Surfboard Traction Pad Buyers Guide (2020)

In a sport where grip and balance is everything, having a traction pad can be one of your most valuable pieces of equipment. A surfboard traction pad is such a simple addition to your board, but it can make all the difference with keeping your back foot firmly planted. 

If you are interested in developing a better stance and having way more stability when standing up, then a traction pad is a great idea. Without one, you could be sliding all over your board while on a wave. Let’s take a look into some of the best products out there, and how to choose the right one for your board. 

surfboard traction pads

What is a Surfboard Traction Pad?

Also known as surfing stomp pads, these are pieces of textured foam that you stick on the surface of your board. Generally, surfers will only put a single traction pad on the back where they place their rear foot. 

A traction pad provides a firm grip on what would otherwise be a wet and slippery surfboard. Surfers tend to prefer using a traction pad over wax, as it is so much easier and more reliable. You don’t need to reapply new layers like you do with wax, and you know that the pad is always in the perfect position. These pads come in different shapes, and use different ridges, holes and shapes to provide grip. 

They are also raised at the back. This helps the surfer to know exactly how far back to place their foot. Traction pads help with both a steady grip, as well as in guiding a surfer on where to hold their stance.

When Should You Use a Traction Pad On Your Surfboard?

If you want to stand up while riding a wave, then having a surfboard traction pad is a good idea. Sure, some surfers stick to just using wax, but having a traction pad provides so many benefits. 

These little grip pads make surfing easier and more enjoyable. They allow you to stand up faster, find your foot placement quicker, and aid in developing a stronger stance. If you plan on doing maneuvers and turns on the wave, then having a solidly planted back foot is a must. In this regard, a traction pad will provide plenty of value. Even if you just want to stand up and cruise, these pads will still come in handy. 

surfing blowtail

Surfboard traction pads are most commonly seen on shortboards. This is because there is less room to walk around on the board, so your stance is generally limited to a certain position. If you have a smaller board, a traction pad will help you to keep a solid position each time. 

You can’t really lose out with a traction pad, and so they are suitable for any surfing situation. As long as you are planning on standing up, finding your balance and riding a wave, then using one of these grip pads is a good idea.

What To Look Out For When Buying a Surfboard Traction Pad

Although these accessories may seem very simple, surfboard traction pads actually come in a pretty wide variety of different styles. This can make it tricky to decide which one to choose for your surfboard. Here are some important things to consider when looking at these pads. 

Different Construction Types

The first thing to decide on when buying one of these pads is what kind of construction you will choose. Traction pads come in various styles – from one piece all the way through to multi-piece. 

One-piece pads are easier to apply and can be easier to fit onto your board. However, the multi-piece options can be spread out in a way that works best for you. These will also have gaps between the grip pads – some surfers prefer this and others don’t. A big deciding factor here is the shape of your board’s tail and finding a suitable grip pad for it. 

man holding surfboard

You will also need to look at the kind of grip pattern which the pad provides. Different products offer different kinds of bumps, grooves, raises, and gaps. Understand just how much grip you want, and choose a style that works with your surfing. 

Materials

Like with any surf product, the kind of material used makes a big difference. Always consider what kind of rubber or foam is used for the pad. Certain materials react differently in the water, and you will want something that is completely solid and grippy when wet. 

Also, pay attention to the glue you will use and how to fit the pad on. This is one of the most crucial elements of these products.

Style

All surfboards are different, and you will need to get a traction pad that works with yours. These pads come in a wide range of colours, shapes, sizes, and styles. Make sure that the one you choose will work with the overall design of your board

10 Best Surfboard Traction Pads

Ready to upgrade your setup with a surfboard stomp pad? Check out our top 10 product picks below. 

Surf Gear Lab Traction Pad (Excellent value)

  • Strong adhesion
  • 3 piece pad
  • Larger pad (12 x 12 inches)
  • Mid-arch support

A classic design which is still one of the most popular types of traction pads to this day. It’s made from an eco-friendly EVA foam with an extruded traction system and uses the top-quality adhesive grip from 3M.

surf gear lab white traction pad

This pad is comfortable, super stable, and is perfectly designed for a wide variety of surfboards. Surfers that want to get the most out of their sessions will love this awesome traction pad. The pad comes in three colorways, namely, black, white and grey and black.

surf gear lab traction pads

Dakine Andy Irons Pro Model

  • Biodegradable EVA foam
  • 3 piece pad
  • 5mm centre arch
  • 20mm ramp tail kick

Dakine is a leading manufacturer when it comes to surf accessories, with a reputation of kitting out some of the biggest professional names in the industry. This surfboard traction pad was designed in tribute to the late Andy Irons, and it shows off some of the best quality materials that you could ask for. 

This pro model is made using Dakine friendly foam. This is a biodegradable EVA foam product, making it a great choice for the environment. The product uses a 3M high-grade adhesive to make sure that the grip pad is stuck down solidly. 

This model uses a 3 piece design with a classic diamond grip pattern. There is a slight rise in the centre of the pad, and a taller raised barrier at the back. This helps to guide your foot, and give you more control while surfing. 

andy irons surfboard traction pad

FCS T3 Surfboard Traction Pad

  • 3 piece pad
  • Double diamond groove and double square groove
  • Sanded surfaces
  • Hail tail kick

FCS has created a comfortable and grippy traction pad to make sure that you reach maximum speed, drive and performance while surfing. This pad usesà 3 piece construction with a well-designed system of holes and raised grooves. 

The grip comes from a combination of double square and double diamond grooves. These are raised pretty tall in order to provide maximum traction. The back of the pad has a steep rise for the hail tail kick. This helps with manoeuvring your board around. There is also a drop arch bar for added grip and support. 

fcs t2 surfboard traction pad

Channel Islands Parker Coffin

  • A 3 piece traction pad
  • 6mm arch pad
  • 32mm medium kick
  • Available in white or green camo

This 3 piece surfboard traction pad by Channel Islands looks and feel a little different to other 3 piece models. This product uses a design of 3 large strips of roughly equal size. These can be placed alongside each other as you please for a full area of grip. 

The pad uses a classic diamond pattern, with a couple of additional grooves thanks to a few slits cut into the material. This is a pretty straightforward design, as it is just flat until it reaches a 32mm lift at the lower end. The rest of the arch pad is 6mm. 

This product is available in either classic white or green camo, making it suitable for any board design.

channel islands traction pad

FCS T2 Surfboard Traction Pad

  • 2 piece pad
  • Coffin arch bar
  • Sanded surfaces for enhanced grip
  • Double diamond groove

This pad by FCS is all about providing a solid and widespread grip to any board. The 2 piece design covers a broad area and is easy to incorporate into any surfboard. Using a double diamond groove pattern, you get a thick layer of traction right across the surface. 

The pad is also made up of sanded surfaces to enhance the grip. On top of this, there are a few small holes to create even more grooves and bumps. Keeping a sturdy footing on this pad is easy. 

The design features a coffin arch bar and a raised hail tail kick. Superior materials are used here for durability as well as serious comfort. With a simple grey and black camo design, this pad will work well with practically any surfboard. 

fcs t2 surfboard traction pad

Creatures Of Leisure Griffin Colapinto

  • 3 piece pad
  • 28mm ramp kick
  • 7mm teardrop arch bar
  • Diamond Loc II pattern

This signature 3 piece traction pad by Griffin Colapinto is designed for serious traction and performance. Using 3 wide strips of pure grip, this pad covers a broad area on your board – allowing for easy stances and increased drive.

The traction pad uses a unique diamond pattern to create layers of texture and grip for the most slippery situations. There are also a couple of pinhole cutouts in the centre strip to increase friction. The pad features a teardrop arch bar of 7mm and a 28mm ramp kick at the back. 

The material used is a lightweight premium EVA formula, held on by 3M adhesive backing. With all of this, you get some seriously aggressive traction combined with a modern look. The pad is available in a classic black and white design, or a more colourful fade.

creatures traction pad

Sympl Surf Traction Pad

  • 2 piece pad
  • Fits all boards
  • Available in a range of colours
  • Ultralight EVA foam

Style and simplicity are used perfectly in this traction pad to create a product that performs as well as it looks. As the name of the brand suggests, there isn’t too much going on with this product. However, it provides deep textures grooves across the back of your board for some seriously enhanced grip. 

This traction pad comes in a convenient 2 piece design, and it can be applied to fit all kinds of boards and shapes. The grip is created through a diamond pattern enhanced by pinholes. This pad covers a broad area – supplying plenty of rear foot grip. 

One of the best things about this accessory is how good it looks. The pad is available in a range of basic colours – suitable for any kind of board.

sympl surf stomp pad

Dakine Luke Davis Traction Pad

  • 3 piece traction pad
  • 25mm vert wedge tail kick
  • 7mm centre arch
  • Biodegradable foam

Luke Davis is well known for his unique surfing style, and this signature pad was designed with this in mind. The 3 piece surfboard traction pad is thick, textured, and promises plenty of grip. It uses a diamond groove design, complimented by plenty of pinhole cutouts. 

For a more eco-friendly touch, the EVA foam is biodegradable. This is stuck on with marine grade 3M adhesive. It also looks great in either a simple black design or a more colourful option. 

This chunky traction pad has a 25mm tail kick to keep your back foot firmly planted. There is also a 7mm centre arch for added performance. The design is finished off with custom bevelled edges and localised cutouts to enhance the overall feel.

surfboard traction pad

Wave Tribe Cork Surfboard Traction Pad

  • Eco cork traction pad
  • Strong 3M adhesive
  • 2 piece pad
  • Diamond groove design

In order to reduce plastic use, this innovative product is made from cork. Cork is stronger than plastic, way softer on the knees, and it looks great! Of course, the best part of this is that it’s all-natural. 

This surfboard traction pad uses a simple diamond groove design for some solid widespread grip. With its lightweight, 2 piece design, the pad can be applied to any board in the exact way you want it.

cork surfboard traction pad

Channel Islands Yadin Nichol Traction Pad

  • 3 piece pad
  • 8mm arch
  • 36mm high kick
  • Slits in the arch

This signature design by Yadin Nichol offers a pretty unique traction pad. It is very soft to use thanks to the many slits in the arch across the entire surface. This pad uses a system of rectangular and diamond grooves to provide grip and support throughout. 

The 3 piece system is easily customisable depending on your comfort. The design also features a significantly raised high kick. Performance surfers will have loads of fun with this design. 

channel islands yadin nichol stomp pad

Channel Islands 4 Piece Surf Traction Pad

  • 4 piece pad
  • A completely flat pad
  • 28mm medium kick
  • Mixed groove technology

If you are after widespread grip then this is the pad to get. Channel Islands has created this 4 piece pad which is perfect for boards with extra-wide tails. The pad is nice and flat with mixed grooves – providing plenty of support for a solid stance. 

This pad may not be the best choice for high-performance shortboards, but for wider flatter boards its ideal. There is still a 28mm kick at the back though for additional support. 

channel islands surf phat pad

Where Can You Buy a Surfboard Traction Pad

These are simple accessories that can be utilised by all surfers. This means that traction pads are available at any decent surf shop, or basically anywhere that surfboards are sold. Surfboard traction pads are also easily available online – this can be the best way of finding the exact product that you may be after. 

Conclusion

In surfing, having a solid grip is essential. While traditional wax may work, getting a traction pad has so many more benefits. These simple accessories provide grip, support and help you to achieve the perfect stance. 

Traction pads are easy to bring into your surfing and are one of the simplest ways of enhancing your performance. Once you have one on your board, you can enjoy a lifetime of surfing without having to apply wax to that area again!

guy surfing on wave

FAQ’s 

Do I need a traction pad?

In surfing you always need grip, and a traction pad is one of the best ways of supplying this. You can opt for just wax, but these pads provide more benefits and are easier to use.

How do you put on a traction pad?

These pads come with special water-resistant adhesive. Simply stick them onto a clean and dry board and wait for them to dry. 

When should I use a traction pad?

A traction pad provides plenty of help and can be used by absolutely any surfer. Once you have one on your board, there is no situation where you wouldn’t need it again.

Should I use a traction pad on a foam surfboard?

No. Foam surfboards by virtue of them made from foam provide enough traction as it is. Therefore, there is nom need to put a traction pad on top.

How long do traction pads last?

They should last the lifespan of the board as long as they are looked after. I.e not scuffed up on rocks or left in the sun to degrade.

Add Comment