A surfboard traction pad, also known as a tail pad because it’s placed at the back-end or tail of a surfboard, helps you prevent your back foot from sliding, causing you to fall off your surfboard and into the water.
A popular alternative for a surfboard traction pad is surf wax. But if you want something that is easier to use and requires less effort, a traction pad is highly recommended.
The tail pad was introduced in the market in the 1980s by a brand named Astrodeck. Herbie Fletcher successfully convinced people to try this product since surf wax in the 1970s was the only trusted tool to avoid slipping from a surfboard. But when the surfboard traction pads were introduced, they elevated one’s surfing experience to another level.
Imagine yourself trying your best to walk on ice, and it gets so slippery, right? And even if you put much effort into it, you will never stay on your feet. The same thing goes with a surfboard without any grip. Rather than sliding off the waves, you will find yourself sliding off your board instead!
Surfboard traction pads come in various colors, but all of them are made from water-resistant, nonslip components to serve you. Your job now is to find the best one there is.
Top 10 Best Surfboard Traction Pads in Review
Here is a list of the best surfboard traction pads you can buy to give you a better surfing experience:
- Ho Stevie! Premium Surfboard Traction Pad
- Dakine Unisex Superlite Surf Traction Pad
- HexaTraction Clear Surf Grip
- Punt Surf Ripper Traction Pad
- Dakine John John Florence Pro Surf Traction Pad
- Dakine Surf Andy Irons Pro Pad
- Surf Squared Surfboard Traction Pad
- Astrodeck 124 OG Archy Traction
- BPS 8-Piece Tread Traction Deck Grip Pad
- ABAHUB 12 Piece Surf SUP Deck Traction Pad
If you are currently looking for a premium quality three-piece traction pad, then your go-to product is the Ho Stevie! Premium Surfboard Traction Pad. A lot of other brands would claim that they are durable, but to your disappointment, the adhesives attached to them do not give you a better grip.
Frustrating, isn’t it? The great news is using this wonder product gives you a better surfing performance since it is very grippy, allowing you to make cuts and turns smoothly.
It has a full-size pad which you can spread apart if you want a broader grip on your tail. With the middle arch supporting your foot firmly, you can easily maneuver your moves and be one with the waves. It is a versatile item with the only goal of giving you the highest satisfaction out of your surfing experience.
|Kick tail locks in your stance to give you a better form||Not as easy to install like other traction pad models|
|Has powerful 3M adhesive, making it super grippy||Only has one design|
|Compatible with almost all surfboards
|30-day return policy
Boasting its beveled corners, the Dakine Unisex Superlite Surf Traction Pad is made from high-quality materials that elevate the look of your surfboard, making it more comfortable for you to ride on.
This three-piece traction pad has a 25mm rolled ramp kick tail with beveled corners and a 7mm center arch. With its features, it gives more grip to the board, allowing you to enjoy your surfing adventure even more.
|Gives comfort and enhances the look of your surfboard||If not taken care of properly, the pad may start to peel
|Compatible with almost all types of boards
Throw that surf wax away because this is the answer you have been looking for! The HexaTraction Clear Surf Grip is the minimally abrasive and translucent traction that is your solution for all the mess surf wax have caused you!
This lightweight and thin traction pad is very easy to install with the use of hexagons! With a jig, the spaces for these hexagons are very consistent. No need for you to worry since paddling becomes more manageable with the nonaggressive nonskid structure this pad has.
|Only requires minimum adhesive for installation||Some people might find the grip not strong enough for the board
|Thin and lightweight||Adhesives may not be sticky enough|
|Effortless to apply on your surfboard||Relatively expensive
|Perfect wax alternative
|UV and heat resistant
If you want to have a durable and versatile traction pad which offers a money-back guarantee for their products, the Punt Surf Ripper Traction Pad is the product you might have been looking for all your life.
This three-piece traction pad does not only work for one specific type of skateboard, but it fits any surfboard and skimboard. This makes your fun surfing experience more possible with its diamond grooved performance EVA foam. !
Power through those cuts and turns with this lightweight pad made just for you. With its sturdy grip, plus the premium 3M adhesive used direct from the marine-grade and the source, this high-quality traction pad has a 10mm center arch and a 25mm kick tail.
Also, they come in various colors, too!
|Compatible with any surfboard||Lacks a cushion|
|Good for critical cutbacks and turns
|Installation is easy
|Lightweight and firm grip
Aside from gaining fun and memorable experiences, if your goal is to improve your form and get a better grip, the Dakine John John Florence Pro Surf Traction Pad will be your best friend!
This wonder product has been specially made to enhance the flow of water and reduce drag with its drilled holes. It also features an ultimately tough adhesive which strengthens the grip and firmly holds the pad in its proper position. You as a surfer can confidently make critical turns and pops without any hesitation at all!
Inspired by a very famous Hawaiian surfer, the creators of the Dakine John John Florence Pro Surf Traction Pad intended to make this item rock! Everything about this product is exceptional. The use of environment-friendly packaging from recycled paper with an incredible protective board bag is remarkable, and the firm, grippy traction is just perfect!
This model is a perfect representation that in surfing, one can step up his game.
|Provides a better grip and enhances your form while you are on the board||Only has one color combination
|Drilled holes enhance the water flow, which reduces drag||Quite expensive
|Designed to be environment-friendly|
|Quickly helps you maneuver turns
If you aim to maneuver those critical turns and spins properly, the Dakine Surf Any Irons Pro Pad is what you need.
This wonder product has been designed to give you an excellent grip, just like how a magnet does to iron. This traction pad has a 20mm kick tail and a 10mm center arch, which will give you the best surf performance of your life.
|Good for making cuts and maneuver critical turns properly||Comes in only one size and color only
|Provides a secure grip
#7. Surf Squared
In case you are searching for surfing traction pads that are made from EVA foam and are also super light in weight, this is your choice. They come with a diamond grip that will be helping you with the maneuvers. The traction pad edges have the 28 tail kick that has an advantage of reducing the drag and also provides the place for keeping the foot of the surfer locked. This will make sure that you don’t have to stress about the wave and slipping again and again.
Another feature is the 3M adhesive that the traction pads are made of, the best quality material will ensure that the pad does not come off from the board at any time. The company before launching any of the products works very hard and does numerous tests with professionals so that you won’t have to stress on anything. The Surf Squared has an amazing design that is arched and will be perfect for any surfboard. Also, the design helps the board to look very stylish and modern. It is a three-piece traction pad that will able to spread as per the requirement of the surfer. The dimension of the traction pad is 11.75 inches x 5 mm x5 mm.
|Because of the diamond surface, there are no drags||Only color option|
|Adhesive will last a long time without coming off
|Can easily fit on any surfboard
So this is one of the bets reviewed traction pad that you will find on Amazon. This specific model has got the best ratings from the users and the design of the pad is so wonderful that you might consider going for the purchase just based on it. It can be added to any surf pad and certainly, it will be adding a retro elegance as well. The product comes in 3 pieces and has an excellent hold once it sets into place. The grippy texture also makes sure that you are not slipping from the board at any time.
The high-quality glue with it also ensures that the traction pad securely stays as it is on the board. One thing that you can be sure with this traction pad is that the best material that it is made from will be ensuring that this product lasts for a long tie and is great for heavy usage. The company has been known for a long time for making good products that company takes pride upon, therefore in case you have any complains they offer a money-back guarantee.
Around eight percent of the customers have rated it as a 5-star product. The products overall perform well and are the perfect purchase if you are looking for something in a budget of around thirty dollars.
|Sticky traction pads ensure they stay in place||Uncomfortable for some surfers|
|Good quality traction pad|
|Sleek, nice design|
This specific traction pad has been manufactured for the use on SUP boards. The grip of the traction pad is grooved tread that sticks to the board amazingly. It also has provided shock absorption and also has no hindrances when it comes to movement restrictions of any kind. Once you use it you are going to realize the immense comfort it provides as it works well for paddleboards that are bit larger. The cushioning of the pad is great and even on the colder days, there is a feeling of warmth to the surfer. The grip of the traction pad helps to keep the foot firmly on the board and this will give you exceptional drive as well as speed.
The EVA foam of standard quality makes the traction pad ultra-light and is also anti-slip. The 3M adhesive is certainly for the ultimate grip as well. The dimensions of the traction pad are 75.5 inches x 24.5 inches. When it comes to installation this 8 piece pad is very easy and you can even customize it by using a craft knife.
|Lightweight and has shock absorption||Eight-piece variant comes only in black color option
|EVA foam makes it soft and has a good grip.||Relatively expensive|
|Comes with a premium quality adhesive 3M
This one is again a premium quality traction pad if you have been looking out for such specifications. There are 3mm diamond grooves all over the traction pad. This textured surface will be very helpful for your usage and making a grip on the board. As it comes in 12 pieces, one of the best things is that you will be able to cover the entire board with ease. The adjustment can be done where you can remove some of them in case your board is smaller or narrow towards the edges.
There is a tail kicker that it comes with and you can also trim the pieces as per your specific board requirements. When it comes to product quality as mention above this is the best that you can go for as it is made from EVA material of A grade. This traction pad has also used as a resin that is certificated and a marine-grade great quality 3M adhesive. The manufacturing process makes sure there is perfection and the stickiness is superb. The foam can absorb the shock and weight of the surfer. This will bring a reduction in any kind of fatigue in the legs and paddling becomes a lot easier for long distances. The company has such faith in its product that you get a “No Question Asked” guarantee for a complete refund or replacement in case you face any problems.
|3M adhesive assures great stickiness and is durable||Glue used isn't very effective|
|Offered in four different color variants|
|Great for longboards|
|Can be customized easily|
It must have been very clear by the above list that Ho Stevie! Premium Surfboard Traction Pad is without a doubt our top pick. The quality of the product is great and this is also the most cost-effective choice and can be compared to some of the way more expensive traction pads. Although the design is same you do get 2 color variants that seem cool!
Why Do You Need A Surfboard Traction Pad?
If you think that applying a surf wax on your board is too much work and is very tedious, the traction pad can help you solve your problem. These surfboard tail pads have contours, bumps, grooves, and curves that are suitable for your preference and comfort. Deck grips, another name for these traction pads, allow your rear foot to hold more grip and have control over the board.
Compared to surf wax, you do not need to make adjustments for maintaining a surfboard traction pad. You would not need to reapply it frequently or worry about the temperature of the water, or even be bothered if it is sticky or bumpy.
You need a surfboard traction pad if you want a hard-wearing grip. A tail pad has bumps that can last for a very long time, making it more efficient and less costly compared to a surf wax.
Surfboard traction pads do not only prevent you from slipping. It also allows you to have more excellent maneuverability and flexibility, especially if you need to make some critical turns.
Getting a surfboard traction pad makes surfing a much more fun experience for you!
Advantages of Using A Surf Traction Pad
People love surfboard traction pads because of the many benefits people can get out of them. I mean, who loves experiencing perks? Of course, we all do!
Here are some of the great things using a surfboard tail pad can do for you:
- Comfort for your foot since it is made from foam.
- Comes in different colors and designs.
- Low high maintenance.
- Not sticky and does need to be reapplied all the time.
- Allows you to make critical turns.
How to Choose the Best Surfboard Traction Pads
Now you know the purpose behind surfboard traction pads. The next step is to choose the right model to help you out.
Tail pads come in different shapes, brands, textures, and sizes, which means that the whole process of buying one for your surfboard is not going to be that easy.
Finding the right model is probably one of the most daunting things you would ever do when you decide to buy a tail pad. With the hundreds of surfboard traction pads in the market, it will be a struggle for you. Of course, you cannot just try one by one to know what model works for your best. That would take a lot of time and money. You would not want that, wouldn’t you?
To avoid yourself from doing this, the best solution is to choose the right surfboard traction pad there is. Here are the things you should take into consideration before buying a tail pad:
The Number of Pieces
Even if most surfboard traction pads are compatible with a lot of modern boards, they come in one up to five pieces. Although traction pads serve the same purpose, the pieces make a difference, which means you need to consider this when buying a traction pad.
Nowadays, you might have a hard time finding single piece traction pads since modern boards have larger arches now. But this type of tail pad is very durable and easy to install, making it a reliable item to buy. It is better to use for shortboard surfboards, those with a relatively narrow tail. However, it is very prone to air bubbles when installing so that it may have less board adhesion than others.
Two-piece pads were not used compared to the three-pieces. They do not have an arch, which is a crucial thing to consider in purchasing a surfboard traction pad. It does go well on a fish but comes only in a mellow kick.
Three-piece tail pads are the most recommended type of traction pad, as this is the easiest to install. It is widely used among surfers and has an excellent grip. It is very versatile that it is compatible with almost all surfboards.
Traction pads with five-piece grips are considered a three, plus two tabs that lie above the main pad, which adds more grip. Multi-pieces surf pads are great for all types of surfboards such as hybrid, fish, and funboards. The tail may vary based on the models.
The Surface of the Traction Pad
The texture of your surfboard traction pad matters, so you have to choose this correctly. The surface of the pad is essential since it provides the grip. The perforations and grooves, on the other hand, reduces the grip’s weight.
The texture of a pad can be grooved, squared, perforated, and diamond shape. The widespread type that you see in the market would be the diamond-shaped pattern.
The thing about traction pads is that you get to see a considerable difference between the cheap ones and the high-end products. Remember, quality matters. It affects the comfort and grip of the tail pads. High-quality surfboard tail pads have multi-layered grooves that will make your pad last for a long time.
Nowadays, single grooved tractions are very famous among some manufacturers, but usually, they are the cheaper ones.
When the grooves are deeper, the texture tends to get rougher, making the traction pads have maximum resistance against superior traction and slipping.
One of the essential design elements of a tail pad is the arch. When it comes to knowing the arch, you have to know your foot size since the variant of this element depends on this, and the kinds of movements you are planning to execute.
If you have a broad foot, a higher and longer arch is what you need to run your entire foot. If yours is smaller, a minimal arch would be the best option.
The kick measures the degrees in which the “kick” in the surfboard traction pad lies. It ranges from a smaller 20-degree kick up to a vertical kick.
When your kick is steeper, it would be easier for you to put your foot in its right position when you want to blow out a wave.
A 45-degree or a vertical kick is what you might need when you consider yourself as a performance rider. When you are using a retro board or a fish, the best choice would be a mellow or flat tail pad.
How to Apply A Surfboard Traction Pad
When you are already knowledgeable of what to consider in buying a surfboard traction pad, the next thing you should know is how to apply it in your surfboard.
Putting a tail pad may be a bit of a challenge, mainly if you are not yet used to it. But the great news is, you will figure out that it is effortless.
First things first, be sure that there is NO wax on your surfboard. If your board is new, get a cloth to wipe any fiberglass dust that might still be on the board. When it has wax on it, soften the wax by leaving it in the sun for a few minutes. Or you can pour hot water on the wax instead. Afterward, remove the wax from the board with a comb or other soft plastic edge, such as your old credit cards, and use a wax remover when you are done.
When it is winter, take a hair blower and set it in a LOW temperature. Use the blower until the wax is soft enough to remove. You have to wipe away all the bits of wax left on your board.
- Remove the cardboard backing by cutting the plastic on all sides of the surfboard traction pad, but make sure it stays together by leaving the pad in the plastic.
- Know where the traction pad should go and place it on the board. There are surfers how to prefer it to be placed right in front of the leash plug. Others put their pads in the rear kick-up ridge placed directly on the front of the centermost fin. When it is your first time applying a traction pad, the safest place to put your pad is the rear ridge on the center of the middle rear fin.
- Take note of the position of the pad by marking it off with your pencil. To get the pad in the center, make sure to use the stringer.
- Remove the adhesive paper on the pad, but do not let the glue get stuck in anything.
- Place the entire pad on the area where you have marked on your board.
- Hold the pad down for 20 to 30 seconds to keep the adhesive firm.
- Remove the plastic packaging where the pad was placed.
- Wait for a day before using your board. However, some people go into the water immediately. But if you cannot wait for a long time, 12 hours would be enough.
Finding the Right Surfboard Traction Pad
Before spending your money on a tail pad, please bear in mind that one surfboard might be great for one surfer, but it may not be the most suitable item for you.
Choosing a surfboard traction pad is just similar to buying clothes. You have to make sure that 1) it fits you, 2) you can use it for a long time, and 3) it is what you need. Traction pads come in various models, and just above, I have mentioned a list of products you may want to consider buying.
But if you feel like none of them suits you best, remember the guidelines on how to choose the best surfboard traction pad for you and you are on the right track!