Stand up paddleboard traction pads are more important than you think. Some avid paddleboarders want a race board, touring board, or a specific water sports board, but for most people, finding a versatile board is the best way to go. Investing in a paddle board is not cheap, so buying a versatile one can be well worth the money. This is especially true if the goal is to do more than one paddle boarding activity on the water. Different boards have different shapes and styles, but a full-length deck pad makes an awesome upgrade to any SUP. A SUP board with a full-length deck pad increases the overall versatility of the board, allowing you to do more on deck.

closeup of man paddling on Thurso Surf Waterwalker All-around SUP with yellow stand up paddleboard traction pad

High-quality SUP deck pads provide grip, traction, and comfort.

Full-Length Stand Up Paddleboard Deck Pads

As a beginner stand up paddleboarder, the lingo can be a little confusing. To be clear, a SUP traction pad or deck pad is something that is put on the top of the board to help the paddler get grip and traction. They help your feet remain planted firmly on the board and make it a whole lot less slippery. They are also great for comfort because they’re soft and cushiony. That’s especially nice if you plan to sit, kneel, or lie down. Although the sport’s called stand up paddleboarding, you’ll find plenty of reasons to try other positions on board. From knee paddling, SUP kayaking, fishing, yoga or even just laying down to take a break, there’re plenty of reasons to look for a SUP with an excellent traction pad. Here are four of the main types of stand up paddleboard deck pads:

Types of Stand Up Paddleboard Traction Pads

  • Standing area deck pads – These pads are specifically for the middle part of the SUP. They are installed mid deck, right where the paddler stands. They’re great for general paddling but give no extra grip for the paddler beyond the pad itself.
  • Extra-long deck pads – These deck pads are longer than standing area pads. They’re commonly found on multi-paddler SUPs or yoga boards. And they’re great when you might want to lay down.  They provide extra long coverage just like an extra long yoga mat, all the way from head to toe with room to spare.
Man and woman walk along beach with Thurso Surf Waterwalker All-around SUPs

Deckpads come in all types of colors and designs.

  • Full-length deck pads – These pads cover the entire top of the SUP board. They extend from the very front of the nose all the way back to the tail. They give the whole board grip and traction, not just the standing area. Not surprisingly that added traction is also great if you have extra gear or passengers because it gives them some comfort and traction as well, no matter where they’re positioned on the SUP.
  • Full wrap deck pads – This type of pad goes one step more than the full length. It wraps the whole top of the board including the sides. Although it can help protect the sides somewhat, looking for a SUP with sturdy rails (rails = sides of the board) designed of stronger material is highly recommended. The materials deck pads are made out of are great for traction and comfort, but there are better options for protection and durability without the added weight and friction a full wrap deck pad creates.
woman kneeling on stand up paddleboard traction pad while looking into Thurso Surf Deck Cooler Bag

Kneeling and sitting is much more comfortable with a well designed deck pad.

Reasons to Get a Paddleboard with a Full-Length Deck Pad

Stand up paddleboard deck pads that are full-length are incredibly beneficial. They increase the overall versatility of the board. And they take the traction, grip, and comfort from nose to tail. Rather than limiting you to a small section like a standing area deck pad, you’re free to roam. And unlike full wrap deck pads, the better SUPs with full-length deck pads will have sturdy rails to protect your SUP. But that’s not all they’re good for; here’s a few more reason to go with a full-length deck pad:

Activities that Benefit from a SUP Traction Pad

  • Extra Passengers – Many people who enjoy paddleboarding also enjoy taking children or pets on the water with them. Having traction all the way down the board helps with that overall weight distribution. Full pad coverage allows kids or dogs to sit away from the standing area and enjoy the trip out on the water. The traction pad means the board is less crowded in the midsection and the paddler will have fewer issues trying to move the board through flat water. Having the full coverage also means there is less chance of the passengers slipping off and no way for pets paws and claws to damage the board.
  • Yoga & Fitness – Stand up paddleboards aren’t only used for paddling. Many people also enjoy them as a base for SUP yoga and other types of fitness routines. Once you’ve paddled out away from shore, doing a sequence of poses can be challenging. Adding the movement of the water to a yoga sequence is much different from doing it in a studio. However, with an extra-long or full-length traction pad, you’ll be just as comfortable as you would be indoors with the added benefit of being out on the open water. The traction gained is of utmost importance and yogis like you will find comfort and space similar to or larger than your own yoga mat.
  • Fishing – Having a full-length deck pad is great for fishing on a paddleboard. It allows for grip while casting and reeling in, and also adds comfort when standing for long periods of time. Also if paddlers are pushing the limits to find that secret fishing spot, the extra grip and traction can be great to cut through rougher waters, areas with overhangs, or places that need some tricky navigation. And best of all, not only will it help you from slipping off, it will also provide added traction for any gear you bring along with you.
woman doing a yoga pose while sitting on her Thurso Surf Tranquility Yoga SUP deck pad

Fitness routines like yoga and even just laying down for a break is better on a deck pad.

The Versatility of Full-Length Stand Up Paddleboard Deck Pads

Although each type of SUP deck pad has its reasoning, a full-length deck pad provides you with all the needed versatility. The added traction and grip improves your overall stability regardless of the activity, and the soft padding increases your overall comfort. No matter if you’re sitting, standing, kneeling, or laying down a deck pad provides extra comfort. It’s also not only advantageous to you the paddler; full-length SUP traction pads are great for your passengers and gear. As you can see there’s a lot of different activities you can do on a SUP. And a full-length traction deck pad will increase your overall performance and enjoyment regardless of what you’re up to!

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About the Author: Matt G.

Matt Gelgota is a traveler and all around digital marketing guy. His greatest adventure to date was the Mongol Rally, a 10,000 mile unsupported on and off-road saga from Sweden to Mongolia. He has visited more than 50 countries and has been paddling a Thurso Surf Expedition since 2018. Since then he’s had a chance to paddle board in Nepal, Thailand, Japan, and the US. When he’s not on the road he divides his time between Tokyo and Atlanta, Georgia.


  1. Marci March 9, 2022 at 1:06 am - Reply

    Do any Thurso SUPs come with a full length deck pad??

    • Matt G. March 26, 2022 at 10:06 pm - Reply

      Hiya Marci,

      The Tranquility has an extended length deck pad so you can practice yoga poses that require you to lay down and be covered from head to toe. And the Max has an full-length deck pad that covers the board edge to edge.

      Happy paddling,

      Social @ Thurso Surf

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