How to do a stalefish on a skateboard

October 12, 2022 | Skateboarding
Stalefish: one of the most stylish vert skating tricks | Photo: Di Molfetta/Creative Commons

The stalefish is one of the most stylish aerial maneuvers in vert skateboarding. Here's how to perform and land it.

Whether you're into ramps or bowls, getting airborne is a considerable accomplishment that opens up a broad range of new tricks.

The first skateboarders to pull off the stalefish were Tony Hawk (in Sweden) and Mark Gonzales (in France) around 1985-1987.

So, what does the trick look like?

The stalefish is a frontside air in which the skater grabs the heelside of the board behind the legs.

"It is identical to the indy, except you grab your heelside rail with your rear hand," explains Per Welinder, author of the book "Mastering Skateboarding."

"Because your rear arm wraps behind your rear knee, it takes a lot of compression and flexibility."

"You'll need some serious time in the air for this to come together, so bone up on those big frontside airs and indy tricks before you start trying the stalefish."

The trick is also a popular move in snowboarding and wakeboarding and is fairly easy to learn.

Stalefish: speed and grab time are key to success | Photo: Lang/Creative Commons

Stalefish 101

Here's how to do a stalefish on a quarter pipe or pool:

  1. Get some speed;
  2. Eye your take-off spot;
  3. As soon as you reach the critical zone, move your front foot up the board;
  4. As you're about to pop up, extend your back arm so that it helps rotate the body;
  5. Twist your knees toward the frontside air motion;
  6. At the air's highest point, grab the heelside rail behind the back leg with your back hand;
  7. When you start descending, release the grab;
  8. Allow your feet to complete the rotation;
  9. Eye your landing spot, avoiding the coping;
  10. Bend your knees, land, and roll away;

The stalefish has several variations - frontside, backside, fakie, disaster (revert), slide, nose slide and blunt, etc.

Before practicing this vert trick, make sure to warm up with ollies and frontside kickturns and airs.

Speed is also essential - the faster you hit the coping, the more grab time you'll enjoy. Also, make sure to place your feet in an ollie position.

Remember that for a frontside stalefish, if you're a regular footer, you'll grab the board with the right hand, and if you're goofy, you'll grab it with the left hand.

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