Skateboarding

What Does Pushing Mongo Mean When Skateboarding?

Pushing mongo is the practice of pushing with your front foot and leaving your other foot close to the tail of the skateboard. It is sometimes referred to as a bad habit, but the most important thing for riders is that they’re comfortable.

It takes more time to get into proper position when getting back on the board when pushing mongo. This also causes a lack of balance because the center of the skateboard provides less stability.

Proper or regular pushing means that your front food is located above the front truck, using your back foot to push yourself forward. But for mongo, that’s completely different. The dominant foot is close to the center of the board, sometimes a bit further back.

It’s not clear where the term “mongo” came from, but you don’t need a wild imagination to catch the gist of it.

Why Is It Called Mongo Pushing?

The term mongo can be used as slang for “huge” or “extremely.” In another unrelated sense, mong or mongo can be used as a slur for a dumb person. Furthermore, mongo is also used in New York to describe items taken from out of trash cans.

Those are just some of the definitions of the word mongo, so we can somewhat understand where the name came from. It has also been rumored to come from making fun of mongo riders by calling them Mongols.

Why Is Pushing Your Skateboard Mongo Bad? 

Pushing mongo isn’t just bad because it looks bad; a few things actually make it more difficult. For starters, it takes longer to get positioned on the board properly. Your feet and body move more compared to a regular stance. Secondly, there is less stability and balance because your weight is on the back of the skateboard.

It’s not difficult to learn how to push in the normal stance, but it will require patience and persistence. You don’t have to learn how to push any other way, but there are a few advantages to pushing in a normal stance. Let’s go over the pros and cons of pushing mongo.

The Advantages of Pushing Mongo

Even though mongo pushing is looked down upon, one huge advantage is that mongo skaters have an easier time learning to ride fakie. As the rider pushes mongo, and once they have enough speed, they only need to place their front foot near the truck bolts and the back foot on the board’s tail. And voila, you’re now riding fakie.

Mongo also helps to learn riding switch, making it less awkward in the beginning. If you push mongo, then you already push the board with your front foot. Now, all you have to do is place your back foot a little bit closer to the middle of the board and place your front foot on the tail. Turning will still feel weird and take some getting used to, but practice makes perfect.

Now, let’s get into the disadvantages. There are a lot more of them than advantages.

The Disadvantages Of Pushing Mongo

There are quite a few disadvantages to pushing mongo that aren’t too obvious, but one that really is. Mongo pushing is not efficient. It’s been said, and with that, let’s dive into the other cons. When pushing mongo, your foot is on the tail of the board, which makes it more difficult to ollie, hop over small rocks and debris, and quickly avoid obstacles. 

If you have a proper stance, all of the things above are much easier because it takes less time to get into position. All you have to do is take your back foot off of and on the tail of the board. Mongo requires some extra steps that some claim can even be risky at times. You cannot deal with unexpected events or obstacles quickly when it takes more time to get into a stable and proper position. That is just a fact. You’ll have less time to react, which can cause all sorts of wipeouts and injuries.

Another disadvantage that people don’t often think of is weight distribution and gravity. Your dominant foot (the one at the back of the board if you push mongo) sits between the middle of the board and the tail, which actually makes the ride unstable. On top of that, it gets more apparent at higher speeds and is more difficult to make corrections. 

These issues don’t occur when you push normally. Your front foot should be placed near the front bolts above the front trucks, which gives you more balance and stability.

Skateboard Stance

All skateboarders either ride regular (left foot forward) or goofy (right foot forward). So mongo skaters can push mongo but still have a regular or goofy stance. 

How does someone learn to push mongo? To be quite honest, it normally means the rider didn’t learn how to push the board properly when they were starting. That’s totally cool, though. You can learn how to push properly if you don’t want to ride mongo anymore. Or if you just need a little bit of encouragement, there are actually some pro skaters that push mongo.

Do Any Pro Skaters Push Mongo?

Some real skate legends such as Eric Koston and Tony Hawk are amazing examples of skaters who push mongo when skating switch, and it has become a fundamental role in their skate style. Most professional skateboarders actually push mongo while in switch. It can actually be much easier. Give that a try the next time you’re riding switch.

If you’re guilty of pushing mongo all the time, that’s totally cool. It’s possible that some of your favorite pro skaters started skating that way.

Terry Kennedy

Terry Kennedy is possibly one of the most well-known mongo pushers. Commonly referred to as TK, he is a pro that rides his skateboard mongo with a regular stance. He’s been in skate films such as Ice Cream VOL.1, Baker 2G, Summer Tour 2001, Baker 3, Baker Has a Deathwish, Shake Junt’s Chicken Bone Nowison, Street Dreams, and Bake and Destroy.

Stevie Williams

Stevie Williams is a pro skater known to push mongo. He has been revered as one of the 30 most influential skateboarders of all time by Transworld Skateboarding. Check out some of his skate videos, such as Chocolate: The Chocolate Tour, Zoo York: Heads, and DGK/Zero: Fresh ’til Death.

Chris Cole

Chris Cole actually started skateboarding mongo. Then he was told if he wanted to get sponsored by Zero and advance his career, he had to stop pushing mongo and learn how to push properly. 

How to Stop Pushing Mongo

Admittedly, when I first started skateboarding as a kid, I pushed mongo for a little bit. But I was able to stop pushing mongo by training myself how to push the board properly. It can be quite difficult if you’ve trained yourself to push mongo for a long time, but it is achievable. So how can you stop pushing mongo?

I began by cruising at the dead end of my street, keeping all of my focus on my feet. It felt a little unnatural and awkward at first, and I looked like a complete beginner all over again. But it didn’t take long before I began to get better.

Here are some pointers to help you quit pushing mongo:

  • Find a smooth road with little to no traffic and start pushing normally. I emphasize the road because you might take a tumble by trying on the sidewalk first.
  • Use your hand to lean on your dominant leg or knee once you start getting more comfortable.
  • Start slow. Your balance and stability might not be 100 percent yet, and that’s totally okay.
  • Any time you catch yourself pushing mongo, get off of your board and get back on in the proper stance.

Congratulations, you’re no longer pushing mongo.

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