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 a bad habit to develop but can be fixed quite easily early on.
Why is pushing mongo on your skateboard a bad idea? There are several reasons: it’s slower, you’re less balanced, and it doesn’t look as good.
Pushing mongo means that it takes longer to position yourself properly on your board. You also have to adjust your foot more often because of the improper stance. Furthermore, because your weight is leaning on the back of the skateboard in a mongo push, there’s less stability overall and a greater risk of falling off completely.
Pushing Mongo vs Regular Pushing
As described above, mongo is when you push with your dominant foot, the foot that is in the front of the skateboard. It can look silly and it will be harder to balance. Pushing with your back foot is the proper way to do it, as you will have more control of the skateboard and can go faster.
Proper or regular pushing is when your front foot is above the front truck and you use your back foot to push yourself forward. This is the most balanced and efficient way to skate, as you can go faster and have more control. If you’re just starting out, it’s best to learn how to push with your back foot from the beginning so that you don’t develop bad habits.
Mongo pushing can be fixed quite easily, especially if you catch it early on. All you need to do is reposition your feet so that your dominant foot is in the back and your other foot is closer to the tail of the skateboard. This will take some practice but it’s worth it to avoid any bad habits or inefficient skating.
Why Is It Called Mongo Pushing?
It’s not clear where the term “mongo” came from, but you don’t need a wild imagination to catch the gist of it.
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 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 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. Other advantages of pushing mongo include:
1. Rolling Over Debris
When you push mongo, your front foot is placed lower on the deck. This gives you more leverage to roll over cracks and pebbles.
2. Long Distance Pushing
Pushing mongo can help you conserve energy when pushing long distances. You can alternate between pushing mongo and pushing regular to give your legs a break. This is extremely helpful if you’re planning on skating for hours or even days.
3. Easier to Push in Switch
Pushing mongo can also help you learn how to push switch. This is because you’re already used to pushing with your front foot, so all you need to do is place your back foot closer to the middle of the board.
The Disadvantages Of Pushing Mongo
There are quite a few disadvantages to pushing mongo that isn’t too obvious, but one that is, mongo pushing is not efficient. 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.
1. Setting up Tricks is More Difficult
It makes trick setup more difficult because you’re pushing with your front foot. Flip tricks also take longer to set up because your front foot is already on the deck when you push with your back foot, ready to flick.
2. The Board is Harder to Control
If your weight is concentrated over the back truck, it’s more difficult to rotate/handle your board. Those two points alone should persuade you not to push mongo, especially if you’re a street skater. Even if it feels unpleasant at first, persevere because it will save you time in the long run.
What 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 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. Some of your favorite pro skaters started skating that way.
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 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 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.
Different Skateboard Stances
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. There are a few other stances in skateboarding that you should be aware of.
- Regular: left foot is the dominant foot, at the front of the skateboard. Regular skaters keep their left foot on the skateboard and push with their right foot.
- Goofy: the right foot is the dominant foot. Goofy skaters keep their right foot on the board and push with their left foot.
- Mongo: can be either regular or goofy but push with their back foot. Regular skaters push with their left and goofy skaters push with their right. Their dominant foot is at the back of the skateboard instead of the front.
- Fakie: the skateboard is in motion backwards but the skater stays in their usual stance.
- Switch: when skateboarders do a switch stance, they use the opposite foot from their natural stance. A regular-foot skater (someone whose left foot is naturally forward) would have a goofy-foot switch stance, and a goofy-foot skater (whose right foot is naturally forward) would have a regular-foot switch stance.
Sometimes people get confused with the difference between riding fakie and switch. Masterclass explained it best in their article about riding switch.
Pushing mongo is perfectly okay when you’re starting out. But if you want to improve your skateboarding skills, then it’s time to learn how to push the board properly. Switching from a mongo stance to a regular or goofy stance can actually make skating easier for you.
If you need some motivation to stop pushing mongo, just remember that some of your favorite pro skaters actually started skating that way. And with a little bit of practice, you can train yourself out of pushing mongo too.