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Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or pro, having a good stand up paddle board traction pad can make all the difference. A good SUP traction pad shouldn’t only look cool, but provide you with all the benefits that come along with extra grip and comfort. This is especially true for those just starting out on their paddle board adventures. Having a good traction pad not only makes longer rides and sitting more comfortable. They also can make it easier to learn and help with stability while practicing the paddle board basics.
So, before choosing a paddle board traction pad, it’s good to understand what type you prefer. Look at the material, size and type of paddle boarding that it is going to be used for. Some will be designed for SUP yoga and long rides, while others may work better for high-speed racing. Making the right choice can add to the paddle board experience as well as help protect and maintain the board itself.

woman on beach stand with Thurso Surf Waterwalker All-around SUP while overlooking the ocean

Traction pads can make your board look ‘pretty’ and so much more!

Deciding Whether You Need a Paddle Board Traction Pad

The short answer to whether or not you must have a stand up paddleboard traction pad is no. But, there are numerous cases where they are extremely beneficial and there’s no reason not to use one. In fact, most SUPs come with them already built-in.

SUPs with a good traction pad will use material specifically designed to enhance the rider’s comfort and grip on the board. The added grip from the traction pad helps prevent slipping and sliding on the surface of the SUP. And, the extra padding under your feet helps to make the overall experience that much better. Not only for long trips, but everything in between. Remember you don’t stand the whole time.

Man in orange shirt paddles on Thurso Surf Waterwalker All-around SUP near coastline

A traction pad increases your grip and improves your overall stability.

Types of Stand Up Paddle Board Traction Pads

There are a few options to choose from when it comes to stand up paddleboard traction pads and the material they are made from.

Paddleboard Traction Pad Materials

  • Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) – The most common material for SUP traction pads and commonly found in yoga mats. The reason it’s the most common is that it’s incredibly durable and comfortable. It’s also able to absorb any weight and their associated shocks extremely well. Another added benefit that makes them popular is that EVA traction pads are easy to clean and don’t require much maintenance.
  • Cork – This type of traction pad that is made from cork tree bark. It is environmentally friendly as the tree does not have to be cut down to make the product. The bark is harvested from the tree in a sustainable way without damaging it. It is naturally water-resistant, non-toxic and completely organic. It is naturally springy which can help protect knees and joints when the water is rough or when doing a long-distance race or cruise.
  • Wax – While this is not a traction pad to be installed, it can still be used for traction if you have an epoxy SUP without a traction pad. It keeps the paddle board light for racing and can offer a great sticky grip for the paddler. You’re more likely to see wax used on surfboards than a common stand up paddleboard. CAUTION: DO NOT use wax on your inflatable SUP as it can damage the PVC material.
Man and woman sitting on stand up paddle board traction pad while SUP kayaking

Traction pads do more than just provide grip when standing.

Benefits of Stand Up Paddle Board Traction Pads

Overall, they are great in helping maintain grip and stability. Not only do they help the rider stay on the board, they can also help with objects or other riders that you brought along. For instance, if you have a child or pet that wants to come for a paddle, then it’s great for them as well because now they can comfortably sit. As for keeping objects you’re carrying in place, you’ll be surprised how much grip the traction pad provides. However, it is good practice to tie things down using the D-rings or deck bungees before you head off.

Paddleboard Yoga Traction Pads

Another obvious area where stand up paddleboard traction pads make a huge difference is with SUP yoga. In addition to the added grip, you get a comfortable area to perform your routine. The EVA foam in your traction pad is actually one of the main components of most plush yoga mats, so your new platform will feel familiar. The best yoga SUPs, like the Tranquility Yoga SUP, have an extra large traction pad built-in so you can stretch out completely just like you would in the studio.
Woman performs yoga pose on stand up paddle board traction pad

Yoga and other activities are a lot more comfortable with a good SUP traction pad.

Stand Up Paddle Board Traction Pad Sizes

Like stand up paddleboards, SUP traction pads come in a few different sizes. The sizes vary and are designed with different users and stand up paddleboards in mind. So there’s no right answer when it comes to tractions pads, it’s simply finding out what you prefer for your activities.

  • Traction pads for standing areas – These traction pads are for the middle of the paddle board where the rider is usually standing. They are specific to the center of the board where most traction is required. They can be made of cork or EVA and styled to look like the board itself, so they blend in. There are various lengths of these traction pads available depending on the board length and width. They are also classified and designed for specific uses such as, all-around, yoga, or racing SUP.
  • Full-length traction pads – These pads are used to cover the paddle board from one end to the other. The intention is to have traction across the whole board rather than just the standing area. This is great for when the boards are used with kids or pets as well as with yoga SUP. The Max Multi-purpose SUP has a full-length traction pad to protect it from pets’ paws and claws and make sure the kiddos have somewhere comfy to sit. It allows versatility of use along with protection on the top of the whole length of the board.
  • Full wrap traction pads – These traction pads are different from full-length ones. The full-length ones run the length of the board while full wrap includes the sides of the paddle board also. This means the sides have lots of grip as well and may be found on rental boards as it add to their durability to protect board that will be handled roughly from bangs and bumps and ill treatment.
Family enjoys snack while sitting on stand up paddle board traction pad

Traction pads like the one on the Max Multi-purpose SUP can provide added comfort for any passengers and pets.

Final Thoughts

While many paddle boarders like to feel the board beneath their feet, traction pads allow for that with even the pickiest boarders. A stand up paddle traction pad offers that extra security of grip not only when someone is learning how to paddle board, but with the most experienced racers as well. They offer that little bit of extra help when it comes to staying on.

A stand up paddle traction pad does not have to be the center of attention on a board. They can be subtle and suit every style, use and need. Whether a paddle boarder wants a clear and unnoticeable pad or one that is matching or stylized, the traction pad will always help with grip and comfort. They are perfect to offer paddling support whether the board is used for SUP racing, yoga or long leisurely travels.

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