Do Risers Help You Ollie Higher
Skateboarding

To ollie higher on a skateboard, you need to know how to perform a basic ollie. It requires you to slide your front foot forward and stomp down, popping the board up to get a little .it of air. To get higher ollies, you need to master both your footwork and your jump. As well as practice whenever you can.

Good ollie is more challenging than a kickflip or grind/slide. Therefore, you need to get used to it. You should start at around 2 feet (60cm.) Once you master this height, you can move to kickflip or other flat-ground tricks.

But, what do you need to ollie higher? Could it be risers?

The riser pads certainly increase your distance from the ground, enabling the angle of the board to increase when you slide your foot forward to ollie. While they increase your distance from the ground, it is arguable whether they can actually help your ollies.

In this article, we cover risers and much more to help you understand how they affect your ollies. Stay with us to get more insights into the pros and cons of using skateboard risers.

Skateboard Risers

Riser pads/risers are hard plastic pads that you can insert between the skateboard trucks and deck. This is to raise the overall height of the skateboard. Besides, you can use risers to avoid wheel bite. This happens when the wheel rubs the skateboard deck after a trick or during a turn.

Wheel bite can damage your skateboard wheels via a sudden stop in the wheel’s motion. Riser pads can mitigate the risk of stress cracks between the trucks and the deck. Needless to say, it depends on your skateboarding style.

A wheel bite is what happens when your deck comes into contact with your wheels. The distance between the wheels and the deck is smaller for large wheels and low trucks. As a result, hard turns and landing tricks can make deck and wheel meet and cause a stop. Abrupt and potentially painful.

The risk for wheel bite increases with the size of your wheels. You may want to get risers if your skateboard has large wheels (55mm and above), like on a cruiser or longboard. Basically, the larger the wheels and the longer the board, the more you need a riser pad.

Even if you have a short-boarder, you may need a riser pad to prevent wheel bite after landing a skate trick. Moreover, you’re giving your board extra pop and reducing vibration and stress cracks to your board. As you progress, you’ll figure out what is right for your personal skating style.

Riser pads absorb the shock of impact, thereby keeping your hardware from vibrating loose. While they may seem redundant for wheels smaller than 55mm, even 1/8″ risers can help keep the hardware in place.

Riser Pads vs Shock Pads

The terms “riser pads” and “shock pads” are used interchangeably. Although they look similar and are used in the same place on your skateboard, these two differ significantly. First, riser pads are used to increase the height of your board and avoiding wheel bite. Shock pads, on the other hand, are designed to absorb shock.

Secondly, riser pads and shock pads are made from different materials. Riser pads are made from hard plastic and shock pads are made from rubber/dense foam. Although riser pads are capable of absorbing shock, shock pads are much better at shock absorption, due to their soft material. The hard material of riser pads makes sure they will not compress and lose height.

Ultimately, risers and shock pads differ in the speed you can get. Riser pads don’t have a specific effect on the speed unless they are very tall. As for the shock pads, shock absorption naturally results in reduced speed.

Shapes of Riser Pads

Riser pads come in different designs, colors, and thickness levels.

Rectangular Risers

The most common shape of skateboard riser pads. It will increase your deck height and decrease the shock you feel in your feet. You should know that your skateboard gets less maneuverable when you raise the deck higher from the ground.

You can opt for rectangular pads if you’re a skateboarder or longboarder, but with longboard wheels, should try with a thicker riser pad to avoid wheel bite.

Wedge/Angled Risers

Angled riser pads are generally used for longboards and cruisers. They alter the steering behavior of your skateboard by changing the angle at which you mount your trucks on the deck. Thanks to their doorjamb shape, angled risers raise your trucks and fix them at an angle from your deck. That is away from the center, or towards the center.

Wedge risers affect the angle of the kingpin and the pivot point, thereby increasing/decreasing how much your trucks turn. If you attach the wedge risers with a thick part close to the center of the board, you can significantly improve turn capability.

You can also create different effects by flipping the direction of your wedges. It means if you install both wedge risers with the thick part towards the center, you can increase/decrease front/rear turn capabilities respectively.

You can find both rectangular and angled risers are in drop-thru style. Along with attractive design cutouts. They look cool and decrease the total weight of your skateboard. Also, some skateboarders prefer mixing rectangular and angled riser pads to stabilize the back and increase front turn steering and vice versa.

Whatever shape you choose, you’ll definitely need longer hardware to achieve the extra height!

Why do You Need Risers?

  • Reduce wheel bites.
  • Improve Board Handling
  • Reduce stress on the board material.

The chance of wheel bite increases if you’re wheels are large enough and your trucks lose enough. It’s like you’re skating at a proper speed, you lean into a turn, and your wheels interact with the underside of your board. Wheel-bite may result in an abrupt and painful stop.

Wheel bite cannot be prevented with high-profile trucks if you have larger wheels. Chances are, you may need riser pads.

If you install riser pads, it will keep you safe when leaning into turns, or pivoting with loose trucks. If you prefer skating with large wheels or loose trucks, we recommend using rising pads.

Namely, skateboard trucks connect to the underside of the board and allow you to attach wheels. There’s a central bolt that makes it possible to adjust how much “turning” occurs on the board. If you loosen it on each truck, the board will turn more easily. If you tighten it, it will not turn as easily. Looser bolts mean quicker, easier turning, but also increase the risk of wheel bite.

You can handle this with a riser. It can make your ride smoother, especially when landing tricks or riding on rough services.

The screws connect the truck to the board through pre-drilled holes that go through the board. These screws are directly pressing against the softer material of the board. This may lead to stress cracks in the board, weaken it and ultimately ruin it. You can slow the process with risers using them as a soft buffer between the board and the trucks.

Additional Benefits of Using Risers

Besides the reduced risk of wheel bite and extra pop, riser pads are also great in absorbing the effects of landing tricks. Without them, lots of shocks are absorbed in the spots where the trucks meet the deck.

The force produced from the impact may lead to stress fractures. Riser pads will absorb shock and reduce the risk of pressure cracks occurring. Additionally, risers keep your hardware from loosening caused by vibrations.

Skateboarder doing a trick ollie

What Else Should You Know About Riser Pads?

Riser pads are typically manufactured from hard plastic, but there are also riser pads made from polyurethane. These polyurethane riser pads are also known as shock pads. They are shorter, softer, and generally used to absorb shock and popular on rough terrains.

Unlike skating on smooth terrain, vibrations coming through your trucks and deck can be very uncomfortable to your feet. Shock pads will absorb these vibrations more effectively than hard plastic riser pads.

Riser pads are also less effective in protecting the board from pressure cracks. So, if you’re aiming to mitigate the risk for pressure cracks without extra height, shock pads may be a better choice.

Riser Pads’ Sizing

There are three common sizes for skateboard risers:

  • one-eighth of an inch (1/8″),
  • quarter-inch (1/4″), and
  • half-inch (1/2″).

Getting the right size hardware is critical and depends on the size of riser pads that you pick. Seven-eighths of an inch (7/8″) hardware is unlikely to accommodate any size of riser pad. It means you’ll need at least a one-inch (1″) hardware for the smallest riser pads, and one and a half-inch (1 1/2″) hardware for half-inch (1/2″) risers.

Riser pads are a low-cost and widely available add-on for skateboarders. Having a pair of them set up on your board may be a great improvement to your ride.

If you’re not OK with the added height, but appreciate the benefits of pressure crack protection, soft 1/8″ shock pads could be great. In case you have larger wheels and low trucks, or high-profile trucks and often experience wheel-bite, you can go with any size of standard hard plastic riser pad.

You may consider trying out different brands to see which of them is the best for you!

What About Ollies?

Increasing the distance between your tail and the ground gives you the ability to create more downward force with your popping foot and adds pop to your tricks. It also lets the tail go down further, thereby increasing the angle of the board for when you slide your foot forward to ollie.

But will riser pads help you ollie higher?

Probably. It’s jumping higher that will actually help you get your ollies higher. It also means popping the board harder, sucking your feet up with the board, and jumping higher than normal. Basically, getting your knees almost all the way up to your chest.

As for the riser pads, their key role is to increase your distance from the ground. Letting the tail go down further is most likely to increase the angle of the board for when you slide your foot forward to ollie. So, yes, riser pads can make your ollies higher.

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