The 360 Flip’s Less Attractive Sister: A Study of the 10 Greatest Varial Flips in Skate Video History

April 26th, 2013 | 5:54 am | Features & Interviews | 53 Comments

top 10 varial flips

The varial flip occupies a strange space in skateboarding. It’s pigeonholed as a little kid trick — a midway point between the kickflip and 360 flip, and sometimes even the first flip trick learned by a kid who found the shove-it motion easier to land on than a straight up kickflip. Beyond that, it has a far better looking, more shapely and marketable sister trick: The varial flip is the Khloe to the 360 flip’s Kim and Kourtney.

Even when you run an image search for “varial flip” (every result is hideous), Google is right there with “360 flip” as the sole related search. Except when you Google “360 flip,” the term “varial flip” ceases to be relatable. No need to backtrack.

google varial flips

As observers of professional skateboarding, an eternal question burns in our minds every time a pro does a varial flip: “Why wouldn’t he just do a 360 flip?” Whether you agree or not, 360 flips infallibly share the “you can never have enough of them” category with ollies, kickflips, backside tailslides, or anything else you’ve seen Keith Hufnagel do several times in each his Real parts, while the varial flip remains a lumpy oddity that sets alarms off for critics of trick selection. No company would dare introduce a new rider with a varial flip ad, and Skechers certainly had no intention of calling Khloe for their Super Bowl commercial if Kim was unavailable.

Surely the most standard of 360 flips is superior to the greatest varial flip — if such a thing were to exist. Is there even such thing as a “great” varial flip? We set out to find an answer to this question. Here are the ten instances in which the Khloe Kardashian of flip tricks looked jussst good enough to do, by ten of skateboarding’s Lamar Odoms.

10. Stevie Williams — DGK: Parental Advisory East Coast YouTube Extras (2012)

10-stevie

Given the disposable turn skate footage has taken in recent years, we try to avoid web clips for these very #important #listicles. However, this was the (switch) varial flip that incited an office debate about history’s greatest varial flips and/or the existence of such a thing, so it belongs here. Stevie ran down exemplary forms of at least fifty-percent of the non-Battle of the Berrics flatground canon in The Reason, so him conjuring up a proper varial flip is not unexpected.

View @ 4:37

9. Rob Pluhowski — Alien Workshop: Photosynthesis (2000)

9-pluhowski

Similar to Stevie, Pluhowski spent an entire (albeit short) video part doing mainly only flip tricks and happened to check off the most difficult-to-pull-off-well one for it.

View @ 0:40

8. Brian Anderson — Girl: Yeah Right! (2003)

8-ba

As one of the great 360 flippers in the history of skateboarding, it’s odd that B.A. has simultaneously earned a reputation as one of its great varial flippers. Even Kalis, who is no stranger to flip trick experimentation considering he did a heelflip sex change in a (semi-recent) part, steers clear of it. Luckily, the green screen board B.A. did his fakie Yeah Right! ender on wasn’t edited out in post-production.

View @ 2:46

7. Clyde Singleton — 411VM #35: “Profiles” (1999)

7-clyde

Arguably the most problematic mechanical aspect of varial flips is that they often cause the skater to closely clap his feet together in midair. Clyde Singleton shows that, like most tricks in skateboarding, if you pop high enough, all else is forgiven.

View @ 0:20

6. Bobby Puleo — Infamous: INFMS (2000)

6-puleo

Puleo skated on the sidewalk for half a block after a four-foot-long manual and a 180 on flat just to do a fakie varial flip, so you can’t help but admire his confidence in being able to procure a good one.

View @ 1:23

5. Gino Iannucci — 101: Trilogy (1996)

5-gino

This is the list’s mandatory concession to the Jimmy Gorecki rule (“If you didn’t see it in Trilogy…assume it shouldn’t be performed and/or displayed.”) In theory, doing (switch) varial flips and putting them in videos is fine; it’s just harder to make them look as good as all of the other tricks that were in Trilogy.

View @ 1:11

4. Andy Honen — Static II (2004) / Tim O’Connor — Alien Workshop: Photosynthesis (2000)

4-honenoconnor

What’s tougher than pulling off a good-looking varial flip? Doing two of them in the same line! #OMG

View Andy Honen’s @ 1:41 / View Tim O’Connor’s @ 0:55

3. Nate Jones — Real: Real to Reel (2001)

3-natejones

On paper, Nate Jones’ DWP line sounds like something out of a fourteen-year-old’s sponsor me tape circa 2000: A nosemanul on a bench, a kickflip backside 5-0 and a varial flip on flat. He even lets his back foot dangle off, as some sort of early yo flip appropriation of the 360 flip’s already less attractive sibling. But in the video, it looks incredible, just like everything else in the part. All is possible if your style is good enough.

View @ 1:13

2. Quim Cardona — Transwold: Cinematographer (1997)

2-quim

Yes, one of the best tricks over the Banks wall was a varial flip, but sixty-percent of it was due to the “Hang Loose” hand gesture Quim throws up after landing.

View @ 2:52

1. Jahmal Williams — Zoo York: E.S.T. (2000)

1-jahmal

The only varial flip that without a doubt, looked up to par with the best of 360 flips.

View @ 4:09

Previously: The 30 Phattest Outfits in Skate Video History: 1992-2012, The 10 Best Noseslides in Skateboard History

(Thanks to Sweet Waste and Jack Sabback for their help in researching this study.)

53 Comments

Comment by KillaBee
  • The Varial flip debate pops up alot with me and my friends, tons of good mentions there! another amazing list
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0fHxOyKeik&feature=player_detailpage#t=43s
    Soy panday’s one always stood out in my eyes aswell

    April 26, 2013 @ 8:40 am
  • Comment by callyougayonhot97
  • soy panday looks like harif

    April 26, 2013 @ 8:55 am
  • Comment by Scott Bogey
  • There’s a few British / South African variants that are worth talking about too

    http://thegreat-divide.com/blogs/laib/6657106-in-defence-of-the-varial-flip-a-converts-tale

    April 26, 2013 @ 9:11 am
  • Comment by Will Smith
  • Renaud:
    Mosaic: Over the double Set in SF/Oakland
    Static 3: Bump to Wall

    April 26, 2013 @ 10:06 am
  • Comment by Snack
  • It’s funny a varial flip list already exists. Hadn’t seen that one before.

    April 26, 2013 @ 10:09 am
  • Comment by Shoelace belt blowjobs
  • Rob g in 411 #22 chaos? And of course the mean man lurker Lou’s sloppy varial flip in vicious cycle on the back burners

    April 26, 2013 @ 10:50 am
  • Comment by ko
  • Denver shop stakes is high, last part does some damn good ones.

    April 26, 2013 @ 11:07 am
  • Comment by tony starks
  • quim for the win

    April 26, 2013 @ 12:22 pm
  • Comment by JL
  • Caroll in Yeah Right.

    April 26, 2013 @ 12:24 pm
  • Comment by JL
  • Yeah Right in general is a compendium of proper varial flips between Carroll, BA, and Gino.

    April 26, 2013 @ 12:27 pm
  • Comment by JR Smith
  • Van Wastell had a handful of the best varial flips.

    April 26, 2013 @ 12:41 pm
  • Comment by james
  • I’m sorry, but you forgot mike rusczyk…how could you?

    April 26, 2013 @ 1:09 pm
  • Comment by Eirik
  • Tim O’Connor has a good nollie one in Mosaic.

    April 26, 2013 @ 1:22 pm
  • Comment by J~wU
  • nice post. again for yeah right, chico did one out of a long ass manual at USC ledges Cali. it is imo the best varial flip ever. I am sure that chico could blaze it as well on the flat too. personally I think the varial flip is a great trick.

    April 26, 2013 @ 1:27 pm
  • Comment by Gehl
  • Andrew Cannon’s fresh flip on flat in his WRLD part

    April 26, 2013 @ 1:27 pm
  • Comment by vincent
  • yes! I was waiting for this article…

    when I saw the title I immediately thought of the Nate Jones one… the Tim O’ Connor line is also amazing.

    Real To Reel and Photo were the first two videos I ever owned so it makes sense to see them here multiple times as me and my friends were always psyched on varial flips.

    a good varial flip seems to get you some street cred. too, in games of skate.

    April 26, 2013 @ 1:40 pm
  • Comment by Slippery Pete
  • This is the greatest photo of a varialflip

    http://theskateboardmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/KennyReed-VarialFlip-BangkokThailand-610×406.jpg

    April 26, 2013 @ 1:41 pm
  • Comment by JERSEY
  • MATT FIELD!!!!!

    April 26, 2013 @ 1:45 pm
  • Comment by Tom Payne
  • Cyril Jackson does a great one over a mean gap in Bake & Destroy.

    April 26, 2013 @ 1:55 pm
  • Comment by Skate Nazi
  • CHICO CHICO CHICO second line in his Love Child part 1992 EMB possibly earliest switch varial flip? Easily my fave regardless.

    April 26, 2013 @ 3:02 pm
  • Comment by drew
  • yeah how u gonna neglect matt field?

    April 26, 2013 @ 3:20 pm
  • Comment by 6000
  • great article and insight, although i think one major point was overlooked. the answer to your posit, “Why wouldn’t he just do a 360 flip?”, is simply that the varial flip provides the functionality of turning your board around when you might be setting up for the next trick in a line and need/prefer to pop off a particular end of the board. i think it deserves a small nod for its utilitarianism.

    April 26, 2013 @ 3:21 pm
  • Comment by the trap chief
  • Quim’s nollie varial flip over the wall.

    April 26, 2013 @ 3:25 pm
  • Comment by mcgosh
  • No Carrol honourable mention?

    April 26, 2013 @ 3:35 pm
  • Comment by pppppppppppoooooooo
  • nate jones looked like he just wrapped it around his front foot

    April 26, 2013 @ 4:03 pm
  • Comment by Brandon Johnson
  • Kevin Romar kills them!

    April 26, 2013 @ 6:30 pm
  • Comment by Lexington upon Washington Ave.
  • Seinfeld t’s? I need one- what’s up? On the dog flip top 10, too many. Gino in Trilogy is the one, then I got to go with Pluhowski’s, really liked the way he did them.

    April 26, 2013 @ 7:08 pm
  • Comment by Scustin Trillberlake
  • Surprised Fred Gall’s Mosaic part wasn’t mentioned.

    April 26, 2013 @ 8:25 pm
  • Comment by Jules
  • Another for Chico, his pier 7 varial flip in Mouse is amazing

    April 26, 2013 @ 10:02 pm
  • Comment by Wes
  • That TIm Oconnor line fucking rules. Best varial flips….I want to say best line up the “Levels” or whatever those guys call them too

    fakie varial flips are one of the best feeling tricks

    April 27, 2013 @ 12:32 am
  • Comment by Freeky Zeeky
  • Antuwan dixon, easily,

    April 27, 2013 @ 2:00 am
  • Comment by mmmm
  • umm huf

    April 27, 2013 @ 2:00 am
  • Comment by Jake
  • Id have to agree with the earlier comment mentioning Van Wastell. Him and Tim Oconnor were the first that came to mind.

    April 27, 2013 @ 2:39 am
  • Comment by sauce
  • i know he’s a total goon, but i always thought jereme rogers had a good one. i forget what part though.

    April 27, 2013 @ 6:11 am
  • Comment by westcoastkook
  • BA on the Sacto triple….

    April 27, 2013 @ 7:03 am
  • Comment by Brazilian Mark
  • Yo, Matt Field on real to reel and Chico Brenes on Mouse should also be in this list!

    April 27, 2013 @ 3:15 pm
  • Comment by Zigaboo
  • Bastien’s trick over the gap (in Tampa?) at 4:00 in Sorry always confused me http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSB53C3npUI

    is that a varial flip?

    April 27, 2013 @ 3:36 pm
  • Comment by Booski
  • Carroll’s nollie varial flip over the rail in Modus.

    April 27, 2013 @ 3:41 pm
  • Comment by Truth
  • Quims nollie varial flip over the banks wall in the 411 intro is the one of the illest tricks ever done over the wall..watch it..

    April 27, 2013 @ 8:20 pm
  • Comment by Wes
  • Why are hardflips acceptable when varial flips seemingly aren’t? They look way worse…

    Also Booski is right about Carroll’s nollie one over the rail in Modus

    April 27, 2013 @ 9:42 pm
  • Comment by Ron Obvious
  • http://youtu.be/Plr51RlLJjQ @~35 sec.

    April 27, 2013 @ 10:28 pm
  • Comment by Adrian
  • Good stuff

    April 28, 2013 @ 11:15 am
  • Comment by drewpickles
  • i’m so confused. how is this pappalardo varial flip not mentioned???

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvnGMRi9DpI

    April 29, 2013 @ 2:16 am
  • Comment by drewpickles
  • at 1:24.

    April 29, 2013 @ 2:17 am
  • Comment by dez nitty
  • Mainly because that was Rob Pluhowski.

    April 29, 2013 @ 2:05 pm
  • Comment by pattycaaakes
  • First thing I thought when I saw this article was Mike Carroll. I think V flips look best when he does them. I thought this video best displays his V flip power and control. http://youtu.be/dLD_27cZKls?t=5m34s sure it’s just a flat ground V flip, at the begining of a very sick line, but it’s the first best V flip that comes to mind. Second thing I thought, being from Boston (but not being a ‘hood’ or ‘fresh’ skater (no disrespect) Zeb Weisman does one of the best nollie V flips ever done in Vicious Cycle http://youtu.be/r5MECL6AVCc?t=39s That link will take you to your own youtube channel, quartersnacksdotcom. Baggy pants, nollie varial flip, lil flip soundtrack, I can’t believe that Zeb’s V flip doesn’t get a mention on this list. Finally, despite it being an amazing switch V flip, Gino does a better V flip, even better it’s a fakie V flip. It’s one of those classic bump to flat, like, Creager skates in the rain in R v D round 1, I know it existed as a magazine sequence, but I don’t remember where the video of it might be. Check out my youtube, I’m all about low impact skating.

    April 30, 2013 @ 9:44 pm
  • Comment by Skate Scholar, PhD
  • steve nesser has a good one

    May 1, 2013 @ 12:05 am
  • Comment by Booski
  • Good call to pattycaaakes on the first clip. Both the varial flip and hardflip are two of the nicest I’ve seen.

    May 1, 2013 @ 4:04 am
  • Comment by 6000
  • also… shawn powers 56k bronze… varial flip up nollie varial flip over the can.

    May 1, 2013 @ 3:58 pm
  • Comment by Killa Cam
  • Solid list here. Some other great ones were mentioned in these comments too. I think Quims will always be my favorite though. Sickest looking trick done over that wall in my opinion.

    May 2, 2013 @ 9:58 pm
  • Comment by new balance skate kickz
  • that were some good watches…

    i’d go with the nate jones on #1.

    May 9, 2013 @ 12:53 pm
  • Comment by Francois
  • Mark Baines did a dope fakie one in First Broadcast.

    October 21, 2013 @ 6:11 pm
  • Comment by mlv
  • Shuriken varial flip to manual in the pig slaughter house film

    February 12, 2014 @ 10:42 pm
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