How to do an impossible on a skateboard

Impossible: the skateboard trick invented by Rodney Mullen will make the deck perform a backflip motion while it is midair | Photo: Creative Commons

The impossible is one of the most striking intermediate-to-advanced tricks in skateboarding. Learn how to do it.

It's cool, eye-catching, relatively easy to pull off, and one of the most popular moves in skateboarding games.

Despite its name, the impossible is not an unfeasible mission.

But you should be able to do an ollie and a frontside/backside 180 and feel comfortable controlling the board under your feet.

Nevertheless, the impossible is all about the scoop.

The pressure flip is also a good entry point into this maneuver. If you can perform it flawlessly, you'll get this one in no time.

The impossible, a trick invented by the one and only Rodney Mullen in 1982, resembles a vertical 360 board rotation.

Your wood plank will make a backflip motion while it is midair, i.e., with the nose flipping backward.

Scoop Your Back Foot

It pretty much relies on the ability of the back foot to accompany the aerial spin and prevent it from flipping.

In other words, you should be able to get the board to wrap around your back foot - like when you're picking up your skateboard.

The best way to practice the impossible is by starting to get your back foot used to the spinning technique.

To do this, step off the board and use your rear foot to push it down and forward while simultaneously lifting it.

Practice the movement until the skateboard lands on its four wheels, and you develop muscle memory.

Remember that the scoop has got to be quick and somehow immediate.

Persistence will definitely pay off.

Impossible: a skateboard trick that is all about the scoop | Photo: Creative Commons

The Impossible 101

Read for making the impossible a reality? Find a flat and smooth surface and get ready to land it. Here's what you should do:

  1. Push on your skateboard at slow speed;
  2. Get into an ollie stance;
  3. Your front foot could be positioned where you feel most comfortable, but you can place it, for instance, in a kickflip position or slightly off the board;
  4. The back foot plays a critical role in an impossible. Place it centered over the tail with the toes hanging off the edge of the board;
  5. The pressure zone should be applied on the ball of your back foot;
  6. Push down the skateboard with your back foot in a way similar to an ollie;
  7. The inside edge of your back foot will then push the deck vertically until it starts scooping around - the goal is to sweep the tail into and under the skateboard;
  8. Lift your lead foot and then get it out of the way so that the board can complete the rotation;
  9. The skateboard will start to turn over along its axis;
  10. When the deck gets upside down, bring your back foot up so that both your knees are tucked into your chest;
  11. As soon as the board completes the rotation and is leveled out, land your front foot back on the deck;
  12. Make ground contact and roll away;

Extra Tips

"If the board just flies out in front of you, then try to prevent your lead foot from flicking the board while it's coming off near the nose," notes Per Welinder, skateboarder and author of "Mastering Skateboarding."

"If you are landing with your feet too close together, try pulling your rear foot up higher into your body."

  • In the vibrant heart of the mid-20th century, amid a whirlwind of social and cultural revolutions, a nascent phenomenon surged through the crumbled concrete of America's urban landscapes - skateboarding.
  • Skateboarding is a thrilling symphony of grit, precision, and air. At its heart lies the ollie, a fundamental maneuver that's both starting point and a stepping stone.
  • If you're a skateboarder, you'll know that speed matters. But how fast can a skateboard actually go? And what makes the difference?
  • Skateboarding has evolved into an art form and a competitive sport thanks to an ingenious invention in the early 1970s: polyurethane skateboard wheels.