Outside of your basic invert, I was always intrigued by the colorful names, variations, and pecking order of the niche vert handplant game. Here are 10 variations explained by a man in the know. Up front, Jeff wanted this made clear: "It's an old forgotten sect. But what should be said is that Neil Blender is the king— always will be the king, there is no one better. He made it all up. He didn't necessarily make all the tricks up, but he's the dude that figured out how to contort them all."—Mackenzie Eisenhour
1. Sad Plant: Tweaked invert: "A sad plant would be the straightening of your front leg. Kind of like a shifty ollie, but grabbing the board. You can sad a frontside invert. You can sad an Andrecht. But for a purist's sake, let's just say it's a regular invert, where you straighten your front leg. As far as the name, Neil Blender took a photo of Lance Mountain skating Sadlands in Anaheim in the dark. Lance was straightening his leg in the photo, so it was dubbed the "sad plant."
Lance Mountain, Sad Plant. Flip Extremely Sorry
2. Andrecht: Backside invert with backside grab: "Andrecht handplants come from Jay Adams originally. It was called a 'flyaway'—basically where you just fly out like a backside air and slap your hand on the wall. Then Bobby Valdez made up the invert—the handplant that we all know and love—and Dave Andrecht (gym guy) came along and started doing the Jay Adams flyaway, grabbing behind his foot to combat the Bobby Valdez handplant. You don't have to flip your legs over, but it's a thousand times better if you do."
3. Layback Air: Frontside handplant with the rear hand on the lip: "It was the most abused handplant and probably the easiest too. It takes no talent and no effort [laughs]. It was hated on because everyone and their mother did it. It's really hard to do a layback air and make it look good. Allen Losi did good ones for just the sheer raw madness. Pure aggression. Christian Hosoi had a really good layback air."
Allen Losi, layback air. Del Mar Skate Ranch contest of 1984.
4. Frontside Invert: Frontside handplant with front hand on the lip: "Frontside inverts are Steve Schneer, who recently passed away. Eddie Elguera gets the main credit for it. But Schneer had like a full-page photo in Skateboarder doing it. Eddie Elguera popularized it and took credit for it, but from what I understand Schneer did them first. This was like '78 or '79."
Steve Schneer, frontside invert. Nickelodean’s SkateTV.
5. Miller Flip: Frontside invert flipped around to fakie: " The Miller flip was invented by Darryl 'Gnarls' Miller— super rad dude. Basically it's an invert were you just flip straight over backwards, ram your nose into the wall, and roll down the wall backwards. It was the first true flip on a skateboard."
John Sonner, Miller flip. H-Street Shackle Me Not
6. Eggplant: Indy air handplant: "Some people think that doing a tuck-knee egg is just fine—I'm not one of them. It should be said that Lance Mountain gets the eggplant. He invented it. But it should also be said that Lance's primer to learn was the roto-rooter—which was Gator [Mark Rogowski]. Lance couldn't do it the way Gator was doing it because it was so awkward, so he refined it and made it so that everybody could do it."
Willis Kimbel, switch eggplant. Independent Trucks Promo
7. Smith Vert/Plant: Invert twisting the board: "The Smith vert is basically a regular handplant and you just cross your legs up. You twist the board so that instead of being horizontal to the coping, it's vertical to the coping. It's from Mike Smith of Madrid Skateboards. It's just kind of a more stylish, speedy way to do 'em. Jeff Kendall probably has the best Smith vert in the business—bar none."
Jeff Kendall, Smith vert. Speed Wheels Risk It Gambling with Gravity
8. Phillips 66: Fakie frontside 360 invert: "Phillips 66 is basically when you go up backwards and you sort of do a frontside slob gay twist planting your hand. A regular Caballerial handplant is an "Elguerial," created by Eddie Elguera. So Phillips 66 was that frontside. For a long time, Phillips was the only guy that could do it*. I'm gonna say there are less than 10 dudes in the world that have ever done Phillips 66s."
Jeff Phillips, Phillips 66. Speed Wheels Speed Freaks
*While made famous by Jeff Phillips, some credit Shawn Peddie with inventing the Phillips 66.
9. Jolly Mambo: Stalled Miller flip: "The jolly mambo is basically Blender's version of a Miller flip. I believe Mofo captioned it for his Thrasher interview. He just wrote 'jolly mambo.' It was Mofo's caption. But a jolly mambo is a stalled-out frontside invert where you swing the tail around and set it down backwards. So it's kind of a twisting stalled Miller flip, except there's no flip really."
Neil Blender, jolly mambo.
10. Ho-Ho Plant: Both hands on the coping: "The early genesis of the ho-ho— because I was there when we were joking around/making it up—it was supposed to be a cartwheel on the coping. You go up and do a regular handplant, let go, and cartwheel across the coping into an eggplant, then come in. It's supposed to be all in one fluid motion. We all tried them—it was super hard. It was a Blender thing. Schneer was a gymnast before he was a skateboarder. He was incredibly coordinated. So he got in on the fun, and he's the one that figured out that you would go up—because none of us were straightening our legs—you go up and you straighten your legs, which would balance you. You balance the board on your feet, because everyone's boards were falling off their feet and hitting them in the head. Then you could walk out onto the deck, then walk back and then swing it in. When Schneer was really on top of his game, I saw some sessions where he did it all in one fluid motion. He was a specimen."