Fundamentals of Tranny
Pumping, kickturns, and carving make up the fundamentals of transition skateboarding. Once you can get around a bowl or ramp using these methods, you can start learning coping tricks, airs, and all sorts of awesome things. But first things first – dial in the basics. Let’s learn a backside kickturn.
Doing the Backside Kickturn
A backside kickturn is where you turn your back to the coping as you turn 180 degrees in a ramp or bowl to keep going forwards. Essentially, you’re going up a ramp and as you’re about to go down, you put some weight on the tail of your board and pivot to face down the ramp. Make sure you can pump a ramp well without turning, and then you can move onto the backside kickturn.
Get a decent pump going in a ramp. You only need to be 2-3 feet up a ramp to learn this move. As you go up the ramp, prepare to turn your shoulders back down the ramp. A backside kickturn is lead with your head and torso, and your board and legs follow. As you reach the peak of your pump, place some extra weight on the tail of your skateboard as you turn your shoulders. As you begin to look down the ramp, let your front knee bend a bit to bring your front wheels off the ground.
At this point you should be looking completely down the ramp with weight on your tail and your front wheels off the ground. If you haven’t already pivoted your feet, guide your board around with your front foot and set the front wheels back down once you’re facing down the ramp. Pump into the next wall of the ramp and keep on skating. There you have it – that’s a backside kickturn!
As I’ve taught a few people how to do this in person, I’ve noticed some common mistakes. One is not enough weight on the tail, and another is too much weight on the tail. Without enough weight on the tail, your front wheels won’t lift up and the board won’t come around. With too much weight, you’re likely to slip out backwards. It’s a fine line. Focus on keeping your shoulders square over the board and not to lean. Weight on the tail does not mean lean back. You can apply pressure with your foot and lift your front knee without ever leaning back.
Also, turn your head early and look where you want to go. Once you have this dialed it won’t be necessary, but when first learning it helps to lead your head and shoulders. This is because it forces your feet to follow. Once you dial this in, you can start slashing coping and learning bigger and better tricks. Best of luck!