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Best Setup for Transition Skateboarding

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Transition skateboarding is multidisciplinary and the perfect setup comes down to your preference. This article is general guideline. There are a few basics that can help you create the best transition skateboarding setup tailored to your needs.

I’m a firm believer in collecting the parts yourself and with a bit of guidance, you can get the perfect setup. Even some minor tweaks to your current setup can already make a huge difference.

What Is Transition Skateboarding?

Transition skateboarding is about skating obstacles in skate parks like bowls, quarter pipes, and ramps. Transition refers to the curves in park obstacles and is also called ‘skating tranny’.

What Makes a Good Transition Skateboard?

transition skateboarding park

Transition skateboarding involves flat ground, ramps, bowls. It’s about flow and finding the right line to perform tricks. You need speed, balance, and grip.

Here’s what you need in general:

  • A deck between 8.0″ and 8.5″, 8.25 is probably the sweet spot
  • Higher trucks that turn better and are suitable for bigger wheels
  • Wheels between 54mm and 56mm, durometer between 99A and 84B
  • Good quality bearings

I’d say there are two (maybe three) camps here.

Technical skateboarders that grind rails, ledges and perform lots of flips but also enjoy ramps and bowls. This requires a more agile setup like a deck between 8.0″ and 8.25, wheels around 54mm and medium-high trucks.

Flowy riders (for the lack of a better word) that like to ride parks and do an occasional ollie, transfers, and shred mini ramps and pools. This requires a wider board around 8.25″ / 8.5″, wheels around 56mm and 58mm, and high trucks.

If we also take vert skating into consideration you’ll need a wide setup. 8.5″ would be the minimum width but 9.0″ isn’t unheard of. Stability is really important and you also want to ride 58mm wheels and high trucks.

What Makes A Good Transition Deck?

Any deck and size from a reputable brand or wood shop is suitable for transition skateboarding. If you already have a favorite size, got with that. IN general transition skateboarder ride decks between 8.0″ and 8.5″.

Go with a wider deck if you mainly skate ramps and pool/bowls for increased stability. Check out my guide for bowl skating and setups.

Transition Trucks

Here’s where it’s all about personal preference. In general, you want trucks that are are a bit higher when you skate ramps, bowls, and verts but you also need something for flatground. A medium-high profile truck will work for most skateboarders.

I certainly wouldn’t ride low trucks unless you go for all the technical tricks. If you just pump and flow, go with high trucks like Independent Hollows.

Don’t ride your trucks too tight. Tight trucks work great for street stuff but not so much for transition. If you already are used to your current trucks, don’t change anything.


In general, it’s better to ride wheels between 54mm and 58mm. 56mm to 58mm is perfect for dedicated bowl/pool/vert and mini ramp riders. 54mm to 56mm if you like to do technical tricks in a park and still want to ride bowls. Although 56mm might not work for everyone.

collection of skateboard wheels

Harder wheels are usually better, anything between 99A and 84B is fine. Softer wheels (under 95A) stick too much to the surface which means you have to push and pump really hard. Some indoor parks are dusty and slippery, a slightly softer wheel will increase your grip.


Standard Bones Reds or Bronson G2’s are recommended. Don’t go with the cheap stuff (under 10 bucks) because they will fail you after a couple of rides. Make sure to maintain them properly to make them last longer and get max speed.

You could invest in more expensive Bones like Super Reds, although they are a bit pricey, they tend to last a bit longer.

What to Avoid

If you ride really small wheels below 53mm you’re going to have to push a lot harder. This isn’t a problem for everyone but slightly bigger wheels help you to maintain speed. Obviously you don’t want to ride soft wheels, transition skateboarding is not about cruising.

I wouldn’t get a deck below 8.0″. 8.0 is already narrow these days but below is just not for transition. You need some room to properly place your feet.

Low and stiff trucks aren’t recommended. They are less turny compared to higher trucks and you’ll need to be able to pump and carve around corners.

Tips for Transition Skating

Transition skateboarding is awesome but it’s hard if you don’t know how to ride and pump properly. If you’re a beginner or completely new to tranny skating learning how to ride is the first step.

Just ride around, approach a bank or quarter pipe and ride up. See if you can do some kickturns or try to ride fakie when you roll back.

You don’t have to drop in immediately, just slowly work your way up by practicing tail taps. Find a mini ramp and just ride back and forward.

Pump a little and once you feel like it, give your tail a gentle tap. You can do this below the coping and work your way up until you reach the top. At some point, you’ll tail that the coping which is almost the same as dropping in.

skateboarder about to drop in a quarter pipe

Once you feel comfortable rolling around, you should learn how to pump. Pumping is al about timing and it might take a while until you know exactly when and how to push. At some point, this will feel natural and you do it without thinking.

Practice kickturns, both front- and backside, start slow and go higher each time. Start with backside kickturns, it’s easier and less scary.

Check my list of the best skateboards if you have no idea what to get.


It’s hard to say what setup is exactly right for transition skateboarding. It really depends on your personal preferences and style. It’s safe to say that a wider board and larger wheels are recommended. Wheels should be hard and trucks should be high and loose.

If you’re a street skater you should probably just stick with what you’re used to. You’ll do fine on a smaller board if that’s what you prefer and you’ll most likely skate more flat ground than ramps. Try out a setup from a friend if you can and see what you do and don’t like. By the way, here is a setup I ride, the Powell deck is a tad expensive though. 

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