Fakie ollies are a strange and unpopular trick. From a style perspective, they seem to bring out the worst in people – weird leaning, drifting half-ollie norths, and all manner of ugly crouches. From a logistical perspective, fakie is just about the poorest choice for landing something. The stance throws off your run up, and the trick itself requires insane contortions and shifties in order to get the board clear of an obstacle.
They are the didgeridoos of the skater’s basic tool-kit: cumbersome to use, and when used, usually terrible. But when they are used right, when they are handled by the right players, they really are a thing of beauty.
We decided to honor these gawky maneuvers with a list of their best solos. Here are ten fakie ollies, finally getting the spotlight they deserve.
10. Lee Dupont – Chomp On This
Lee Dupont’s five-stair, mobbed-out fakie-hop should top this list, but out of politeness and an undeserved respect for our trolls, I’ve put it at number ten. When again, I ask, will we watch a pasty photographer, feet wrapped in white Kostons, pull out a fakie ollie (likely because he had few other options) to the sounds of Tupac trashing Biggie? All the right elements of American culture converge in this clip, a truly miraculous thing to have on film. We salute you, Lee.
9. Grant Taylor – Nike SB Chronicles Extras Vol 1.
Grant taylor whips out full shifty tactics to bridge this redbrick road. You wouldn’t expect this trick from this guy at this spot, you get the feeling in fact, that he might have been dared to do it or something. This fake ollie doesn’t make much sense from any viewpoint, but it works because Grant Taylor is the sort of person to make it work.
8. Kevin Tierney – Caviar
I like this guy. I liked his interview, his narrow trick selection, and his almost bad, but actually good style. He looks like he’s in pain in every trick, if that makes sense, but in a way that somehow works. At one point, ol’ Tierney fakie ollie’d from one of those steep NY banks to the other one, and had a filmer around to capture it, and now we can watch the footage captured on that day. He suffered for our pleasure, and is now getting a new knee. The End!
7. Yaje Popson – Rat Poison
I’m tempted to say that the bail before Popson lands his fakie fifty is the real highlight here. It’s perfect. Freeze the frame right after he clips, when he’s sailing through the air. He looks almost like a circus performer swinging from rope to rope. Of course, the fakie ollie to fifty make is also great, but sometimes you just get hung up on the bail and the body resting mid-air. (side note: This fakie ollie is also heightened by Yaje’s choice to wear prison pants.)
6. Evan Okeson – Boyish
I wonder, did Evan Okeson wake up one morning, thinking to himself, “Hey, you know what would I should do for fun? Purchase a grade-school nylon book cover, wear it as a hat, and fakie ollie the Rincon bar, which is tall enough to break my femur.” That’s not how I think, personally, but, nonetheless, I respect our differences, and I’m glad that Evan plotted things out the way he did.
5. Antwuan Dixon – Baker 3
Antwuan Dixon and Gino Iannucci are the only two skaters on earth to make most tricks look like almost nothing. As in the amount of visible effort in this fakie ollie is close to zero, comparable with the amount of effort expended in scratching an itch or swatting a fly away. It doesn’t make sense how his arms could be that still and his crouch that minimal. There’s hardly any steadying, hardly any sign of impact, hardly any sign at all that Antwuan Dixon just fakie-ollied a giant 15 stair.
4. Geoff Rowley – Really Sorry
After all these powerhouse fakie ollies, it doesn’t seem like a fakie ollie up a curb would make it on to this list. But once you see it, you’ll understand. It’s one of those endorphin-fueled celebration tricks, done after Geoff tackles a deathly rail. The lightness of it perfectly evokes the post trick feeling. Also, the switch curb roll off is damn fine.
3. Chris Pfanner – Propeller Raw Files
The mongo push on this alone should be enough to secure Pfanner a spot on numerous best of lists. It is extremely unsafe (!) to push that fast mongo, and I would not suggest that anyone try it again. The fact that, after putting himself in this hazard, Pfanner decides to fakie ollie a semi-truck length double set is ridiculous. And the last step fakie firecracker, and the hand-drag revert? Chris, please think of the children!
2. Jake Johnson – Static IV
Jake Johnson is the heir apparent to Sean Sheffey’s throne. No one else today can bring that kind of power. No one else looks like they can break you with their flick-foot. Jake Johnson’s SF stair gap to granite island fakie ollie is, as such, history in the making. Danger, power, and lanky style merge in this fakie launch – more explosion than trick.
1. Sean Sheffey – Soldier’s Story
Decades ago, Mr. Sean William Sheffey launched a fakie ollie that would never be topped. Sound-tracked to an Ennio Morricone western ballad, Sheffey’s historic table huck reminds me of action film heroes, jumping croc-filled rivers. The aftershock of this jump – his near full rotation, return to fakie, and straight-legged stomp – has lasted for decades. How can so much power and beauty live side by side in a single trick? Only Sheffey. The very very best.