Trick Tips Presented by Vans – The Heelflip

Trick Tips Presented by Vans – The Heelflip

Welcome to another edition of our Trick Tips presented by Vans blog section. This week, we take a break from the kick-flips and shove-its to experiment something new. You'll still need to kick that board, but this time with your heel. That’s right, today we teach you how to master the heel flip!

The Heel flip is a trick that looks a lot like a kick flip, but is actually way different. Even if the board flips on the same axis than the kick flip, It has to be kicked with the heel instead of the toes, making it flip in the opposite direction.

This maneuver is not really harder than a kick flip, but it can be a little more tricky as the board will tend to flip a bit behind you instead of in front of you, making it harder for you to land and easier for the board to hit your ankles and legs while flipping. Today, you will learn how to make sure your heel flips rotations are safe, easy and smooth. Just put in a little bit of work and you'll get it!


Although the look of the trick is similar to the kick flip, the foot positioning for the heel flip is very different. Your back foot should be around the same spot as the ollie, well in the middle of your tail near the end. Your front foot should be placed a bit behind the 4 front screws, with your toes sticking out from the surface of the board. Remember to keep your balance and to keep your board parallel to the ground before popping. This will allow your snap to be even and will facilitate your heel flip learning curve.

The position of your body will look like a kick flip, with the only difference being the opening of your shoulders. They won’t be as open as for a kick flip. In fact, the more parallel your shoulders are to your board, the more chances you have to succeed at learning your heel flips.


Like for most skate tricks, the pop and kick are the most important parts of the heel flip. After bending down to gather pop, smacking the board's tail to the ground and starting to jump in the air, drag your front foot on your grip tape all the way to the front of your board like a kickflip, but in the direction of the heel instead of the toes. Once your front foot has reached the region of the board where your nose and flat part meet, you will have to give a good kick with your front foot and hit your heel on the front top pocket of the board.

This particular way of kicking is what makes the trick a bit more risky as the heel kick has a tendency to make your board flip behind you. Lean back just a little bit when you pop and keep your weight distributed around your back in order to stay above the board while it flips.

To learn safely, you can start by putting your back foot on the ground right after kicking the board with your front foot’s heel so you can understand the pop and kick timing as well as where your body should go to stay above the board and land on it with both feet. Once you understand the rotation that comes after kicking the board with your front foot’s heel, try to lift both feet above the board while it flips. Make sure to lift your feet high enough in the air to give room for your board to flip.


During the whole heel flip process, remember to always watch the board while it flips under you so you know when it’s time to smack it back on the ground! As we said earlier, kicking with the heel has a tendency to send your board flipping behind you, reason why you need to lean back when you catch the board. Like we mentioned earlier, this will allow you to stay above it the whole time.

Follow your board with your eyes and catch it in the air when the rotation is done. Once the board has flipped under your feet, bring them down and feel the board sticking back under your shoes soles. Once you catch the board in the air, you can just let yourself go back down towards the ground.


You popped, kicked your board with your front foot’s heel, flipped and catched the board with your feet above the bolts. Now it’s time to land. Always go for a clean landing and bend those knees when your 4 wheels touch the ground. This will allow you to absorb the impact and will make the trick look much better.

As we always say, the key to any skateboard trick is practice. Watch our slow-motion videos carefully and follow the steps listed above. It may not work instantly, but once you've found the solution to this trick, it's there for life!