Installing surfboard traction pads: details matter | Photo:

Traction pads are a key part of the surfers' quiver. Installing new surfboard grip requires attention to detail, so that you don't blow your investment.

Surfboard traction pads can only be applied once. If your surf deck comes with a quality stick - traditionally 3M self-adhesive - it will stay firmly fixed to your board forever. You do not want it to peel off in the first surf session.

When you've finally decided to install a brand new traction pad, make sure to follow a few cautious steps. First of all, let's forget a couple of myths: you don't need to sand the board before applying the pad; and you don't need to wait 24 hours before you get to the waves.

Now, let's do it. You will need tissue paper, glass/hard surface cleaner or wax remover, and a knife. First of all, remove all dirt, dust and wax by cleaning the tail of your board with glass cleaner and paper towels. Once clean, the surface will be ready to receive the traction pad's glue.

Now, cut the plastic around your new surf deck if you want to keep the manufacturer's original shape. Some surfers like to spread the pads a bit. That's ok, too.

Line up the pad before attaching it to the surfboard. You want to put the grip just a little bit above the leash plug.

Peel off the backing sticker and align the center of your traction pad with the stringer. Don't push it down too much, in case you need to make a few adjustments. Once you've stuck it down, it's tough to pull the pad back up.

If you've got a three-piece traction pad, leave little gaps between all pads. Once you've finished, and if you're happy with the final result, push everything down firmly to get that glue working between the deck and the surfboard.

Finally, leave your magic gun resting for two-to-four hours, and hit the surf. Discover the best traction pads in the world.