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Grabs in skateboarding are different ways to hold the skateboard during an aerial trick. Grabs usually combine aerials with rotation as the skateboarder grabs and holds the board.

Grab tricks

Airwalk grab

The skateboarder grabs the nose of the skateboard and kick the front foot in front of the board and the back foot back of the board, resulting in a split kick while holding the nose. Good skateboarders can kick it the other way while in the same aerial and make a walking motion. This trick was invented in 1983 by Tony Hawk, who performed it on ramps ad half-pipes. In 1986, Rodney Mullen invented the Ollie Airwalk, a flatground version of the Airwalk. The name Ollie Airwalk is often mistaken by the Ollie Airwalk trick in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. In the version in the game, the skateboarder only kicks his/her legs of the board and doesn't grab the nose. This is not considered a "real" airwalk.

Backside grab

A grab with the front hand on the back rail of the board between the heels. Variations include: Melon, Method, Mosquito.

Cannonball grab

The skateboarder ollies, then grabs both ends of the board (nose and tail) and holds them. This makes the skater crouch and appear small and round in shape, like a cannonball, hence the name. This trick can also be done as an early grab, in which case it is commonly called a smallie, a smurf, or a bunnyhop.

Crail Grab

Much like a Seatbelt grab, but in opposite order. For a Crail Grab, the skater grabs the nose with the back hand.

Early grab

The early grab is not so much the name of a particular grab, but rather a way of performing grabs. It was widely used when vert skateboarding started out. In fact, everybody used the early grab, until Alan "Ollie" Gelfand invented the ollie. The Early Grab is a very basic trick and can be carried out in the following way:

  1. Ride up a ramp or to a ledge (using a small ledge to start with) at a comfortable pace to catch a little air.

  2. Before you get to the top of the ramp or to the edge of the ledge, crouch down and grab your board any way you see fit.

  3. Ride off the ramp or ledge. (Remember to keep the board under you.)

  4. Let go of the board and stand up to get ready for impact.

  5. Land.

Given sufficient air (e.g. from a ramp), it is actually possible to perform virtually any grab as an early grab. It is also possible to early grab into grinds instead of ollying into them, as demonstrated by Eric Koston in the credits of the Transworld video Modus Operandi.

Frontside grab

An air where the board is grabbed with the back hand between the toes on the front rail of the board - hence "front" side. Style dictates that the inside of the elbow of the back arm must be wrapped around the knee of the back leg for a "tuck-knee" frontside. The other variation being where the arm is not around the back knee, but rather straight between the legs. This is known as a Stinkbug air or Bob air (supposedly named after Bob Schmeltzer of Back to the Future fame). The frontside air was the first air performed on vert. Although contested as to who did the first fronside air, credit is generally given to Tony Alva.

Gorilla Grab

A flatground trick used before the ollie was invented. The barefoot rider would grip the deck with his/her toes (like a gorilla could) and jump, bringing the deck into the air with him/her. This was Rendered obsolete as the ollie became popular.

Variation of Frontside Indy

Indy grab

An Indy grab is a simple grab in which the rider uses their back hand to grab the toe side of the board while turning backside in the air.

Japan grab

Similar to the mosquito, but grabbed like a mute grab (front hand grabbing the front rail between the toes).

Judo Air

Similar to a Madonna. Except the front foot is kicked forward, instead of backward.


The board is grabbed with the front hand on the heel side of the nose. Then the front foot is kicked down and back off the heel side.

Melon Grab

Short for "melonchollie grab", the Melon Grab is a Backside Air where the legs are twisted so the front knee touches the board while the board is brought up behind the skateboarder. It is not done very much in its standard form, but Mathias Ringstrom does a Lien Melon (frontside version) in nearly every contest run.


Contrary to popular belief, this grab does not originate from snowboarding, but was invented by Neil Blender as a "method" to get higher air on a backside air. This is similar to the melon grab only when the board is grabbed the knees are bent so the board is raised backwards and the skater appears to be kneeling in mid-air.

Mosquito grab

A backside grab where the legs are tweaked back so that the front knee is folded down and possibly touching the back foot, with the back leg in a similar position. VERY similar the melon grab, but the difference mainly in the front leg in a melon grab is mostly straight as well as the front arm, with the board mostly in front of the rider. The mosquito air has the front leg bent to where the front leg is bent and the front foot is close to the front shoulder, where the board is mostly beside the rider.


Similar to the seatbelt grab, except the front hand grabs the frontside of the board just between the bindings, not on the nose or tail. Mutes are always backside.

Nar Jar

It's a Nosegrab while doing a 540.

Nose grab

For a nose grab one grabs hold of the front (nose) of one's skateboard with the front hand whilst one's feet are in an ollie position. This is one of the easiest grabs to perform.

Roast Beef

A complex grab that involves reaching through the legs with the front hand and grabbing the heelside of the board between the feet.

Rocket Air

Similar to a nose grab. Except both hands grab the nose, and both feet move to the tail.


A very odd grab that involves taking both feet off the board. The board is grabbed by both hands on either side of the board. Then the baord is "tapped" against one's groin. Thus called a Sacktap

Seatbelt grab

This trick has caused much confusion in the past as it is quite complex. Many believe it is an indy grab, but grabbed with the opposite hand. This is false. A seatbelt grab is where the skater grabs the board on the toeside of the board (frontside) on the tail. It is done with the front hand so that the arm is brought across the body to grab the board, similar to the motion of buckling one's seatbelt on the driver's side.


A frontside aerial variation, invented by Blair Watson, where-in the leading hand grabs the deck between the feet, on the toe side, while launching into the air on a vert.

Stalefish grab

Named by Tony Hawk, in honour of the quality of food at the Swedish Skate Camp where it was invented (although this is disputed, as many credit Mark Gonzales with inventing the grab). The back hand grabs the heel side of the board behind the back leg. This results in a bending of both legs which can be emphasised to create more style. When this is done on a trick it is called a 'tweak'.

Tail grab

A tail grab is like a nose grab except the tail is grabbed with the back hand. This is one of the harder uncomplicated grabs to perform.


Much like a Japan, but the board isn't tweaked. The rider is standing on one knee and is grabbing the toeside of the board.


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