It really doesn’t matter if you’ve just picked up paddle boarding or if you’re a pro. Paddle board traction pads can really make a difference in your time on the water. Traction pads, or deck pads as they’re more commonly known, come in all shapes and sizes, with different material options and a list of benefits. Whether it’s better grip, comfortability, and so on, a good deck pad can make for longer rides and a more comfortable experience. We’re going to explore everything you need to know about paddle board traction pads. Let’s dive in!
So, Do I Need a Paddle Board Traction Pad?
No, you don’t need one necessarily. You should want one, but they’re by no means a requirement. In all fairness, a ton of paddle boards come with traction pads already built into the design. You’ve probably seen boards mention their EVA traction pads which are rather common when it comes to built-in traction pads.
While yes, most SUPs already have traction pads, that doesn’t mean they all have them. That’s why you need to consider getting one if your board is without a deck pad. Good traction pads are made using materials designed with the specific purpose of making riding a paddle board more comfortable while enhancing the overall use of the board.
As I already mentioned, EVA traction pads are by far the most common. The reason behind its popularity with SUP manufacturers is because of the brilliant anti-slip traction quality it possesses. Don’t you hate it when you’re riding, and you’re just sliding all over the board as the waters rush at you? Traction pads supply the extra grip to prevent you from slipping and potentially falling off the board. So now, when you’re out riding, you can spend longer on the water without the discomfort that comes with not having a traction pad and constantly fighting to stay on the board and not fall or slip all over the place. Even when you’re sitting on your paddle board, you’ll find it’s more comfortable with a traction pad installed.
Types of SUP Deck Pads
So, we’ve discussed a little bit about the need for traction pads, but what are the various types of traction pads? While I’ve already mentioned EVA deck pads, they’re only one of three options. Here are all your options and what they mean.
Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) Traction Pad
EVA traction pads are the most common traction pads SUP is usually equipped with already. The reason behind this common use of the EVA traction pad is that they’re incredibly comfortable for users while also being highly durable. EVA pads are able to adequately absorb the user’s weight and shocks better than nearly any other alternative. It’s important to consider a traction pad like a flat surface with springs to understand how it works in context with you and your paddle board.
Another major benefit of EVA traction pads is their lack of required maintenance and how easy they are to clean. In addition, premium EVA pads won’t wear and tear to over-exposure to the sun, which is kind of what paddle boards experience a lot! Another product that EVA is used for is yoga mats.
Wax Traction Pad
Wax traction pads can’t be installed. They’re usually a part of a surf or paddle board already. They’re still great for traction. Your SUP or surfboard is an epoxy board without an already installed deck pad. They allow the board to remain light which is helpful in terms of speed, especially for racing. They also offer a sticky grip which helps the paddler remain firmly in place. Wax traction pads are far more common in surfboards than they are with paddle boards, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It’s important to note that wax traction pads cannot be used for inflatable paddle boards as they’re damaging to PVC material.
Cork Traction Pad
Using cork tree park, this type of traction pad is an environmentally friendly option for paddle boarders looking to be a bit more environmentally conscious. It’s naturally non-toxic, water-resistant, and 100% organic. For the user, it’s comfortable and less springy than an EVA traction pad while still protecting joints and knees from damage due to long-distance use and rough waters.
The Benefits of SUP Deck Pads
The benefits of paddle board deck pads are mainly helping maintain stability and grip. In addition, they allow riders to remain on the board for longer periods of time without that discomfort creeping into the experience.
The secondary benefit associated with deck pads is related to objects on the board and additional passengers. A traction pad can ensure extra passengers such as children, dogs, or adults, aren’t susceptible to falling off, and if they choose to sit, it’s comfortable for them to do so.
For objects that you’re bringing along with you, like cooler boxes, for example, a traction pad helps items remain firmly in place. This is not to say ignore the use of d-rings and deck bungees. Still, it’s great to have extra precaution with the use of a deck pad that keeps things from moving around while the boards are in use.
Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of deck pads is when they’re used for activities that require the board to not be in motion. For example, SUP Yoga. They’re incredible for use when faced with intensive routines where you need that grip to achieve a certain position. While achieving that position is the number one priority, you want to be comfortable while doing so, and that’s why deck pads are so beneficial for yoga. Another good example is fishing which, if you’re using a chair, can secure you in place while you reel in that big fish you’ve been after!
There are three general options for the size of your traction pads. This doesn’t mean these are all the sizes, they’re the most commonly found, but some companies even make custom-sized traction pads if necessary.
Traction Pad for Standing Area
Placed in the center of the board, these traction pads are specifically for where you intend to stand while paddle boarding. The length of a standing area traction pad can vary depending on your size and your board size, so take these into account.
Full Wrap Traction Pad
These traction pads run the length of the paddle board and around the sides, giving them improved grip and traction. It’s also great for added durability to your paddle board as it acts as a shield from bumps and bangs.
Full-Length Traction Pads
Full-length traction pads run on the entire surface of the board and not just the standing area. This is what you’d want for additional passengers and items as it means they’ve all got something to rely on.
Depending on what option you go with, you can find that a traction pad can help bring some additional character to your board. You can find different colors, designs, and other options to incorporate into your already designed board to enhance its aesthetic value. Most people don’t really care about this aspect of track pads, but if it’s something you’re interested in, know there are options!
There you have it, all that you need to know about traction pads so you can get that paddle board of yours working for you instead of against you! It’s great to have that extra bit of support to make your sup experience and more comfortable. It also makes it safer, which, if you haven’t realized by now, I’m a big advocate for. Now it’s just time to find the right option for you.