Possibly the hardest trick to not look horrible while doing it, the "hard flip" is the most coveted maneuver for all beginner skateboarders. This probably has a lot more to do with the fact that it's got the word "hard" in it's name than the fact that it's a good looking trick to have in your repertoire. But, going even further down the rabbit hole of potentially criminal style violations, lie the ever more dangerous switch hard flip and nollie hard flip. Notorious for looking like end-over-end improperly executed pop shov-its, most decent skaters have been wise to stay as far away from these tricks as an Ebola patient. But, there are a strange few anomalies in the world of skateboarding who not only seem immune to the radioactivity of these taboo flip tricks, they have an inexplicable ability to have turned them into, dare I say, an almost beautiful poetry.
We racked our brains at the TOA office to come up with a comprehensive list of the most incredible nollie and switch hard flips ever captured on video. And I'm pretty confident that we've succeeded. It's quite an achievement and we're quite proud of ourselves.
10. Quim Cardona Maybe the most flicked out technique on the whole list. Quim's style is so good all it takes is a simple flatground nollie hard flip in this Paine Webber line to make the list.
9. John Igei The speed and power of Igei's white steps line ending with a textbook switch hard flip was enough to grab the audience's attention in the ending of the original Static video. But I don't think anybody was expecting him to immediately follow up with a nollie hard flip to manual shuv out off the corner of the ledge at Pulaski. This bizarre innovation with the hard flip variation was incredible enough even without John's butter smooth style. It also should be mentioned that Igei is a master of the fakie hard flip as well.
8. Cairo Foster In the late 90's the nollie hardflip turned into Cairo's signature trick for awhile. There were many to choose from, but the one over the ledge in this Flushing line took the cake. The classic Ty Evans slow-mo perfectly accentuates the power of Cairo's pop as it literally bounces off his front foot due to the force of impact.
7. Ronnie Creager There's always an exception to the rule and in this case it's late flips. A usually horrendous trick Ronnie's variation with the switch hard is so perfect it's hard not to like it. Plus Creager is just a gangster in general and we'll allow him to bend any rule he pleases.
6. Colin McKay Possibly the only nollie hard flip ever done in full pads. And definitely the only 4 foot high nollie hard flip at that. If you choose to ignore this as a candidate just because it's on vert you should take into account that the consequences of slamming on this trick would've likely lead to a 15 foot free fall of doom.
5. Billy Rohan Billy is a skate ninja and this clip is total proof of his mastery. I wouldn't even ride down a roll-in blindfolded if I was the only person in the building, let alone switch and during the most hectic skate contest of all time. All that being said, I still haven't even gotten to the (switch) hard part yet. Also Billy's nollie hard flip into the courthouse was way ahead of it's time.
4. Brandon Turner Brandon gets a little wobbly on his push yelling out, "Oh Shit!" as he speeds toward the infamous Carlsbad Gap. The only thing better than watching someone execute a perfect switch hard flip down a gap would be watching said person switch hard flip edited to a rap song about themselves. Very meta.
3. Tom Penny Getting a glimpse of Penny in this era was very rare, even if you were graced with the standard frontside flip it was still a treat. That's why when VideoRadio came out I don't think anybody was expecting this monster of a nollie hard flip.
2. Kareem Campbell The picnic tables in California schoolyards are still used as a measuring stick to this day. And Kareem was already setting the bar nearly 20 years ago in the Trilogy video. He takes full ownership the nollie/switch hard kingdom in this 1996 video part but he shuts it down with his incredible back to back nollie and switch hard flips over the table.
1. Donny Barley After heavy consideration, the vote was unanimous that the switch hard flip crown should rest upon the head of Connecticut style master, Donny Barley. Even if we were only basing it off his Venice triple set switch hard flip alone it would be hard to deny his rank as royalty. But the bizarre gem hidden inside the Element World Tour when Barley switch hard flips to switch backside 50/50 on a neck high pyramid ledge kind of seals the deal. Not to mention demonstrated his mastery of the high speed nollie hard flip throughout his video parts over the years as well. Donny is king, plain and simple.
- Rick McCrank starting a line off with a nollie hard over a handrail before switch crooking off a ledge in Menikmati.
- Anthony Correa over the side of a NYC trash can at Astor Place may be the smoothest nollie hard flip recorded
- P-Rod with a textbook switch hardflip down a triple set / movie set for his Nike commercial.
- Fred Gall nollie hard flip off the wall and over the can at Love in Photosynthesis. Extra points because we found some never before seen unused 16mm of this trick.
- Tim O'Connor downhill nollie hard flip over an SF Driveway bump in Third Eye View.
- James Craig had many notable switch hard flips throughout the years but the switch hard flip down the Ybor City Double Set takes the cake. Also shouts out to Steve Brandi's nollie hard flip down the same double set.
- Chad Knight down the double set at the San Diego Sports Arena in Black Cat. Fellow Maple Alumni Jerry Hsu also has a mean switch hard over a handrail in Bag of Suck.
- Tony Cox nollie hard over the wall at Brooklyn Banks. This is maybe the most debatable shuv vs flip argument on the list, but since it was over the banks wall we'll give it a pass.