T he surf pad is the essential accessory for all shortboards. Also called surfboard grip, its main function is to provide better grip on the foot. It also serves as a guide to know where his rear foot is located. The surf pad is to be glued to the back of the surf (the tail). Attention it is self-adhesive; you must be precise during the installation because you will no longer be able to remove it.
History of the surf pad
Before sharing our precious tips with you, let’s take a look back to find out about the birth of the surf pad. Indeed, the surf grips did not always exist and it was not until the second half of the 1970s that the first surf pads were created.
We owe this innovation to Herbie Fletcher and Tom Morey. If the latter was the first to present the surf pad, it was Herbie (The father of the Fletcher tribute and notably Christian Fletcher) who marketed the surf pad worldwide with his company Astrodeck.
”We were the kids surfing in Hawaii, Huntington, we only had paraffin for the grip, you know, candle wax, and it gets slippery quickly, especially in cold waterHerbie FletcheSurf Legend
How to choose your surf pad ?
After this little introduction to the history of the pad let’s see the essential characteristics of the pads. Many models exist. Even if the surf pad does not look like it, it is an accessory that has many technical characteristics. We will give you the different characteristics that can influence your choice and their usefulness when practicing your favorite sport: surfing of course!
1. Kick tail of the pad
The kick tail is the raised part at the back of the pad. It is mainly used to prevent your back foot from slipping during heavy maneuvers. There are different sizes, the thicker the kick tail the more you can wedge your foot in your radical maneuvers. There is not really an ideal thickness, it depends on the tastes of each surfer but a big kick tail will be useful only for surfers of good level.
2. Arch bar
The Arch bar is the center part of the pad, it can be a little thicker depending on the pads. Some pads do not have an arch bar. It allows to stick a little more at the level of the arch of the foot. A smaller foot will need a thinner Arch bar than a larger foot.
3. The area of the pad
The area represents the width and the length of the surf pad. Characteristics to take into account because your pad must adapt to the tail of your surfboard. You will therefore need to take the dimensions of your tail in order to choose the most suitable surf pad.
4. The number of pieces on a surf pad
Surf pads can consist of several pieces. Thus the arc bar, the tail and other elements can be separated. Once all the pieces are glued your grip will take shape. The advantage of having several pieces is to be able to adapt the area of your pad to your tail by spacing and orienting the elements more or less.
5. Texture of the surf pad
The texture represents the surface of the pad, it can be of different shapes: square, diamonds, grooves, perforated – you name it! The texture allows to bring an additional grip but also to reduce the weight of the pad. The equality of the materials acts directly on the comfort and grip of the pad.
6. The design and color of the grip
Finally, the characteristic not to be overlooked, the design of the pad. It depends a bit on everyone’s taste but color and design will be essential for many of us. And yes, the color must be perfectly consistent with the leash and the decoration of the board if it exists! Unfortunately, this last point will not really have an impact on your surfing level. 😉