What is Vert Skateboarding?

vert skateboarding

About Vert Skateboarding

  • Invented: 1970s
  • Founded By: Rodney Mullen
  • Highest Governing Body: Worldskate

Vert skateboarding (short for “vertical skateboarding”) is a form of skateboarding that involves riding a skateboard on a nearly vertical ramp. A large variety of tricks and jumps can be performed in vert skateboarding, including famous moves such as the McTwist, the Madonna, the Caballerial, the Invert, and the Backside Smith Grind.

Vert skateboarding was originally created in the 1970’s, about twenty years after skateboards first became popular in America. The original pioneers of vert skateboarding were known for creating and executing their tricks in empty neighborhood pools. “Pool riding,” as this was called, originally functioned as a way for surfers to practice riding waves, but eventually the practice became popular among skateboarders. Over time, the construction of skate parks with ramps allowed vert skaters more freedom to develop the sport, which lapsed in popularity at the end of 1980’s but has recently made a great comeback.

Popular and well-known vert skateboarders include Alan Gelfand, the inventor of the ollie, Rodney Mullen, who is considered the “godfather” of vert skateboarding after inventing many of its fundamental tricks, and Tony Hawk, who was the first skateboarder to complete a 900-degree rotation successfully. Though skateboarding made its official debut in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, vert skateboarding was not included in the events, as Olympic skateboarding only contained park and street skateboarding. 


What is vert skateboarding?

Vert skateboarding is the practice of riding a skateboard on nearly vertical ramps in order to perform tricks. Vert skateboarding was popularized back in the 1970’s, originally occurring in abandoned pools but eventually moving to skate parks. Many famous athletes pioneered the sport, including Alan Gelfand, Rodney Mullen, and Tony Hawk. Though vert skateboarding remains popular, it was not included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, despite street and park skateboarding being added to the program.

What is the difference between vert and street skateboarding?

There are a few major differences between vert skateboarding and street skateboarding, though they may not be apparent by sight. Street skateboarding, overall, is more accessible than vert skateboarding, as it only requires an athlete and a skateboard. Vert skateboarding, on the other hand, requires access to a vert ramp, which many skateboarders do not have. Additionally, vert skateboarding is harder and more dangerous to learn than street skateboarding due to the high jumps and the increased possibility of injury. This, paired with the difficulty of finding a vertical ramp, makes practicing vert skateboarding much harder.

What are the biggest vert skateboarding events?

The most prominent vert skateboarding event is the X Games. The X Games, which began in 1995, are a biannual event showcasing various extreme sports, such as skateboarding, motocross, snowboarding, and BMX riding. There are four categories of skateboarding at the X Games: vert, street, big air, and SuperPark. Other notable vert skateboarding events include the World Cup of Skateboarding and the Vans Triple Crown. The World Cup of Skateboarding occurs throughout the year in various places worldwide. Meanwhile, the Vans Triple Crown occurs on a vert ramp, with its season traditionally ending in Southern California.