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One of the first things you notice on a new surfboard is how smooth and slippery it is – well, it is new. A slippery surface is not what surfers want when they are ready to ride a wave, what they want is a good back foot grip on the surfboard. There are two methods to help the back foot grip the board better apply wax and the newer method, fixing a traction pad. Traction pads have been gaining popularity since the 80s and have become an important accessory to surfboards today.

Traction pads are also referred to as surfboard tail pads, stomp pads, or traction pads. To evaluate what it’s good for and if it’s worth your money, it’s important to understand the function of a traction pad and whether or not the accessory is of any value to the surfer to do better on the surf.

Surfboard tractions pads are made from water-resistant, non-slip material and are available in a range of colours, pieces, materials and styles. The lines, bumps and contours on the pad all do the same thing, provide a good surfboard grip. A traction pad indicates to the surfer about their foot placement on the surfboard. When a surfer is standing, they are focusing on where they are heading and what they are going to do next. When the foot comes into contact with the traction pad it signals to the surfer their stance is correct without having to check where the back foot is placed on the board, which can sometimes be a dangerous distraction. 


Every surfer knows the pain of waxing their surfboard, it is a necessary evil. With a traction pad, you can say goodbye to waxing your board, along with the messiness of melted wax all over your surf sock or vehicle. With a traction pad, you get a maintenance-free surfboard. Surfers who use a traction pad say the grip once installed is long wearing and last as long as the board. The Kicktail (raised piece at the back of the pad) is the perfect answer to keeping your back foot from sliding too far back allowing you greater control and manoeuvrability of your board.


If you are a beginner, pay attention to the placement of the traction pad. It would be wise to get some help and advice. Once you have pasted the traction pad, removing it for adjustments can be difficult. The same is true if you want to switch up your traction pad for something else because removing a traction pad is a nightmare, so think through your choice carefully before pasting it. Another con is the claim that the Kicktail can cause damage to your toes, but this would depend on your style.

If you are a beginner, look for a traction pad that has less traction. Because your foot placement is still evolving with your skill level you will need the ability to adjust your foot placement till you eventually find the position that works best for you.

Duane Dixon