The Heelflip is the New Varial Flip

November 12th, 2015 | 5:02 am | Daily News | 37 Comments

kev heelflip

When you’re constantly reminded how underrated something is, it runs the risk of becoming overrated. These past several years, the dozen or so skate sites with words on them have used up (admittedly infinite) webspace to defend the varial flip, quantify the varial flip, revisit the varial flip, and draw up colorful analogies about the varial flip. It wasn’t cool for a long time and now it is — people get it by now.

Do you know what has spent a longer amount of time in uncool trick purgatory? Heelflips, especially on flatground. The heelflip’s history over the past twenty years is something like this: the one Mariano did on flat after ducking under the volleyball net, Kerel Roach, Lindsey Robertson, Lewis Marnell, Neen. Generally speaking, skateboarding allots space for a “heelflip pro” every five years.

Talk about a guy who kinda-sorta-maybe-at-one-point-skated and try and get a gauge of exactly how far into it he got…

“Oh damn, he used to skate? Could he like kickflip and shit?”
“Nah, he probably did a heelflip a few times though.”

Heelflips have been unsexy for a long time. Its nollie and switch counterparts enjoy fruitful usage; switch heels held onto a top-five marketshare as the most commonly done flatground maneuver until impossibles and backside big spins rose in prominence and bumped them to number seven or eight. That was still two dozen places ahead of the regular heelflip, which languished in under-appreciation while everyone was all over the once equally unsexy but now kinda cute and DTF varial flip.

Then, something happened.

We began making .GIFs of plain old heelflips. We began making hyperbolic statements about plain old heelflips (FYI: in 100% agreement with said hyperbolic statement.) We began making Vines of plain old heelflips. We began singling out plain old heelflips as “the best thing” in video clips. The heelflip became a reasonable flatground comma between two tricks in a line. It is gaining on the varial flip’s marketshare.

The re-canonization of the plain old noseslide had a *moment*. Lucas Puig sounded the horn for the plain old noseslide’s re-entry into modern skateboarding. The varial flip did not have a definitive *moment*, and perhaps that is why there is such a vibrant sub-sect of skateboard literature dedicated to pontificating on its newfound popularity. It’s like the new kid who shows up to town and is automatically best friends with everyone; “He’s cool, I guess …how do I know him again?”

So before you get to the second trick in a line and tilt your front foot for a shove-it kickflip — or better yet — before you open up Microsoft Word to try and pinpoint why that shove-it kickflip enjoys a buoyant social life in 2015, maybe shift your focus to the flatground heelflip, the newer uncool trick that’s cool again for unknown reasons :)

#TBT @furrycalamari's obtuse moment #GirlSkateboards #Lakai #FourStarClothing

A video posted by federico marzio vitetta (@the_italian_one) on

QS Sports Desk: That “heartbreaking” Porzingis three from last night was almost identical to a tenths-of-a-second too late Amare shot against the big four Celtics in December 2010. Just letting you know to not rush back into falling in love, so you don’t get hurt. But if you’re a Knicks fan you probably like getting hurt anyway.


Comment by Shut Shark
  • Might as well throw Carroll into the mix.

    November 12, 2015 @ 9:16 am
  • Comment by Observer
  • K-Rod had another dope one the other day:

    November 12, 2015 @ 9:32 am
  • Comment by Snack
  • Added it in, thanks :)

    November 12, 2015 @ 9:32 am
  • Comment by JL
  • The real trick is doing a proper heelflip. Everyone can do a heelflip. Proper ones are far more rare.

    November 12, 2015 @ 9:33 am
  • Comment by what a time to skate some flat
  • right but by that same logic everyone can do a varial flip too

    November 12, 2015 @ 9:37 am
  • Comment by sal
  • josh wilson had a nice one bronze /huf clip

    November 12, 2015 @ 10:10 am
  • Comment by Peach Fuzz
  • Jus gonna leave dis here

    November 12, 2015 @ 10:14 am
  • Comment by FleeceJohnson
  • I’m just going to do my usual: Anything you fucks say is uncool, is cool. Anything you say is cool, I will know to be whack as fuck.

    November 12, 2015 @ 10:33 am
  • Comment by Scott K
  • Jake’s got the best flat heelflip. And the best one on tape in Lewis Marnell’s in Chronicles.

    November 12, 2015 @ 11:34 am
  • Comment by Jeremy R
  • Neen Williams tho

    November 12, 2015 @ 12:05 pm
  • Comment by dreww
  • let’s not forget about the ever-neglected fakie heel. that shit wants to pop, u just gotta accept it

    November 12, 2015 @ 12:20 pm
  • Comment by 101
  • Heel Flip Backside Grind

    November 12, 2015 @ 12:34 pm
  • Comment by NOT at Eggs
  • k-rod > p-rod

    November 12, 2015 @ 1:37 pm
  • Comment by Jihad shorty
  • Jihad shorty has the best heel flip west of the Mississippi

    November 12, 2015 @ 1:50 pm
  • Comment by Matt Brewer
  • Unfortunately, heelflips will always be difficult for me to do. But it does give me something to stride for. I need to work on my heelflips. Thanks!

    November 12, 2015 @ 1:51 pm
  • Comment by graeme schulz
  • could the muska flip make a come back?

    November 12, 2015 @ 1:58 pm
  • Comment by concernedparent
  • fakie heelflip resurgence of 2016. patiently waiting for it.

    November 12, 2015 @ 2:11 pm
  • Comment by Observered
  • Yah that heelflip on the polar instagram was amazing

    November 12, 2015 @ 3:22 pm
  • Comment by Legiontattoo
  • Pretty sure there was a heelflip indy grab down a little set of stairs in Hokus Pokus.. Dunno who it was, maybe John Reeves, but not entirely sure. Loving heelflips from day one…

    November 12, 2015 @ 3:27 pm
  • Comment by Michael Bae
  • Kristian Svitak has always been a heelflipper. I don’t think he does a single kickflip in his Label Kills part.

    November 12, 2015 @ 3:51 pm
  • Comment by Jo El
  • Marcus McBride, any video part. But Let The Horns Blow sticks out in my mind:

    November 12, 2015 @ 4:22 pm
  • Comment by jihad shorty
  • yall think its too cliche to include antwuan? don’t let your memory of one of the best heelflips fade!!

    November 12, 2015 @ 4:26 pm
  • Comment by lindsey
  • yea i got the best one.

    November 12, 2015 @ 5:20 pm
  • Comment by heikkila
  • this one by josh tho

    November 12, 2015 @ 5:45 pm
  • Comment by pro skater
  • do style points get taken away for over exaggeration? ex. the second gif… barely a spot

    November 12, 2015 @ 5:54 pm
  • Comment by limeylurker
  • Weiger and Dani Lebron hold down the euro heels!

    November 12, 2015 @ 10:23 pm
  • Comment by newsman
  • Sage’s heelflip in like the first line in cherry played a part too tbr

    November 13, 2015 @ 1:30 am
  • Comment by Yani
  • Hands down my man Hugo Snelooper has the best Heelflips! Backside, Halfcab, Fakie…
    Zered even said during a Cons demo in Amsterdam that Hugo had the best Halfcab Heels he’d ever seen! Check ‘m snackman, you won’t be disappointed!

    November 13, 2015 @ 12:26 pm
  • Comment by Ts
  • At no point did impossibles overtake switch heelflips in the flatground world. Maybe in NY, not in LA

    November 13, 2015 @ 11:28 pm
  • Comment by Ts
  • I’ll tell you what’s due for a comeback and that’s straight up pop shove its. When’s the last time you saw a big-ass pop shove it?

    November 13, 2015 @ 11:32 pm
  • Comment by clsmooth
  • The best heelflip ever, was done by Tim Gavin in Goldfish, it’s over a little bench. It’s one of the best tricks ever actually.
    I know at least five people who would agree and don’t skate anymore

    November 15, 2015 @ 9:29 pm
  • Comment by Clam sausage
  • Actually best heelflip is neen williams hes gotem so fuckin boned

    November 15, 2015 @ 10:57 pm
  • Comment by Vestige
  • Dear clam sausage

    You are obvsly a poser. Neen williams is a skater only posers like.


    Phil Morris

    November 15, 2015 @ 11:01 pm
  • Comment by Hove
  • @T’s
    Absolutely agree on the pop shove it part.

    there’s a great one @1:50 in this:

    November 16, 2015 @ 6:01 am
  • Comment by Snare
  • Yo ny ramp co needs to chill, those ramps gettin in the way of my flatground

    November 16, 2015 @ 2:09 pm
  • Comment by Cater2u

    November 16, 2015 @ 2:18 pm
  • Comment by hick
  • the resurgance of classic flat ground and the prominence of “urban tech” moves is, I think, because of a lack of pop in the kick…its either the wood they’re pushing or the refusal of actually kicking down on the board…or its another trend passing by…but wutevs, it’s still lazy skating

    November 17, 2015 @ 10:21 am
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