Should you install traction pads on your skimboard? Do they provide any benefits or is it an expense that you can afford to be without?
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What are Skimboard Traction Pads?
Traction pads are non-slip pads that attach to your skimboard. They prevent your feet from slipping and provide extra grip when the board is wet. They are relatively inexpensive but can make a huge difference.
Do You Need a Traction Pad on a Skimboard?
You don’t need traction pads on your skimboard, but they’re there if you want them. They’re an accessory, so they will work for some people but not others.
Some skimboarders prefer to use wax, which offers many of the same benefits.
Others prefer traction pads and wax. As with any other accessory, it’s a matter of personal preference.
Are Arch Bars Needed For Skimboards?
The arch bar is a strip that runs down the center of the board and supports your front foot. The traction pad is for your back foot while the arch bar is for your front foot. Most traction pads contain both the tail pad and the arch bar and as they support both of your feet, they’re definitely a worthy investment.
Where To Apply Skimboard Traction Pads
There are two parts to a traction pad: the pad itself and the arch bar. You can place these wherever you want, but the traction pad is most typically placed on the tail of the board while the arch bar is placed several inches from the tip.
Do You Need To Wax A Skimboard?
You should always wax your skimboard. Surfboard wax is very cheap and applying a little to your board can make a massive difference, so it’s worth performing this extra step. They are much cheaper than traction pads so they may be more of a viable option for some riders.
How To Attach a Traction Pad
Traction pads are very easy to install, but it’s worth taking a little extra care over this step to ensure they stay put.
First, apply some alcohol to a cloth and clean your board to remove old wax.
Cut out a piece of tape and place it in the center of the board toward the rear. This tape serves as your guide when attaching the tail pad and arch bar, making sure they are placed centrally.
Place the traction pads on the board and mark the shape with a pencil to make sure they fit perfectly and feel right. When you’re convinced that they are in the right position, remove the adhesive backing on the traction pads and press them onto the board.
Place a weight on top of the traction pads and leave them for 24 hours before removing the weight and taking your board out for a test ride.
Wax Vs Traction Pads On A Skimboard
Many surfers recommend using both skimboard traction pads and surfboard wax to provide maximum grip. As long as you have the funds and feel comfortable, there’s no reason why you can’t use both.
Both surfboard wax and traction pads will give you extra grip and provide more of a comfortable ride. The main difference is that the traction pads are sturdier and may protect your board against bangs and dings.
The traction pads will also help you with foot placement if you’re a beginner. It helps to be able to feel where your feet are and know where they should go.
What are the Best Skimboard Traction Pads?
If you have decided that traction pads are right for you, check out the following options. All of these traction pads are currently available on Amazon and are some of our personal favorite options.
Skimboard Traction Pad 5-Piece
This is one of the best skimboard traction pads currently available in the Amazon store. Not only does it have the usual three-piece tail pad, but there is also a front arch bar and another thin strip.
It comes in three different color options and should fit any skimboard. If you want a complete traction pad set up for a relatively low cost, you can’t go much wrong with this option.
Dakine Bruce Irons Pro Surf Traction Pads
Dakine is a top brand and one that is responsible for many great surfing products, including these heavy-duty and highly-durable grip pads. They come in plastic-free packaging and feature EVA foam, making them a little more eco-friendly than some of the other traction pads on the market.
Surfboard Traction Pad from Punt Surf
A low-cost and high-quality set of skimboard traction pads made from EVA foam and available in several different colors.
These traction pads are lightweight but strong, and the 3M adhesive will ensure they remain on your board for many skimming sessions.
There are 3 pads in each set, including a tail pad and arch pads, allowing you to set your preferred positioning based on the size of your board and your personal preference.
Sympl Surfboard Traction Pad
These traction pads have a unique design and will help you to stand out. They are advertised as surfboard traction pads, but they work with skimboards, as well.
Santa Barbara Surfing SBS Front Traction Pads
These SBS traction pads can be placed in a variety of positions and ways, giving you the perfect skimboard traction pad setup. They are light, thin, and strong, and they also feature a one-year guarantee. Considering how affordable these traction pads are, that’s a pretty impressive guarantee.
Oceanboard Surfboard Traction Pad with Arch Bar
A three-piece set that includes a tail pad, arch bar, and kicker, all of which are attached via a strong 3M adhesive. There are several color options available for these traction pads and they work with a variety of boards, including most skimboards.
Surf Squared 3-Piece Traction Pad
There are several options to choose from here, including arch pads, flat pads, and front pads. They are suitable for all surfboards and skimboards and promise “pro performance” and a ride that is completely free of surf wax.
Summary: Using A Skimboard Traction Pad
A skimboard traction pad is a great alternative to skimboard wax, as well as something that works well with skimboard wax. They provide more grip on a wet board and deliver the ultimate riding experience for skimmers who really want to push themselves.
As noted above, these pads are relatively inexpensive. They’re certainly not as cheap and easy as surf wax, but you can get a very good tail pad and arch bar for less than $30 and it will last just as long as a block of board wax.
Check out the traction pads above, see if anything catches your eye, and add traction pads to your board the next time you hit the beach!