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yelow surfboard with TikiGrip grip tape applied. Great alternative to surf wax! Featured
yelow surfboard with TikiGrip grip tape applied. Great alternative to surf wax!

What Is Surf Wax?

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What is surf wax?

Surf wax is applied to the top of a surfboard, and it’s sole purpose is to keep you from slipping off your board. It’s for traction, grip, and NEVER on the bottom for speed (as with snow ski’s). Surf wax has been the go-to surfboard grip product since the 1950’s, though it has evolved a bit; New surf wax is stickier, bumpy, and easier to apply.

The problem is, wax is still a big mess. Surf wax gets all over clothes, car seats, and the bottom of any board that stacks on top of it. Wax melts in the sun, and chips off in the cold. It picks up sand, dirt and grime. It has to be scraped off and replaced every few months. When re-applying wax, the temperature has to be just right or it becomes a gooey mess that won’t stick to the board. Surf wax is also temperature specific, so the first thing you have to do when you arrive in Tahiti is scrape off and replace your cold water wax.
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Front Grip Making a Comeback

From April 2016 on SurfersVillage.com

Great article on how stupid we’ve been 🙂

“Ian Battrick of Lunasurf – who were early proponents in the resurgence of the pads – is pragmatic in his appreciation of the pads, saying they’re not just for big airs.

“Front foot traction is a simple solution to a lot of things,” says Battrick. “From front foot and back foot denting, to never ever waxing your board again. No more melting wax in the sun going all over your car, the inside of your boardbag or wherever. No more waxing and de-waxing for different water temperatures or trips. Apart from being lighter, grippier, easier, it saves you a lot of time, just grab your board and go surf.”

Battrick posed the question: “If Slater won the next comp on a front foot pad, how many full grip converts would you suddenly see?”

Battrick makes a good point. But there is one world champ ready to peel-and-stick a front foot pad on his next quiver.

“I loved them back in the day,” says Barton Lynch. “I stopped using deck grip after being dropped by Gorilla Grip many years ago. I have just inked an agreement with Komunity to release a full-deck grip and tail pad, so yes I will be riding them again. So great to hear it is coming back around.”

Jaz Kaner holding a Hypto Krypto surfboard with TikiGrip applied
Jaz Kaner holding a Hypto Krypto surfboard with TikiGrip applied

Surfboard Traction Guide

Tail pad cost

Expect to pay between $20 and $50 for a typical tail traction pad.

  • Best to buy it and apply it when you buy the board, before you apply any surf wax.

Applying a tail pad – position of the tail/stomp pad

  • A common mistake is to apply your tail pad too far forward! This is the mark of a kook (sorry 🙂 For most boards, the tail traction pad goes just in front of the leash plug, a few inches from the tail. This is because the tail foot position is so critical in performance surfing. If you watch the pros, you’ll notice the back foot is usually centered just behind or over the side fins.

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