Widely used skateboarding term. As you read this entry remember that “mob” is bad and is considered ugly by most skaters. If anyone tells you that your kickflip or one of your tricks is mob, quickly attempt to fix it.
The use of the term mob has a very interesting history. The term was coined by Jim Greco, a very famous professional skater from East Haven, Connecticut. As defined by Grecs, mob is when a skater performs a kickflip and they do not entirely follow through with their flick with their front foot. In a normal kickflip the foot twists and slides up the board and then kicks out to flip the board under the feet with the board leveling out in the air. In a mob kickflip the foot basically goes limp halfway through the sliding process, making the board flip so it doesn't level out with the ground. That is the Jim Greco definition of the term. There is one other type of mob kickflip that is slightly different from the Greco definition. This other common form of mob kickflip is when the skater's foot does not turn sideways and slide up the board, the foot simply kicks straight down causing the board to rotate very low off the ground. This kind of mob kickflip can level out with the ground, unlike the Greco mob kickflip, but it is usually very low and generally considered ugly as is the Greco mob flip. For the record, Jim Greco himself does not have mob but he claims that he used to when he was growing up skating as a kid. Greco said he corrected his mob though an intense training process that required hours of physical practice as well as mental training. The average skater may find this correction or cleansing process extremely difficult, but for most it can be done.The only known professional skateboarder to have a mob kickflip is the highly respected Mark Gonzales. Mark is considered a legendary skater and it is quite ironic that he has a mob kickflip through all his success. Also for the record, the Gonz is the only person in the world that can make a mob kickflip look good and stylish. He will probably be the only pro skater ever to be known for performing kickflips this way.
What is interesting is how mob has evolved as a term that has several other different meanings. Mob has jumped from referring not only to kickflips, but also to several other tricks and styles. Heelflips can be mob when they do not level out with the ground. Ollies can also be mob when the front end does not level out in the air, although the more widely used term for this type of ollie is “rocket.” Mob is also used as an adjective to describe someone’s skating. If skater himself is described as mob he probably is not that good or has sketchy stlye. I have heard people using mob to describe odd facial expression that skaters show when they are doing a trick. If a skater always makes a weird or crazy expression when they do a certain trick someone else may comment, “That guy has a crazy mob face when he does his boardslides!” Mob is also used to refer to what someone’s hand does in the middle of a trick. Many skaters’ hands move in funny ways while they are balancing in mid air and they therefore certain skaters have a specific “mob hand.” Mob hands are not usually looked upon as bad and sometimes they can look pretty cool. For example, one of my favorite skaters, Arto Saari, is known to have a mob hand called the hook which often appears in his frontside boardslides. I have also seen his mob hand come out in his frontside kickflips. I personally like his type of mob hand and I think it adds to his overall style.
All in all, the subject of mob can be quite a touchy one. Directly talking to a skater and telling them that they have mob could be risky, as most skaters take offense to someone informing them of their mobness. Essentially a mobed trick, like the kickflip, is looked at as a lazy way to perform the trick. There is nothing really wrong with mobed tricks but they are almost universally looked upon as one of the ugliest things that can happen to someone’s style (with the exception of Mark Gonzales). The term is most widely used referring to kickflips, and depending on who you are talking to, the term mob, may only be used to refer to kickflips, although Jim Greco himself said that it is acceptable to label rocket ollies as mobed, as well as other tricks.
Tricks that most often have mob:
- Nollie Kickflip and switch kickflips
- Ollie (Usually mob ollies are referred to as rocket ollies. Rocket is more accurate because it describes how the nose of the board is not fully leveled out and is pointing up, like a rocket.)
For more information about "mob hand", refer to Skateboarder magazine Aug 2002 Vol. 11, No. 10.