How To Put On Traction PadsWith OAM’s Joey Mercer

Tired of having the shop guy put your traction pads on? Are you constantly having problems with pad application? Did you put a pad in (Oops! I’m sorry, I meant on!) and then suddenly realize it’s in the wrong spot? Well, these questions and more will be answered in this issue’s Textbook, because we’ve enlisted the help of someone who knows traction more than anyone¿On A Mission’s Traction Designer/Team Manager and all-around great guy, Joey Mercer. Joey’s spent years in the surf-grip field and has endlessly studied the dynamics of properly positioned traction pads. Take a few notes from Joey on how to do it the right way¿be your own pad master.¿A.S.

Step One:The first thing to do is wet a paper towel¿get it damp. The reason for this is because there’s still film and dust on your new board, so wipe off all the free-radicals left behind. On a used board, you use the same technique. Then take a dry paper towel and wipe it off. Let the tail area air-dry for about 30 seconds¿you want it to be perfectly dry.

Step Two:Get the pad in the desired position on your board, which depends on different tastes. Some people like it all connected and tight, and others like to widen it out a little bit.

Step Three:The positioning of the pad depends on where you put your foot on the board. For kids who like to surf on the tail, you should put the pad as far back as possible. It’s all just personal preference when it comes to how far up or down you want it. And that goes for width-wise, too. If you have a small foot, you should keep it tight. If you have a bigger foot, you should cover the whole width of your tail¿space it out. Step Four:Grab a pencil. Once you’ve figured out where you want your pad, line it all up and make sure the distance between the pieces is all good. Measure the middle piece first. Apply pressure to the pad so that it doesn’t move around. Then draw an outline where it’s lined up. That way you know exactly where it goes. Peel off the adhesive after you’ve drawn you pencil marks. Find your mark, and line it up.If your traction pad grid is even, then you can match it up with the stringer so you’re centered. Then plop the pad down and match it up with your top pencil line¿make sure it’s centered. Put the arch bar part on first, and then work your way out. If your board’s symmetric then each side should match up perfectly. It doesn’t matter what kind of tail you have, either. Pads are universal.

Step Five:Make sure you’re all lined up and buttery. Space everything at about a quarter of an inch gap. That’s what I like to leave, it’s just about right. Work your way out from the arch bar. Put the kick-side on first, and get it about a quarter-inch from the center piece. Bend the pad and keep that quarter-inch spacing going. After every piece is put down, push on it so it becomes nice and snug. Make sure you push the kick down really well. Mimic exactly what is happening on the other side¿mirror it. Do the same thing on the outside pieces. Don’t forget to match that quarter-inch spacing, either.

Step Six:Once you’ve put on the final piece, be patient. It says on our packaging to let the newly applied traction pad sit anywhere from twelve to 24 hours, but most people go out immediately after application. I don’t know anyone who’s going to wait for 24 hours, so I’d suggest people to buy their surfboards at night or put on the pad the night before.Using blow dryers to speed up the drying process is a big misconception¿it doesn’t do anything. I’d wait at least five to twelve hours before surfing so the pad really solidifies to the board. The rest is history. If you ever encounter any kind of peel up (hopefully, you won’t), I recommend using a little dab of Super Glue. If you see the slightest peel-off on a corner of any sort, hurry up and fix it or it’ll just get worse. But you don’t have to worry about that with OAM pads, they don’t peel up.

Sidebars:

Moost Frequently Asked Traction-Pad Question

What if you make a mistake and have to pull it off?Depending on the company and their glue, most of the time you can pull it up after you’ve just applied it. It’s usually a nightmare, though. It all depends on how long you let it sit before you want to change it. If you leave it on overnight, it’s on there for good¿you’re screwed. If you have to take it off after 24 hours, you could sand all the adhesive residue off, but you wouldn’t be able to reapply it. It would be useless, and the adhesive would be jacked. Our glue has a two-layer membrane¿a double adhesive that’s sticky to both sides. Sometimes the membrane will stay on the board and the pad itself will peel up.

Special Traction Pad Tip “This special tip is for kids who want to put their pads on their boards exactly the way it’s packaged. It’s a very easy technique that I think you’ll enjoy.”¿Joey Step One:Clean the board off. (See previous Step One.)

Step Two:Basically, you’re going to put the pad on your board exactly as you see it in the package. Take a razor blade (be careful, kids), and cut around the outside of the clear-film packaging. Leave the outside plastic coating on to keep it all together.

Step Three:Take it out of the packaging¿don’t worry, the pad’s kept together by the clear wrap. It’s all connected nice and tight. From there, flip it over while keeping it together, and peel off the adhesive backing while the plastic film is still keeping it together. Then flip it back over, and apply it where you want it to go. After the pad is firmly mounted, peel off the clear film. There you go. It’s that easy.