So what exactly is ‘cheating’ in skateboarding? It’s all art, right? You can do whatever you want, even weird footplant stuff where you end up with both feet on the ground. You might not get a ton of respect, but it’s not ‘cheating’.
The gray area where it starts to get a little sketchy is when you pass something off as something else. Look at this 360 flip I did. Wait, something is a little weird about that. Take a closer look. That’s actually a 360 underflip, which is incredibly easy.
If you can do that with 360 flips, what about laser flips?
There actually is a way to underflip a laser. You hang your heel off the tail, and tilt your heel out as you scoop, which gets under the side of the deck and flips it. It feels a lot different from a laser to me, because you don’t pop as much, and you pull up on the board. It’s definitely a separate trick from a laser. I went out to film a couple nollie ones for the video, but I ended up hurting my knee badly enough that I haven’t been able to skate in a few months. It’s actually been hurt for years, I just pushed it too far.
This trick, in itself, is not cheating. It’s actually called a kiwi flip.
The kiwi flip was invented by Aymeric Nocus, a French skater. I was able to chat with him for a bit to get the story on the kiwi flip, and all the crazy variations that he does. I remember him posting footage of stuff like gazelles and even a nollie 720 gazelle flip, which he called a bregrafenisondernemer flip. Unfortunately, he told me that he deleted his old YouTube account that had all that stuff on it, and his hard drive crashed. So it’s going to be tough to show you some of this stuff, but I’ll see what I can find.
So here’s his story. He was working on nollie varial heeflips, and missed the flip. The board came around and hit his heel and did an underflip. Now I had the same thing happen before with a regular stance one. It looks like this.
He says, “I started trying it on purpose but it was more of a joke trick to me if anything, it looked kind of dumb but it was fun to do every once in a while to experiment with.” And as a joke trick, he gave it a joke name, the kiwi flip. Although, he says, “in retrospect this one kind of makes sense because the scooping motion of the popping foot really resembles the gesture of digging into an actual kiwi with a spoon.”
Later, he started learning nollie and switch laser flips and bigspin heels. But, he says, “the back foot would always insist on getting in the way and kind of guiding the board around for its motion.” His friends had to point out to him that he was doing an underflip. He thought he was flicking the tricks normally.
I think that’s an important point. It is possible to do them on accident without knowing. Sort of like muscle memory getting in the way. So that’s interesting.
But what does all of this have to do with Chris Haslam? Well, watch any video of him doing a laser flip, or biggerspin heelflip in any stance. Watch his back heel. By now, you should be able to recognize a kiwi flip and understand how it works. And as you can tell, he’s clearly underflipping it with his heel.
He seems to do it that way exclusively. And he’s not alone. Ishod Wair seems like he does his switch ones with both feet too. If you watch anyone doing a 540 laser flip, they’re always using their back heel at least a little. It’s too hard to pop a frontside 540 without that followthrough.
So I came into this thinking that it’s definitely cheating. And since they feel so different to ME, that there’s really no chance Haslam doesn’t know what he’s doing. But after talking to Aymeric, I think he changed my mind a little bit. I asked him if he thinks it’s cheating, and this is what he says, “to me the 360 kiwi flip qualifies as a laser flip yeah, and to me they are equal. there are plenty of different ways to do the same tricks, every skater has their style, just like 360 flips or impossibles some people do flat ones or catch it in different ways, you usually use both feet for a laser flip anyway. Breaking things down too much is overly pedantic after a certain point.”
He also pointed out to me some other pros who do certain tricks weird, like Alex Moul’s bigspin heels that nosedive, and Daewon Song’s mobbed inward heels that almost look like a shove it late flip. Does that mean they don’t count? No, of course they do.
So what’s the final verdict? Does Chris Haslam cheat at laser flips? I guess not. Even though the technique is a bit easier, he might not even know he’s doing it. But you can actually learn from this. If you can’t get the full rotation on a laser, try throwing some back heel action in there. Do it kiwi style. Follow through and push it around. That’s a pro tip that you don’t see anyone talk about, because they might not even know they’re doing it.
I’d like to thank Aymeric for his help with this video. I linked up his profiles and stuff in the description so you can follow him if you want to see more from him.
If you liked the video, hit the like button, and subscribe to see new stuff like this every Tuesday. What do you think about the Kiwi flip? Does it count as a laser? Does it matter – and why?