Surf traction pads: get a grip

Surfboard traction pads were introduced in the surfing world in the 1980s by the famous surf brand Astrodeck.

Traction pads were marketed as a successful business by the iconic Herbie Fletcher, after Slipcheck, a solution presented earlier by Tom Morey, which failed to address a global clientele.

Until the late 1970s, surf wax was the only way of avoiding slippery surfing performances while cutting back a perfect wave. Traction pads were invented to set a new relationship between surfers and their boards.

Fletcher developed his traction pad gear in his lab by testing several options and sold the first decks in his surf shop. In the second half of the 1970s, the traction pad formula had been upgraded. The polyurethane leaves had glue and tape, multiple colors, patterns and iconic surf sayings.

"I looked at it as the last part of my shaping job by adding kicks, arches and different surface patterns for ultimate grip and control, until the designs evolved into the patented multigrid lock high-performance footpad of today," explains Herbie Fletcher in Astrodeck.com.

The Astrodeck was a symbol of the surf culture, and the 1980s surfers loved it. In some cases, surfers opted for using traction pads under their feet and left wax on the shelves. The surfboard traction pad fever cooled at the end of the 1990s but never disappeared completely.

The modern traction pads have been upgraded and are ready for critical maneuvers. Surf decks are made of Thermoformed EVA and offer different kicks, arches, colors, and contours.

Upper traction is not trendy anymore, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't test it. If it's good for your surf, that's great. If you're going to buy a good surfboard traction pad, check the quality and flexibility of the deck, and then pick your favorite design.

The quality of the tape/glue is paramount, but make sure your surfboard is completely cleaned up before applying it. Wait 24 hours and hit the waves.

 

Astrodeck 808 John John Florence

Astrodeck 808 John John Florence

A super grippy, three-piece, multicolored traction pad that will keep your back foot planted.

Buy: Amazon.com

 

Creature of Leisure Mick Fanning Signature

Creature of Leisure Mick Fanning Signature

A three-piece model with no dye cut holes for reliable all-over traction. Also features 28mm table top kick, 3M adhesive backing, and a lightweight premium EVA formula.

Buy: Amazon.com

 

Dakine Indy Surf

Dakine Indy Surf

A three piece traction pad featuring Dakine's proprietary combination of custom grid pattern and EVA foam blend. Stays grippy in cold waters, and won't rub your knees raw in warm water.

Buy: Amazon.com

 

Famous Surf F3

Famous Surf F3

Famous' best selling traction pad is a classy and simple three-piece design featuring a contoured arch, a 27mm kick tail, and a ultra waterproof adhesive.

Buy: Amazon.com

 

FCS Traction Essential Series T-3

FCS Traction Essential Series T-3

A three-piece pad with sanded surfaces for enhanced grip, ultra thin sensitivity, and lock-in directional grooves.

Buy: Amazon.com

 

Gorilla Mojo Black

Gorilla Mojo Black

A three-piece, high-performance shortboard traction pad with side panel cut-outs. The high profile, well-spaced diamond shaped groove allows your foot to fit into the voids, locking it in place.

Buy: Amazon.com

 

Stay Covered 4WD

Stay Covered 4WD

A three-piece, low-profile "Y" cut tail pad featuring a four-direction diamond groove that allows your foot to move on the pad when needed and grip once pressure is applied in all directions.

Buy: Amazon.com

 

Sticky Bumps Dave Rastovich

Sticky Bumps Dave Rastovich

A two-piece pad with no center arch. Dave Rastovich's signature clean and simple grip system features a 26mm flat top kick tail. 

Buy: Amazon.com


The surfboard traction pad review has been updated on February 1, 2018.

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