Traction pads, also known as “deck grips” or “deck pads”, are an alternative to the surf wax that surfers use to add grip to their surfboards and prevent their feet from slipping. Traditionally made of EVM foam, surfers attach these traction pads to the deck of their surfboards. Traction pads are generally used exclusively on the tail of the surfboard (known as back pads), however, it is also possible to use platform grips for the front foot. A deck platform configuration with rear and front traction pads is known as a “full platform grip”.
Traction pads are not essential for riding a surfboard, however, many people prefer to surf with them. Before their invention, surfers exclusively used surf wax, which is more than adequate, however, traction pads offer a number of advantages (we'll talk about this in a minute). Traction pads or wax? Which is better? OK, I've seen a rather strange placement of traction pads in my time, and poor placement is the hallmark of eccentricity in this sport. The placement of a front traction pad serves two purposes.
There are a few different traction pad designs that can influence your decision about which one is right for you. At the end of the day, traction pads are “so many”, if you ask me. Take a pencil and, without removing the adhesive cover, place the traction pad on the surfboard. Make sure it is aligned in the center of the board's spar and make sure that the pad is as far back as possible above the rear flap.
The traction pad goes much further back than you might expect. Don't be like the guy from Craigslist who put the traction pad 6 to 10 inches ahead of the tail. Place it just in front of the strap stopper and above the rear flap in a propellant configuration. The back of the traction pad dictates how far back you can put your back foot.
Your back foot is where you pivot from when you turn. If you're too advanced, good luck trying to spin. Keep in mind that when it comes to traction pads, there's no one size fits all. Depending on your purpose and the size of the board you use, you'll have to choose different pads.
For example, if you're an artist, you'll need a pad with a 45- to 90-degree kick. Whereas, if you're driving a retro board, you'll only need a flat back pad. OK, I've seen a rather strange placement of traction pads in my time, and poor placement is the hallmark of eccentricity in this sport. However, if you want something eye-catching, besides a spray or a strap, the traction pad is one of the few places where you can show your individuality.
Not only do you get help with foot placement, but you can also say goodbye to summer rashes on your legs and knees that occur on the top of the traction pad, since the corduroy upper section is less abrasive. However, if you have trouble positioning your foot, you may have difficulty with this grip, as your foot may slip to the back of the pad. The truth is that everything depends on personal preferences, since most people opt for an exclusive back cushion configuration, with wax on the rest of the table, but there is nothing right or wrong. The Owen Wright Signature Series uses diamonds that are wider and flatter than many other traction pads.
Whenever you're lucky enough to buy a new board, you'll have the pleasure of also treating yourself to a new traction pad (and maybe a strap). However, if you move your foot while surfing, you don't always have your foot completely backwards, or you just have flat feet, you might think of a pad without a raised arch. If you've ever been to a store to buy a new surfboard, you've noticed how slippery the board is. There are a lot of colorful options available, but for me that's really distracting when it comes to the basic function of a traction pad.
Little by little, remove the adhesive tape, stick the pad to the board and apply a lot of pressure, taking care to prevent air bubbles from forming in the process. The cross-shaped grip isn't as “sticky” underfoot as the diamonds on many of the top pads, but they're much easier to wax. It's easier to feel where your back foot is in relation to the board when you can see that your foot is outside the traction pad, on the traction pad, or if it has crashed into the kick lifted off the pad. It's important to note that the products come from a reliable source that hasn't stored them for a long time in a warehouse, causing the adhesive on the traction pad to expire or not work as expected.
Ideally, you need a pad with deeper grooves and a rough texture, as it will provide you with maximum grip and reduce the chances of slipping. .