What Is a McTwist?
The McTwist, also known as a 540, is a skateboard trick consisting of a front flip combined with a 540-degree rotation. First performed in 1984 on a wooden half-pipe in Sweden by vert skater Mike McGill, the McTwist is an advanced aerial move where the skater turns one and a half times in mid-air, using a mute grab (where the front hand grabs the toeside of the board between the feet) to rotate the skateboarder, resulting in a backward landing. Tony Hawk eventually evolved this trick into his own invention: the kickflip McTwist, which is a combination of the kickflip with a 540-degree twist.
How to Do a McTwist
If you are confident in your skateboarding abilities and have the proper safety gear, you can hit the skatepark and attempt a McTwist:
- Grab the board and tuck your head. As you approach the coping, reach down with your lead hand to grab your board toeside behind your front wheels, simultaneously snapping your head around. Getting your head tucked against your back shoulder will not only make you spin but also allow you to spot your landing zone in advance—key for a trick that has you spinning and blind to your landing spot until the last instant.
- Lift and pop. Lift your front truck up slightly and snap your tail off the wall to pop up off of it. Be sure to hit it with enough force so you get sufficient air and room to pull off your rotation.
- Snap and grab. As you snap off the top of the ramp, quickly grab your board toeside behind your front wheels with your lead hand, keeping your head tucked. Grabbing your board and tucking your head will make you spin.
- Let go and land. When you’ve rotated 540 degrees and are coming down straight and forward, release your board and stand up on it. While spinning, you won’t see your landing spot until right before you come down on it. Landing a McTwist requires lots of repetition and some gut intuition to know just when to land.
Want to Learn More About Skateboarding?
Whether you’re just learning how to ollie or ready to tackle a Madonna (the vert trick, not the singer), the MasterClass All-Access Pass can help you find confidence on your board with exclusive instructional videos from skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, street skater Riley Hawk, and Olympic hopeful Lizzie Armanto.