Do You Need Grip on a Skimboard? The Surprising Truth Revealed!

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  28.06.2023
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Grip is one of the most important aspects of skimboarding. Without it, you’ll be slipping and sliding all over the place and won’t be able to perform any of the cool tricks you see on Instagram. So, do you need it? It’s important to have grip on your board so you don’t slip and slide all over the place. But do you need it? Well, that depends on your riding style and ability. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

do you need grip on a skimboard

Is Grip Essential for Skimboarding?

When it comes to skimboarding, having a good grip on your board is absolutely essential. Without proper grip, you’ll find yourself slipping and sliding all over the place, making it difficult to maintain control and execute those awesome tricks. So, if you want to take your skimboarding skills to the next level, grip is definitely something you should consider.

The Benefits of Grip

Having a solid grip on your skimboard offers a multitude of benefits that can enhance your overall riding experience. Let’s take a closer look at why grip is so important:

1. Enhanced Stability: With a grippy surface, your feet will stay firmly planted on the board, providing you with better stability. This means you’ll be able to maintain your balance and ride with confidence, even in challenging conditions.

2. Improved Control: Grip allows you to have better control over your board, enabling you to make quick turns, carve through waves, and execute tricks with precision. It’s like having an extra layer of security that keeps you connected to your board at all times.

3. Increased Performance: When you have a good grip, you can generate more power and speed during your rides. This is especially crucial when you’re trying to catch waves or perform aerial maneuvers. The added traction helps you push off the sand and propel yourself forward, giving you that extra edge.

Options for Getting Grip

Now that we understand the importance of grip, let’s explore some options for achieving it on your skimboard:

1. Traction Pads: As we discussed earlier, traction pads are a popular choice among skimboarders. They provide a textured surface that offers excellent grip and can be easily applied to your board. Plus, they come in various designs and colors, allowing you to personalize your setup.

2. Wax: While traction pads are the go-to option for many riders, some still prefer the classic method of applying wax to their skimboard. Wax creates a sticky surface that enhances grip, especially when combined with the right foot placement. It’s a more traditional approach that has been used for years and can still deliver great results.

3. Combining Both: If you’re looking for the ultimate grip, you can even combine traction pads and wax. Applying wax to specific areas of your board, such as the rails or the tail, can provide additional grip where you need it most, while the traction pad covers the rest of the surface.

Is a Traction Pad Necessary for Skimboarding?

When it comes to skimboarding, you want to make sure you have the best possible grip on your board. After all, you don’t want to end up slipping and sliding off your board like a clumsy penguin on ice. That’s where traction pads come into play. These handy accessories are designed to provide you with the ultimate grip and control, allowing you to glide effortlessly across the water and perform those sick tricks with style.

The Traction Pad Advantage

So, why should you consider investing in a traction pad for your skimboard? Let me break it down for you:

1. Enhanced Grip: Traction pads are specifically designed to increase the grip between your feet and the board’s surface. This means you’ll have better control over your movements, allowing you to execute those sharp turns and maneuvers with precision.

2. Stability and Balance: Skimboarding requires a delicate balance between speed, control, and stability. With a traction pad, you’ll have a solid foundation to plant your feet, giving you the stability you need to confidently ride the waves.

3. Comfort and Protection: Let’s face it, skimboarding can be tough on your feet. The constant friction and impact can leave you feeling sore and bruised. A traction pad acts as a cushion, providing some much-needed comfort and protection against the harsh elements.

Wax vs. Traction Pads: The Ultimate Showdown

Now, you might be wondering, why not just use wax instead of a traction pad? While wax can provide some grip, it doesn’t offer the same level of control and stability as a traction pad. Here’s a quick comparison:

  • Wax:

– Requires regular reapplication
– Can melt in hot weather
– May not provide enough grip for advanced maneuvers

  • Traction Pad:

– Offers consistent grip without the need for reapplication
– Resistant to heat and water
– Ideal for both beginners and experienced skimboarders

Personal Preference and Style

Ultimately, the decision to use a traction pad on your skimboard comes down to personal preference and style. Some riders prefer the natural feel of wax, while others swear by the added grip and control of a traction pad. It’s all about finding what works best for you and your riding style.

So, whether you’re a seasoned skimboarder or just starting out, consider giving a traction pad a try. It might just take your skimboarding game to the next level, allowing you to ride the waves with confidence and finesse.

Traction Pads: Worth the Cost?

When it comes to skimboarding, having the right gear can make all the difference. While it’s true that you can get by without traction pads, investing in a good set can greatly enhance your overall experience. Here’s why:

  • Traction pads provide a reliable grip: One of the major benefits of using traction pads is the secure grip they offer. They ensure that your feet stay in place, even during the most intense maneuvers. This is especially helpful for beginners who are still learning the correct foot placement and need that extra assurance.
  • Faster learning curve: With traction pads, you’ll find it easier to catch waves and maintain control on your board. The added grip allows for quicker turns and more precise movements, helping you progress faster in your skimboarding journey.
  • Increased confidence: When you have a reliable grip on your board, you’ll feel more confident in trying new tricks and pushing your limits. Traction pads give you the peace of mind to shred with style and go for those bigger waves.

The Cost Factor

Now, let’s talk about the cost. It’s true that traction pads do come with a price tag, but are they worth it? Let’s weigh the pros and cons:

Pros of investing in traction pads:

  • Longevity: Unlike wax, which tends to fade and require reapplication, traction pads have a longer lifespan. They can withstand years of use without losing their grip, making them a more cost-effective option in the long run.
  • Variety and style: Traction pads come in a wide range of colors and designs, allowing you to personalize your board and add a unique touch to your skimboarding gear. From classic black to vibrant and colorful ones, there’s a pad to suit every taste.
  • Convenience: Traction pads are easy to install and require minimal maintenance. Once you have them on your board, you can focus on riding the waves instead of constantly checking and reapplying wax.

Cons of investing in traction pads:

  • Cost: While traction pads are generally affordable, they do add an extra expense to your skimboarding setup. If you’re on a tight budget, this might be a factor to consider.
  • Upgrading your board: If you’ve already purchased a wooden skimboard without traction pad inserts, adding pads may require some additional investment. However, many modern skimboards come with pre-installed traction pad areas, making it easier to upgrade without breaking the bank.
  • Personal preference: Some people simply prefer the feel of wax on their board. It’s a matter of personal preference and what feels best for you as a rider.

In the end, the decision to invest in traction pads boils down to your individual needs and budget. If you’re serious about skimboarding and want to ensure a reliable grip, traction pads are a great investment. They offer convenience, longevity, and a variety of styles to choose from. However, if you’re just starting out or prefer the traditional feel of wax, it’s perfectly fine to stick with what works for you. The most important thing is to find the right balance between cost, performance, and personal preference. So, weigh your options, check out different styles, and make an informed decision that suits your skimboarding journey.

Traction Pads Give You the Grip You Need

Traction pads are like the secret sauce of skimboarding. They are made of high-quality materials that provide an exceptional grip on your board, allowing you to stay firmly planted during your rides. These pads are designed with a textured surface that creates friction between your feet and the board, giving you the control and stability you need to glide effortlessly across the water.

Increased Grip for Epic Tricks

One of the main reasons why traction pads are a game-changer is their ability to give you increased grip. With a reliable traction pad, you can confidently attempt those jaw-dropping tricks without worrying about losing your footing. Whether you’re going for a 360 spin or a daring shove-it, the added grip from the traction pad will keep you locked in and ready to take on any challenge.

Installing Your Traction Pad

Now that you’re convinced of the benefits of traction pads, let’s talk about how to install one on your skimboard. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide:

1. Clean the surface: Make sure your skimboard is clean and free from any dirt or wax residue. A clean surface will ensure proper adhesion of the traction pad.
2. Position the pad: Place the traction pad on the tail end of your skimboard, aligning it with the centerline. Adjust the position to your preference, keeping in mind that it should provide ample grip for your back foot.
3. Peel and stick: Once you’re satisfied with the position, start peeling off the backing of the traction pad, exposing the adhesive side. Carefully press it onto the board, starting from one end and working your way to the other, ensuring there are no air bubbles trapped underneath.
4. Secure the edges: To ensure the longevity of your traction pad, use a hairdryer or heat gun to warm up the edges. This will help the adhesive bond securely to the board, preventing any peeling or lifting.

Remember, practice makes perfect! It may take a few sessions to get used to the feel of the traction pad, but once you do, you’ll wonder how you ever skimboarded without it.

So, if you’re serious about taking your skimboarding skills to the next level, investing in a quality traction pad is a no-brainer. It’s the key to unlocking the grip and control you need to conquer the waves and impress your fellow skimboarders. Get ready to ride with confidence and style, thanks to the magic of traction pads!

Wax Vs Traction Pads: The Battle for Grip on a Skimboard

When it comes to adding grip to your skimboard, wax has been the go-to option for decades. Just like surfers wax their boards to prevent slipping, skimboarders have been using wax to enhance their traction on the slippery surface of the board. Here’s why wax has stood the test of time:

  • Tried and True: Wax has been used on skimboards since the early days of the sport. Its effectiveness in providing grip has been proven time and time again by seasoned riders.
  • Customizable Grip: One of the great things about wax is that you can adjust its stickiness to suit your preferences. Whether you like a super tacky grip or a more subtle one, you can achieve it by applying different amounts and types of wax.
  • Cost-Effective: Compared to traction pads, wax is a budget-friendly option. A single bar of wax can last for multiple sessions, making it a cost-effective choice for skimboarders on a tight budget.

Traction Pads: The Modern Alternative

In recent years, traction pads have gained popularity among skimboarders as an alternative to wax. These adhesive pads, made of grippy materials like EVA foam, provide a different approach to achieving grip on a skimboard. Here’s why some riders prefer traction pads:

  • Instant Grip: Unlike wax, which may require some time to warm up and become tacky, traction pads offer instant grip as soon as you step on your board. This can be particularly advantageous in fast-paced situations where every second counts.
  • Consistent Performance: Traction pads provide a consistent grip throughout your ride. With wax, the stickiness may diminish over time or in different weather conditions, but traction pads maintain their grip regardless.
  • Easy Maintenance: Traction pads are low-maintenance. Once applied to your board, they require minimal upkeep, unlike wax, which needs to be reapplied regularly to maintain its effectiveness.

Wax or Traction Pads: Which One Should You Choose?

Now that you know the pros and cons of both wax and traction pads, you might be wondering which option is right for you. The truth is, it ultimately comes down to personal preference and the specific conditions you’ll be riding in. Here are a few factors to consider when making your decision:

  • Riding Style: If you’re a fan of tricks and aerial maneuvers, traction pads may provide the extra grip you need to pull off those impressive moves. On the other hand, if you prefer a more traditional style of skimboarding, wax might be the perfect fit.
  • Water Conditions: The type of water you’ll be riding in can also influence your choice. If you frequently skimboard in choppy or rough waters, traction pads can offer a more secure grip. However, if you primarily ride in calm conditions, wax may be sufficient.
  • Cost and Convenience: While wax is generally more affordable, traction pads do offer long-term convenience. Consider your budget and how often you’re willing to reapply wax when weighing the cost-effectiveness of each option.

In the end, the choice between wax and traction pads is a matter of personal preference and experimentation. Some riders even opt for a combination of both, using wax on certain areas of their board and traction pads in others. So, go ahead, try out different options, and find the grip that suits your style and enhances your skimboarding experience.


So, do you need grip on a skimboard? 

Grip is an important factor for a good ride, especially for beginners. With the right grip, you can have a better control of the board and enjoy the ride. So, don’t be afraid to try it out. You might just like it!

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Kauai Surf Report is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new sports with everything surfing at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2019 to help loyal readers with surfing and water sporting tips.