Sports & Gaming

Vert Basics & Intermediate

Tony Hawk

Lesson time 10:09 min

Tony takes you through the fundamentals of vert skateboarding, from simple moves like pumping on a vert ramp to how to do his signature trick, the Madonna.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Pumping • Fakie • Kickturn • Knee Sliding • Backside Air • Backside Ollie • Frontside Rock 'n' Roll • Lipslide • Frontside Tailslide • Madonna


The reason I skate vert is because I started skating in empty swimming pools. And the most popular skaters in the '80s were vert skaters, ramp skaters because that seemed like the most exciting way of skating. Nowadays, vert ramps are about 13 feet tall on average. You're usually wearing at least kneepads and a helmet, if not elbow pads. And you're flying anywhere from 6 to 10 feet above the lip. [MUSIC PLAYING] And you are putting yourself at great risk, and that's why you're wearing all the pads. So pumping is how you use your legs to generate speed on transition walls. You sort of prepare your legs in a half squat. And as you ride through the transition, you start to straighten them out. And you use that force up the wall to generate your speed. And so the idea is you use your legs, pump through, stand up, prepare again, half squat, and then pump through again so you're standing up on the way down. Fakie is pretty straightforward. It means that you go off the wall forward, come down it backwards. There's no turning your board. The whole key is shifting your weight. So as you come off the wall, you're obviously leaning forward. And then as your board comes to a stop, you have to start to shift your weight towards your back foot which will now be your lead foot coming back down. The biggest mistake people make is going up fakie, staying in the same position, leaning towards their front foot, and then they end up falling backwards. A kick turn is the very first 180 that you will ever learn on a ramp. It is a very subtle motion. You don't have to lift up very much on your front wheels in order to make it turn. It kind of does the work for you. And you're pivoting on your back wheels and then setting it down quickly. The whole key is in your shoulder. And it's almost like you throwing a little punch with your arm to keep that shoulder moving and to keep your body in line with the skateboard. The biggest mistake people make is when they go to do a kick turn and their shoulder stays open as if it's still in the position of going down fakie. And then their body is twisted as they come down, and they end up falling backwards. Knee sliding is the best approach to falling, especially on a vert ramp. You can absorb the impact by taking one step. But then if you go to your knees, you can just slide down that transition and you don't have to take the impact on your feet. You want to lean back a little bit so that you're not falling forward on your face. Especially when we do big aerials, you'll see that when we know something's gone wrong, we either ditch the board or hold onto it. Don't let it get tangled up in your feet. Knee slides have kept me going for 40 years skating. So a backside air is the same body motion as a kick turn. It's just a matter of reaching down and grabbing the board as you lift it up with your front foot. And you come back down just like a kick turn. They're very similar motions, just one actually allo...

About the Instructor

A pro at 14 and the first to land a 900 at the X Games, Tony Hawk is one of the most influential skateboarders of all time. Now he’s helping you take your skateboarding to the next level. Joined by pros Lizzie Armanto and Riley Hawk, Tony teaches you beginner, intermediate, and advanced tricks in street, park, and vert. Learn how to push yourself, get up when you fall, and find your own style. Start reaching new heights.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Tony Hawk

Legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk teaches you how to take your skateboarding to the next level, whether you’re a beginner or a pro.

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