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Surfing Traction Pad Guide: Costs, Sizes, Styles and more

Everyone loves extra grip on their back foot.


That’s when traction pads come into play.


The traction pad started booming in the 80s, when surfers were covering their entire boards in neon colored traction pads.


The surfing community never looked back, of course nowadays most surfers just place a pad on the tail of their board for extra grip and support.


With so many options on the market, we'll break down the best ones.





Why Do You Need a Traction Pad?

Have you ever tried to rip a gnarly turn on a flawless section just for your foot to slip off the tail on your less than optimal waxing job?


Then you should be in the market for a good stomp pad.


Traction pads offer a ton of extra grip so you can finally complete that vicious turn or launch an air with ease.

It also helps a lot with your foot placement, which can be pretty tricky on a high performance thruster.

What Should You Look For in a Traction Pad?

Grip

The first thing you should look for when purchasing a traction pad is grip.


Every traction pad is different and depending on your needs there is something out there for you.


For extra grip, look for something with an arch bar and a more severe foam pattern.


An important feature of the stomp pad is the kick design.


A more vertical kick design will prevent your foot from sliding off the board.





Cost

Stomp pads usually range around $30-$50.


Depending on your needs it might be more expensive but for most part you get what you pay for when purchasing a traction pad.


Style

There are plenty of colorful stomp pads for those that want something like that but for the most part traction pads are more about practicality than they are about style.


A black or white stomp pad will look best on any board and doesn’t draw too much attention.


The Best Traction Pads Today


DaKine Traction Pad

DaKine’s Andy Irons Pro Surf Traction Pad is a classic traction pad with some great features.


The tail pad is made of 100% biodegradable foam and has a diamond shaped grip that is comfortable but still adds plenty of grip.


It also has a pretty gradual center arch and a 20mm tail kick design that allows your foot to stay in place without being too uncomfortable.


It’s also a pretty simple design and comes in black or camo and is priced at $45.00.

You can purchase this traction pad here.


FCS Traction Pad

FCS is known for its extremely grippy traction pads.


The FCS T-3 Traction pad is no exception.


The pad has a pretty severe square foam pattern across that provides for a ton of grip.


The first few surfs might be a little uncomfortable but it can definitely be broken in.


It also has a nice arch bar in the middle and holes throughout the foam for added grip. This pad comes in at $55.00.


You can purchase this traction pad here.

CI Traction Pad

You can never go wrong when purchasing a Channel Islands product and their traction pads will look great on their boards.


Their Mixed Groove 3 Piece Arch Traction Pad is a perfect stomp pad.


It has a classic diamond groove pattern on the foam and a gradual kick design and foot arch. It comes in white so it will be barely visible on your board.


This tail pad comes in at $44.00

You can purchase this traction pad here.


Octopus Traction Pad

Octopus has been reimagining the stomp pad in the past few years.


The Mikey February design is innovative yet incredibly simple.


It provides a pretty light grip with a corduroy foam design and has zero arch.


The kick is pretty average but it keeps your foot on the board.


This traction pad is definitely for surfers who really don’t even want a traction pad because of its lack of features. It’s priced at $48.00

You can purchase this traction pad here.


Ballet Traction Pad

A rather unknown surf company, Ballet’s expertise is traction pads.


Their Anti-Slip Pro Pad is a really great design and offers a ton of grip.


It has a square groove foam pattern across the pad and features a pretty severe middle arch and kick design.


Since Ballet is a small company you know you’ll get a quality piece of equipment made with lots of care. The Ballet Anti Slip comes in at $64.95.

You can purchase this traction pad here.




Traction Pad FAQ

Q. What is a tail pad for in surfing?

Extra grip on a surfer's back foot that traditional wax can’t provide.


It’s usually made out of foam and has a groove pattern across the face so they are extremely non-slip.


Q. Do you need a tail pad for surfing?

Not necessarily. However it helps a lot in high performance surfing.


Most turns and maneuvers rely on the back foot so if you don’t have stability in that foot it could ruin your wave.


Q. Where do you put a tail pad when surfing?

On the tail of the surfboard. Make sure it doesn’t go over the rail or tail and stays on the deck of the board.


This could totally ruin the flow of water on your rail and wreck your speed.


Q. How far back should a tail pad be on a surfboard?

Right against the tail but again make sure it doesn't go ever the tail, you do not want to mess with the flow of water under the deck of your board.


Q. What are surf traction pads made of?

Usually some sort of biodegradable foam. This foam is usually really grippy and water proof.


Traction Pads: The Bottom Line

The traction pad isn’t glamorous and it might even ruin the look of your brand new board but put all aesthetics beside and think practically.


Traction pads are extremely practical and provide a ton of grip for surfers looking to rip some turns or launch some airs, so hopefully you got a grasp of the best options on the market.





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