One of the best things about skimboarding is the freedom of grabbing your board and heading out into the ocean.
Simplicity at its best.
But if you’re anything like us, it’s easy to get caught up in your excitement for skimboarding that you forget to pack your wax.
Without a proper grip, your board becomes so slippery that it feels impossible to stay on atop your skimboard and keep a firm grip.
Lucky for you, there’re a few solutions you can implement to add the much-needed grip to your skimboard.
One of our favorite methods is using a skimboard traction pad.
Also known as a traction mat, a traction pad offers an effective way to add permanent grip to your skimboard.
They’re by far much more effective than the skimboard wax – and provide the means to cut down considerably on your regular wax use. Instead, once affixed to a skimboard, they’re difficult to remove.
More importantly, they provide the necessary support, balance and grip to provide you with the foundation you need for catching waves.
They’re also a great option for beginners as they show them where to stand on the board when they’re first starting to learn where they should stand.
Now, to help you on your quest to find a traction pad that’s right for you, we’ve created a comprehensive guide of the best skimboard traction pads in the market. Whether you’re a rookie or expert skimboarder, there’s a pad out there for you!
In a Hurry? Here's Our Choice!
We choose the Punt Surf Ripper as our winner for the best skimboard traction pads.
This traction pad ticks on all the boxes for traction pads and comes with everything skimboarders would need for an incredible performance.
It’s solid, offering sufficient support, yet, it remains cushy enough for a comfortable feet experience.
More importantly, it comes with a wonderful grip and will not let you slide off the board. It keeps your feet firmly supplanted on the ground and is handy when catching waves or sliding your board.
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The Best Skimboard Traction Pads For The Money
#1 Punt Surf Ripper Traction Pad - EDITOR'S CHOICE
If you’re looking for a high-quality skimboard traction pad that can be customized to fit any board, then this 3-piece offering from Punt Surf might just be the pad for you.
The Punt Surf Ripper comes in a large square and is designed to fit any skimboard or surfboard. You simply need to trim this piece down to the exact shape you need; spread the piece out for the wider boards, or put the pieces together for the narrower ones.
Utilizing a lightweight EVA foam with a diamond-shaped grove and 3M adhesive, this traction mat offers maximum stick and never comes off the board; it’s meant to last for the life of your skimboard.
EVA has a wonderful grip, ensuring you’re firmly planted on the board. It gives you control and allows to concentrate more on the wave and sliding than on slipping.
The foam also has a soft feel, but not so much that it feels squishy or any less solid. Instead, it offers solid support, giving riders the confidence they need to push the tail.
This traction pad is also designed for a solid grip, and the nice solid arch feels right just under your feet. However, some users complained the arch is too high and aggressive, but that isn’t enough to stop them from getting the Ripper.
Punt Surf Ripper’s dimensions are on the smaller end of the spectrum, measuring 10 ½ x 11 ¾. It’s an issue for users with larger board users, but with the ability to customize, you can stretch out if you’ve a larger board.
The other thing we loved with the Ripper is that it’s designed to last. As a matter of fact, the manufacturer of a 100% money-back guarantee promises that their pads will last on the back forever. Or they refund your money, no questions asked.
Plus, the Ripper is dirt cheap, and as a proud member of 1% for the Planet, Punt Surf donates a portion of every sale to no-profits dedicated to protecting the environment.
The bottom line is the Punt Surf Ripper seems to be great but for any water sports enthusiasts. The fact that these tail pads can be used on literally any board is a plus.
Secondly, they deliver unmatched comfort on any board, a great compliment to the products.
#2 Ho Stevie! Premium Surfboard Traction Pad - Premium Traction Mat
Ho Steve Traction Pads promises to bring you the best experience, thanks to a premium quality that won’t let you down.
Possessing all the best features a traction mat can offer, this pad deserves a place on our list of the best skimboard traction pads.
It’s a great pick and not expensive, so a wonderful alternative to the higher-priced brands.
Performance-wise, it has a nice feel to it, a moderate center arch, and a kicks tail to enhance gliding better.
And as with our top pick, the Surf Ripper, Ho Stevie comes as a 3-piece offering. These full-size traction pads are meant to work for any board, whether skimboard or surfboard.
Plus, the traction pads are available in different styles and colors, including aqua, aqua with palm, and black. To sum it up, you always find a design pad design that matches your board, or even one that portrays your personality.
Comfort is the name of the game with Ho Stevie. This pad comes flush with a host of nice additions that lets you place your feet wherever they’re needed most. For example, a middle arch supports you, while a kick-tail allows the surfer to lock you in place while catching those waves.
Worried about losing control, and taking a fall?
You don’t have to, as these mat pads are made of high-quality EVA foam. It’s a nice choice of material that is not only durable but has a super strong grip that keeps you firmly on the board even in all the wetness.
Yet, the pad feels so luxuriously soft and buttery and won’t scratch your knees when surfing.
On top of it, the pad has a powerful 3M adhesive that ensures the pad will stick and that it won’t come off your skimboard. The adhesive ensures the stickiness of your traction mat to your board and helps you avoid slipping while maintaining balance as you skimboard.
Ho Stevie believes in their board so much that they offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee within 30 days of purchase. If you’re not happy with their product, they promise to refund your money; no question asked.
Overall, the Ho Stevie is a great board. It looks great, and unlike other pads within its price range, it doesn’t show any signs of wear or peeling or pads coming off the board.
It’s comfortable to use, too, with the ergonomic bumps offering a good amount of arch support for making ergonomic stances.
The skimboard pads seem worthy and easy to use.
#3 Dakine John John Florence Pro Surf Traction Pad - Extra-Grippy Pad
Dakine knows how to make extra-grippy skimboard pads, and their John John Florence Traction pad isn’t any different.
It delivers plenty of texture, including cut-outs and has an awesome grip that will keep you firmly placed on the board.
The biggest draw to the Dakine Florence is how spacious the traction mat is. This 5-piece offers a huge space for any surfer to put their back foot. Whether you’re trying to push through turns or shuffle your foot forward when pumping, you can trust not to slip off.
Dakine traction pads are durable too. If the reviews are anything to go by, Dakine doesn’t peel up after a while around the edges. The pads remain strong and will take a beating without wearing as the cheap options do.
While at it, they remain grippy, and this is probably their strongest suit. I love this 5-piece Dakine locks into my front foot like no other. All the components, including the center arch, vertical wedge tail kick, and triple cut grip, are extremely sticky even in mid-air, so you’re not going to slip off the back unless something drastic happens.
Moreover, the skimboard pads are made with a strong adhesive to keep the pads secure and in place. They’re built with performance in mind, and if you’re keen, you’ll notice the holes within the pad. They’re useful in reducing water drag, helping in increasing your speed, and ease of performing tricks.
The kicktails have also been raised, and at 2 inches, they’re nearly double the size of other options. The increased size helps with extra grip and stability when riding the waves.
John Florence traction pads are also larger than other options and will cover most of the board. Besides offering extra coverage, they provide riders with the ultimate grip for pushing the limits on the wave. The pads offer super gripping traction, and the team at Dakine uses less packaging to keep the environment clean.
Another huge draw to the Dakine John Florence is that research has gone into developing the design. Personal feedback from JJ Florence has been used to customize the traction mat for peak performance. Now, remember JJ Florence is one of the best surfers in the world, and what is good for him will certainly be good for you too.
And it’s easy to see that because the Dakine Traction pad has received positive reviews, with many reviewers noting how great quality the board is.
Overall, this traction pad seems like a great and value buy, offering a lot, especially in terms of performance, ease of use, and lightness. I would definitely recommend it.
#4 Surf Squared - Lightest Skimboard Tail Pad
If you need a lightweight yet performance-oriented and grippy traction pad, the Surf Squared might just be right for you.
This traction pad comes with a diamond grip pattern to help riders with better traction during maneuvers. It also utilizes soft EVA foam that has a nice and incredible feel to it.
One of the highlights of this traction pad is the 28 mm tail kick pad on the edges. The kick tail has the benefit of reducing drag while providing a place for the surfer to lock in place. This way, you don’t have to worry about the waves, losing control, or constant slipping.
Additionally, these pads utilize 3M adhesive. It’s a good option that ensures the pad doesn’t come off the board at any time.
When it comes to performance, Surf Squared sports an arch bar designed to fit on any board. The arch bar is quite handy in helping surfers achieve high performance, optimal speed without drag.
Meanwhile, the diamond surface on the surface ensures you’re firmly positioned on the board and that you won’t risk slipping off.
Surf Squared traction pads are also quite stylish and modern. This 3-piece traction pad is accommodative and can easily spread as per the requirement of the surfer.
Even better, it has a generous platform of 11.75 inches x 5 mm x5 mm and a 5 mm arch, so it’ll provide the much-needed support when tackling the huge waves.
As with most of the traction pads on our list, Surf Squared offers a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with their product.
But there’s no reason to worry about the warranty because this product has a lot going for it. Many users note that these skimboard pads are amazing to look at, durable, and come at a great cost.
The pads are also sticky, staying put even after long amounts of use.
Overall, this seems like a perfect buy. Surf Squared is a great traction pad, and the option is the perfect option for any skimboarder.
#5 Octopus Hobgood Hybrid Grip Pad - Best Value Purchase
Our final product, the Octopus Hobgood, puts some serious grip and will keep you firm on the board even in a slippery environment.
It lacks an arch bar in the middle, and while I was skeptical about it, the board is as supportive as it can get. Of course, the lack of an arch bar is good for any flatfooted surfers, but it might be a limiting factor for others. For me, I’ve nothing to worry about, considering most of my favorite traction pads lack the arch bars.
One of the coolest features of the Octopus is it comes with different textures. The back has a more textured grip for better control through turns.
But it shouldn’t be a problem shuffling your back foot forward to pump through sections or barrels, as it’s easy to feel where you’re positioned on the board.
It’s a useful traction pad feature helping with better foot placement. Even better, it’s luxuriously soft and less abrasive, so it’ll keep you away from the summertime rashes.
It also comes with a different texture setup. It’s ideal for riders working on their footwork during maneuvers as it offers the grip and kicks you need to stop your heel from slipping when flipping.
What’s more? When it comes to pumping, it’s easy to slide forward on the pad without even the need to look down and check your foot position. It’s easy to know where you’re positioned by feeling the texture change.
Octopus is a two-piece pad, so it’s easier to install than others on the list. Plus, it has a minimalistic appearance and will get your footwork up to speed in no time.
Best Skimboard Traction Pads Buying Guide
With so many options to pick from, choosing the best skimboard traction pad can be challenging.
The good news is, you don’t have to worry about a proper tail pad selection. This is because we’ve compiled a handy guide to help you in your next skimboard traction pad purchase.
In the section below, we look at everything you need to know before making your next traction pad purchase.
Considerations when choosing a Skimboard Traction Pad
The first thing to consider when purchasing a tail pad is considering the kind of construction you need.
See, traction pads are available in different styles- from one piece to multi-piece.
The one-piece is popular as they’re easier to apply and can easily fit onto your board.
However, the multi-piece traction pads are easily spread out in a way that best works for you.
Plus, the multi pieces pad has gaps between the grip pads. While some skimboarders prefer this setup, others don’t.
The primary deciding factor is the shape of your board’s tail and using a suitable grip pad.
Secondly, you need to consider the type of grip pattern. Different traction pads have different patterns, including bumps, grooves, bumps, raises, and gaps.
Understand just how much grip you need and choose a style that works well with your riding style.
As with skimboards, traction pads are available in different materials.
However, rubber/foam is the most popular fabric.
Depending on the waters you plan to skimboard, understand that different materials react differently in the water, and you need an option that retains grip and solidity when wet.
Boards are different, so choosing the right traction pad is always good to consider the right fit.
Traction pads come in different shapes, colors, styles, and sizes, and we recommend choosing a traction pad style that works well with the overall design of your board.
Skimboard traction pads aren’t entirely permanent, but pretty close.
Most of the tail pads utilize a special strong adhesive to affix on the entire board and can be difficult to remove.
They replace regular waxing as you won’t need to wax the rest of the board.
Number of Pieces
Most traction pads come as a set and are available from one piece to five. The most common option is three.
The more the number of pieces, the more versatility you’ve in positioning them on your board. We recommend picking a pad with multiple pieces.
Of course, more pieces call for more work to affix on the board, but they can easily cater to different board sizes, as you can space them apart.
Naturally, you should ensure your feet are comfortable on the pad.
While the intricately designed pad offers increased traction, ensure they don’t feel awkward.
Remember, it’s not just your underfeet that come into contact with the pad, but depending on other parts of your body, it may come into contact as well.
Application and Ease of Use
Applying a traction pad takes time, patience, and effort. It’s not like wax.
That said, it shouldn’t be a tedious process.
Instead, choose an easy-to-install pad.
You want something that can be easily placed down on the board and forgotten about.
You should ensure that when putting the traction pads down, they’re not going to go around unsticking themselves anytime soon.
It’s particularly important to think about this when you’re out on the water as this is one of the solvents surfaces you’ll find out there.
Secondly, it’s a good idea to consider the foam itself. While keeping you from falling off the board, it shouldn’t collapse easily. Simply put, it’s good to consider the general wear and tear.
Fit is important in a traction pad.
The whole point of a pad is something you can easily keep attached to while smashing through the harshest waves.
You’re going to spend a lot of time on the waves, so you need a comfortable pad.
Of course, most mats are made from EVA foam, but lots of factors affect how comfortable the pads truly are.
Design plays an important part.
You want your pad with ridges in all the right places, and if possible, it should have some nice arches.
The foam can also have different levels of sponginess, and somehow like a bed, you also need to consider the level of support it offers.
Raised arch or no raised arch?
An arch bar comes down to personal preference.
Generally, raised bars are comfortable when your foot is slammed against the back of the pad.
However, if you tend to move your feet around when skimboarding and don’t always have your foot back, you might prefer a no-raised arch to allow more mobility with your back foot.
Features To Consider on a Skimboard Traction Pad
Now that we’ve seen the essential elements to consider, let’s look at the ideal skimboard tail pad features.
As with skimboards, traction pads are available in a wide range of styles, designs, and colors.
Some brands may even create matching options for your board and pad.
You simply need to pick a pad showing off your personality and attitude.
Some pads come with a tail kick, or rather a raised portion on the back foot,
It’s a handy feature that not only adds overall comfort and protection but can be useful for seasoned skimboarders attempting tricks.
Similar to the tail kick, your skimboard tail pad may feature a raised portion in the center.
The center arch is useful for offering more support and comfort for your foot.
However, for the center arch to work successfully, the elevation needs to fit comfortably in the arch.
Price and Value
Most of the traction pads cost anywhere between $25 and $35.
Pads with limited features may drop below this range, while the versatile, feature-packed, and comfortable pads may go a little higher.
The trick is to go for the value traction pad; these aren’t expensive, yet they’ve all the necessary features.
Best Skimboard Traction Pads Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Can you put traction pads on a wooden skimboard?
A: Yes, it’s entirely possible to use a traction pad on a wooden skimboard.
All you’ve to do is slap them on the board, and while at it, ensure they’re centered perfectly.
Q: What are the best traction pads for boards?
A: The best traction pads for skimboard should be reliable, durable, and, more importantly, grippy. They should provide you with the traction you need to keep your feet firmly on the board while letting you push the board even further and with more power.
Q: What are skimboard traction pads made of?
A: Most of the skimboard traction pads are made out of rubber, specifically the EVA foam.
It’s a nice choice of material as it offers the much-needed grip while being soft enough for your feet.
Q: Do skimboards need traction pads?
A: You can always do with wax, but if you need permanence of grip on your skimboard, a traction pad is the best way to go about it.
It’s also more effective than wax and will; reliability offers better traction.
Q: What kind of maintenance is required for traction pads?
A: After use, you simply need to rinse your board with fresh water to remove any salt. Then let the board dry before placing it in a bag to avoid dents and scratches.
Q: What type of traction pad should I choose?
A: Traction pads are, for the most part, quite similar in terms of design and setup. Quality is their biggest differentiator.
But ultimately, the choice will come down to your personal needs. We recommend you choose a quality pad with premium adhesive.
Q: Should I Wax my skimboard if I’m using a traction pad?
A: This is a personal preference, but most experienced boarders will tell you having a traction pad is key to your success. You don’t need to wax the rest of the board.
However, traction pads don’t cover all the areas of your board, so adding wax as a compliment is a common practice.