Surfboard Traction Pad
Balance is one of the key components of great surfing, and a good traction pad can be incredibly valuable in that regard. However, with so many surfboard traction pads on the market, finding one that is durable, functional, and made with high-quality materials, can be surprisingly difficult.
You want your traction pad to help you, not hinder you.
Luckily, you've come to the right place.
Come dive in with us as we explore some of the top surfboard traction pads on the market today!
Quick Answer :
#1 Best Overall - AQUBONA 3 Piece Stomp Pad→
#2 Best For Skimboards - Abahub 3 Piece w/ Kicker→
#3 Best Arch Bar - Punt Surf 3 Piece w/ Stomp & Arch Bar→
#4 Best Budget Traction Pad - Seafard 3 Piece EVA Traction Pad→
#5 Best Premium Traction Pad - Ho Stevie! Premium Surfboard Traction Pad→
The 5 Best Surfboard Traction Pads
#1 AQUBONA 3 Piece Stomp Pad - Best Overall
No matter what kind of surfboard you have, the AQUBONA 3-Piece Stomp Pad can act as a solid addition. We've even seen people ripping it up on their wakeboards with this stomp pad!
Durability is a MAJOR factor in finding the right traction pad, and the AQUBONA 3-Piece takes the cake. You don't have to worry about it disintegrating in the sun after a few months, like some cheap traction pads.
Another significant component of a good traction pad is the bond between it and the surfboard. With 3M adhesive, this traction pad creates a powerful and permanent bond to the top of your board.
So not only will you feel comfortable standing atop this foam, but you'll feel balanced and secure atop your board.
One unique thing to note about this stomp pad is the sloping tail skirting design. Not only can it help you retain your balance on a steep face, but it also allows for smooth movement of the traction rope without ever getting in the way. But, of course, the arch bar isn't for everyone. For example, if you ride a groveler, and you like having the freedom to move your back foot to the tail, it might act as an obstacle.
However, beyond that, when you account for durability, functionality, and style, the AQUBONA 3-Piece Traction Pad is a solid choice.
#2 Abahub 3 Piece w/ Kicker - Best For Skimboards
If you're looking for a high-quality yet inexpensive traction pad for your skimboard that is every bit as functional as high-end traction pads, the Abahub 3-Piece w/Kicker is a solid choice.
It comes with the same 3M materials you would expect to find on other high-end traction pads, though it costs about half the price.
The kicker is solid for locking your back foot in place, creating control and balance that you won't find with many other pads.
In addition, the adhesive is very sticky, providing a permanent bond between it and your board.
Installing some traction pads can be a MAJOR pain, especially if they are too thick or are made with materials that don't cut easily.
However, this traction is very easy to trim, making custom-fitting easier than ever. Even with its easy-to-cut, lightweight feel, the foam is very dense and will hold up in high-performance surfing and skimboarding situations.
#3 Punt Surf 3 Piece w/ Stomp & Arch Bar - Best Arch Bar
Having a good arch bar allows you to dig in your back foot with confidence. From cutbacks to critical turns, the Punt Surf 3-Piece provides some of the best support in the wild world of traction pads.
Like the two traction pads above, the Punt Surf 3-Piece can work for just about any type of board, whether a longboard, shortboard, or skimboard. However, note that this pad is a bit smaller than most name-brand traction pads, making it a better choice for smaller surfboards. To find perfect sized board for you, check out our surfboard dimensions article.
In terms of the board feel, the Punt Surf 3-Piece is the squishiest traction pad on the list, which is excellent for those who have a high arch.
With that said, it's also very lightweight, making it easy to trim and install.
The adhesive creates a pretty solid bond like any good deck pad, which will keep it stuck to your board for many months.
If you're looking for better rear foot placement and control, the Punt Surf 3-Piece w/Stomp & Arch Bar is a wonderful choice.
#4 Seafard 3 Piece EVA Traction Pad - Best Budget Traction Pad
Just because the Seafard 3-Piece EVA Traction Pad is one of the best budget-friendly traction pads on the market does not mean you should underestimate it. Instead, you can expect a high-performance deck grip and more control with your board.
The traction pad is made with ultra-lightweight materials and is an excellent fit for just about any kind of board.
We imagine that this particular traction pad is cheaper than others because the design is minimal (you only have a choice between flat blue or black).
Other than that, the added grip it provides is superb, and the EVA foam is incredibly comfortable.
#5 Ho Stevie! Premium Surfboard Traction Pad - Best Premium Traction Pad
Ho Stevie! is one of our favorite surfing brands, and there is no doubt about the quality of the brand's products.
This traction pad is the real deal. You get a beautiful board feel, a solid kick tail for better board control, and a moderate center arch that will work for most surfers. Plus, with incredible grip, you'll feel in command as you flow down the center of the barrel.
Plus, it's one of the most durable mid-priced traction pads on the market. We're stoked on the designs Ho Stevie! came out with for these traction pads, especially the palm tree design.
Compared to other traction pads we've tested out, this one has not shown any signs of peeling after many uses.
Ho Stevie! also makes the best surf poncho if you're looking to upgrade, or just try one out for the first time.
Do I Need a Traction Pad For My Surfboard?
While you don't necessarily need a traction pad, having added grip can give you confidence and control when pulling off cutbacks and maneuvers. Yes, many surfers opt for wax, though wax won't provide as much deck grip.
Do Pro Surfers Use Tail Pads?
Absolutely! Tail pads can be beneficial for high-performance surfers looking to pull off various maneuvers. A tail pad provides better control and traction.
What Are The Pads On Surfboards Called?
The pads on surfboards go by many different names, including stomp pads, traction pads, and grip pads.
Should I Use a Front Deck Grip For My Board?
Most surfers don't use front deck grips. While they might provide your board with a unique look, they're a bit pointless if you don't plan on pulling any aerials.
Factors To Consider When Buying
There are many benefits of having a quality traction pad on your board, from better foot placement to better grip. But, of course, there are several considerations you need to make when trying to find the right traction pad, including:
The traction pad design you choose is the first and most important consideration you will make. There are several different styles of traction pads to choose from.
For starters, there are one-piece pads, which are very easy to fit onto surfboards. The main disadvantage of a single-piece traction pad is the lack of versatility. A traction pad made of multiple pieces can be spread out across the tail of your board, depending on your personal preference. You might also enjoy having the gap between the different grip pads.
We recommend hitting your local surf shop to check out the various grip patterns available and see which ones are more comfortable on your feet.
Different stomp pads use different types of rubber foam, which all react differently to water. Therefore, you want to find a material that maintains grip, even when it is wet. Luckily, traction pad materials have come a long way since they were first introduced back in the 70s. Most traction pads use EVA foam, which is durable and provides excellent grip in the water.
If the traction pad you're looking at uses EVA foam, you can probably move forward with it.
Shape and Style
The shape of your traction pad really comes down to your personal preference, as it won't affect its performance. But, of course, selecting a shape that looks good with your board can make it feel much more rewarding, and there are plenty of different shapes to choose from.
If anything, consider the shape of your board when looking for a traction pad, so you get something that is complimentary.
Do you want a raised arch or no arch at all?
Raised arches provide better stability, especially if you often slam your back foot down on your traction pad. However, the one downside to a raised arch is that it limits back foot mobility. For example, if you like to move your foot about the tail of your board, you might find that the arch gets in the way.
You should consider the degrees in which your kick pad sits. When looking at various traction pad designs, you'll find steep, nearly vertical kicks to mellow kicks that sit at around 20 degrees.
If you want to blow the back of a wave out by jamming your back foot in place, go for a steeper kick. Steeper kicks are great for vertical, high-performance surfing. We recommend going with a kick that is anywhere between 45 degrees and vertical.
On the other hand, if you dig the classic longboard or fish surfing style, you might want to go with a mellower kick.
Final Thoughts - Which Surfboard Traction Pad Is Right For Me?
As you can tell, there is no short answer for "which traction pad is right for you."
You need to consider your surfing style, your board design, the arch of your back foot, and so much more. Our personal favorite is the AQUBONA 3-Piece Surfboard Traction Pad. With a combination of durability, grip, and comfort, it is our favorite traction pad for surfing.
If you're looking to enhance your foot placement on your otherwise slippery surfboard without having to rely on wax exclusively, make sure to check out this wide selection of traction pads for your board.