Surfboard Traction Pad Buyers Guide

Surfboard Traction Pad Buyers Guide

So you heard about the benefit of surfboard traction pads and want to know what the fuss is all about? View our selection of  traction pads.

History of surfboard traction

Surfboard traction was first marketed with much success by Astrodeck. Astrodeck was started by surfing longboard legend Herbie Fletcher. The surfboard traction pad was a soft foam molded into shape that would stick to the surface of the surf board as a wax replacement. The very first surfboard traction pads had a flat surface that simply replaced wax as an alternative form of grip. However as the surfboard traction pads evolved, the flat surface was modified to allow for a more contoured surface rather than a purely flat deck to give the rider better grip in critical turns and maneuvers. Modern surfboard traction pads have added a center arch bar to meet the contour of the foot as well as a high kick pad near the tail of the surfboard to give the rider a push off surface for greater control and power in critical turns.

So whats the difference? Why are there so many surfboard traction pads? Are they all the same?

Basically all the traction pads are the same material construction. “Thermoformed EVA” is the technical term. The only differences are in the arches, kicks, basic contours and colors of the pads. Many pros surfers have designed “signature pads” with their favorite colors and arches. Just look at the arch contours and kicks on the pads and decide what you feel is the most comfortable. You may have to buy several pads to eventually find what suits you but once you discover the wonder of the traction pad you may never go back to wax on the back foot. They really do make a significant difference. Especially in shortboarding. But what about longboarding. Read on my friend…

Do they make traction pads for the whole board?

Back in the 80's it used to be cool to traction pad your entire shortboard. From nose to tail. Then people started to get the worst rash of their entire life, especially in warmer water when they didn't wear a wetsuit. Suddenly it was uncool to traction up past the back foot area of a shortboard and the trend has stuck ever since. You can still find some upper traction for shortboard but you will most likely get laughed at if you show up with it on your shortboard. But to each his own. As for the longboard, you are typically not putting pressure on the very tail of the board so it is not a common trend to place traction pads on the back of longboards. They still make traction pads for longboards, but they are not overly popular.

So how do I apply surfboard traction pad?

1. Simply peel off the back tape after you unwrap the pad from its package. This will reveal the sticky surface of the track pad. Most traction pads come in several pieces so you will want to spread out the pieces to fit the width of the board and your foot. Make sure you dont spread out the pieces too far. Just enough to create space to fill out the width area of your board.

2. Always make sure the surface is squeaky clean and apply the pads starting as far back to the leash plug of the surfboard as possible. The farther back the better. It is recommended you wait 24 hours before entering the water. Personally I have jumped right in after the application but if you choose to do this it is at your own risk.

Now that you have your super sick surfboard traction pad prepare to shred extra hard.

Shop our selection of Surfboard Tractions Pads

Marc Miller fro Isle Surf and SUP

About the Author -is the founding partner of Isle Surf & SUP an online retailer of paddle boards & surfboards. He has been involved in board manufacturing, product development and website management for Isle since its inception in 2004. He also writes the Isle Surf & SUP Blog. An avid surfer and paddler for the past 2 decades when hes not in the office he can be found on foreign shores searching for waves and fun.