Mini Logo A-Cut
What else do I need to start vert skating?
All you really need to start vert skating is a skateboard setup and a ramp. We would certainly recommend a skateboard helmet and pads too.
What are some of the most famous vert skate tricks?
The most famous vert skate trick ever was undoubtedly the 900 (two-and-a-half mid-air revolutions) at the X Games World Championship in 1999. This is the trick that really blew up Tony Hawk's career and launched him into superstardom.
Other famous tricks include the McTwist (a 540 degree spin with a front flip), and the Boneless (jumping into the air and grabbing the board between your feet). In recent years Mitchell Brusco has beome the first person to land a 1260 (3.5 rotations)!
Here are a few you can try in your next session:
Vert skating has become absolutely huge, after being broadcast on ESPN during the X Games. Some of the biggest vert skaters have had huge moments with their best tricks at the X Games, including: Bob Burnquist, Andy MacDonald, Sandro Dias, Shaun White, Bucky Lasek, Christian Hosoi, and Pierre-Luc Gagnon. Got more burning questions? Take a look below:
In skating, the term "vert" refers to a half-pipe or ramp with walls that are at least 10 feet high. Vert skating is all about catching big air and performing tricks. It takes a lot of skill and practice to master vert skating, but it can be extremely rewarding.
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Yes, skating vert is definitely hard. It takes a lot of strength, stamina, mental toughness and skill to be able to skate well on a vert ramp. There are also a lot of risks involved in skating vert, so it's not for everyone. If you're thinking about trying it, make sure you're prepared mentally and physically taking the plunge.
No, vert skating is not currently included in the Olympics. However, there have been petitions and calls for its inclusion in future Games. Some believe that vert skating could be a compelling spectator sport that would add excitement and energy to the Olympics. Others argue that it is too dangerous and should not be allowed at the Games. There is no definitive answer, and it remains to be seen whether vert skating will someday become an Olympic sport.
Street skateboarding is a form of skateboarding that developed from skateboarding on public roads and sidewalks. Street skateboarding involves tricks and maneuvers performed on various obstacles such as stairs, rails, benches, and ledges. Vert skateboarding, on the other hand, is a form of skateboarding that focuses on performing tricks and maneuvers on ramps (half-pipes, quarter-pipes, and other vertical surfaces. While street skateboarding requires more technical skills, vert skateboarding requires more power and airtime.
Both street and vert skateboarding are popular forms of the sport, but street skateboarding is more widely practiced. This is because street skateboarding can be done almost anywhere, while vert skateboarding requires special facilities. Street skateboarding is also generally considered to be more dangerous than vert skateboarding, due to the increased likelihood of injuries from obstacles and falls.
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The dimensions of a vert ramp will vary depending on the size and type of ramp you are using. Typically, vert ramps are between 8 and 10 feet wide, with a transition radius of 3 to 4 feet. The height of the ramp will also vary depending on your skill level and the type of tricks you want to perform. For beginners, a vert ramp can be as low as 4 feet tall. For more experienced skaters, the height can be increased to 8 or even 10 feet.
When building a vert ramp, it is important to take into account the size of your skateboard and the type of tricks you want to perform. Vert ramps can be made from a variety of materials, such as wood, metal, or concrete. The type of material you use will also affect the dimensions of your ramp. For example, a wooden vert ramp will typically be wider and taller than a metal vert ramp.
When choosing the dimensions of your vert ramp, it is important to consult with an experienced skateboarder or ramp builder. They will be able to help you choose the right size and type of ramp for your skating needs.
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Some of the common tricks in vert skating include:
- Ollie airs
Vert skating is a type of skateboarding where skaters perform tricks on a halfpipe or quarterpipe. Vert skating is considered to be more difficult than street skateboarding because skaters have to deal with the added element of gravity. Skaters who specialize in vert skating are often able to perform more complex tricks than those who focus on street skateboarding.
One of the most important aspects of vert skating is having the proper technique. Skaters who have the proper technique are able to generate more speed and height, which is necessary for doing complex tricks. The most important thing for vert skaters to remember is to keep their weight balanced over their feet. This will help them maintain their speed and prevent them from falling.
Skaters who are just starting out should focus on perfecting the basics before moving on to more complex tricks. Once they have mastered the basics, they can start working on more difficult tricks like ollie airs, kickflips, and heelflips. Skaters who are able to land these tricks consistently will be well on their way to becoming vert skating masters.
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Skating vert provides numerous benefits for skaters of all levels. It helps improve balance and coordination, builds strength and endurance, and develops skating skills.
Vert skating also helps create a strong sense of community among skaters. It gives them a place to meet and connect with other skaters who share their passion for the sport. Additionally, vert skating provides an opportunity for skaters to show off their skills and progress in the sport.
Skating vert is also a great way to stay active and healthy. It is a low-impact activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. Additionally, skating vert is a great way to get outside and enjoy the fresh air.
Overall, skating vert provides numerous benefits for skaters of all levels. It is a great way to improve skating skills, stay active and healthy, and connect with other skaters.
[Are you a pro in vert skating?]
Tony Hawk is perhaps the most famous vert skater of all time. He is credited with popularizing vert skating and helped make it the mainstream activity it is today. Other great vert skaters include Cara-Beth Burnside, Steve Caballero, Danny Way, Elliot Sloan and Andy McDonald.