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5 Groovy Things I Learned + 5 Excellent ON THE MOVE Skate tricks

I visited Book Lover’s Life last week to talk about five groovy things I found out while researching my new book, ON THE MOVE. And five top skating moves from my characters and their pros. Okay? Excellent. Let’s do it.

  • PEAK Skate Camp is based on a real place up in the San Bernardino Mountains. So, in addition to reading online about it and its awesome sister camps around California and Oregon, I also drove a bunch of kids up there one summer to check it out for myself. It’s a loooong drive from where I live in Southern California but once you hit the base of that mountain and start climbing up towards the tall trees, the lake, and the ring of campsites that ring the water, you are super excited to get there. For a teen skater, the place is heaven: the fantastic courses, the excellent pros, the fresh air, and, like in the book, that unbeatable ramp where you can shoot right out of camp and into the water.

  • Green technology, like the characters in On the Move find at Grass Lake Skatepark, was great to research. First, I discovered all those neat advances in solar charging applications, but then also things like the sidewinder and the soccer ball power source for lights and the jump ropes that can recharge your phone…very cool. Next I learned all about the glowbugs and the Global High Frequency Network that’s been set up for emergency management and disaster relief—it was totally new territory for me, so fascinating for On the Move and its characters.

  • It was harsh to imagine something as horrible as the War in my book. But I needed to do the research on what would happen and how this kind of disaster might rain down. Where the airports and other targets would be, what would happen to the air, how people could be evacuated to safety. Part of the research was rad, though, because I did go to the Rose Planetarium in New York City and see that movie Levi describes, Cosmic Collisions, about what caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. I learned a lot about fire and smoke and how we can bring on an Ice Age to our planet in a hurry…

  • Speaking of evacuation, I did a lot of research on the geography and local highlights in order to write how On the Move’s characters get from summer skate camp all the way up through to Washington state on their own. What were the roads? The mountains? The towns along the way?

  • And, most important of all…where are the coolest skateparks to visit?! This is a skate safari, after all! A teen skater’s dream. Sure, it’s the scary variety since my kids are alone and things are so uncertain. But since I, as the writer, could send my skaters anywhere, I did tons of research to be sure they hit the most rockin’ spots they could! Livin’ the life! JHF… Just Have Fun!

Okay, new fiver list for your readers. This is about skate tricks. I love seeing these in pictures, so I’m going to slip some in.


Josh Harmony’s Boneless, when he was on Toy Machine team

As readers of On the Move will learn, a Boneless is an old school trick, and Callum learns to do one at PEAK summer skate camp. You can start slow when you’re learning, but pretty soon you’re gonna need some speed for this trick.

Like in the picture, you grab right behind the front wheels of your board, then take your front foot off the board and plant it fast on the ground. Use that leg to jump!

Then, while you’re in the air, you put that front foot back on the board so you can land with your knees bent and your feet above the truck bolts.


Edgar Barrera, Front Krook, element camp 2014.jpg

Edgar Barrera, Frontside Crook

So here I want to show you an example of the Front Crook trick in a team picture taken up at Element Skate Camp this past summer. Isn’t Edgar Barrera awesome?

You do it by rolling up the rail you plan on crooked grinding. You’re gonna do it with your front foot behind the front bolts unless it’s a high ledge that you have to ollie high to land on. Ollie like you’re doing a backside 50-50, but put your weight , so you smack your nose down on the edge. If the ledge or rail is waxed, and if you’re really leaning forward, you’re going to grind farther. But don’t look down at your board! Just keep your eyes forward. Do a tiny nollie at the end or pop off mid-ledge with a big one!



Dakota Servold does his Frontside Half Cab Boardslide Fakie. Unh, huh.

I like how Dakota describes learning this trick. First he was doing front board fakies. Then he worked his frontside half gaps. This trick combines the two.

What he says is, “You gotta know where you’re popping first and make sure you don’t miss your popper, or sh*t’s gonna go real bad. Make sure you don’t flip, because that will not be tight. Just make sure you pop first and then turn, and make sure you’re looking at the spot you have to pop first for sure, because if you miss your pop on this trick, it’s not fun at all. So learn those, you little bros, then take it to the rails and the curbs and then handrails, then into the wild.” You heard it from the man…


Dominick Walker, Back Smith, element camp 2014.jpg

Dominick Walker, Back Smith, Element 2014

In this trick you are grinding your back truck on a rail or an edge while the front one hangs so the edge of your board rubs down the lip. Boarder Mike Smith invented it and it’s a way tough grind. I heard the back Smith was the brainy idea of deaf super shredder Monty Nolder down in Tampa, Florida.


Nyjah Huston, Backside Flip, element camp 2014.jpg

Nyjah Huston, Backside Flip

Isn’t the Element camp dope? Look at those trees! Last summer, Nyjah Huston was caught there doing this Backside Kickflip like the pros do at PEAK camp in On the Move. This trick is another combo, of course: a kickflip combined with a 180-degree ollie. With practice it becomes one of every street skater’s go-to moves! Using your toe you do an ollie, you turn your hips as you rotate 180. Your shoulders turn first, then your board will rotate behind it. Yeah, you’re turning toward your blind side right in the middle of the trick so it takes lots of practice to feel it for real. But then you’ll be flipping with the best!

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