Traction pads are better if you don’t want the hassle of waxing your board each time and also if you are looking to progress into doing turns on a shorter board. You won’t need a traction pad if you have a soft surfboard, are learning to stand up, or if you are riding a board that is 8’0 and bigger.
Wax is therefore better than a traction pad if you have a soft surfboard, a longboard (or any board longer than 8’0), have only just started or if you don’t have $30+ to spend on a traction pad at the moment (wax is much cheaper in the short-term).
That’s the answer in brief, let me now explain in a little more detail to make sure you have no doubt about whether a traction pad or wax is the best option for you.
3 Reasons to Use a Traction Pad Instead of Surf Wax
- Progressing to intermediate: if you’re getting to intermediate level and want to start turning, you will benefit from having a traction pad since this allows you to push through the turns.
- Extend the Life of a fiberglass construction surfboard: a traction pad can help to protect the surface of your board from dents and dings because the foam in the pad takes the hits and saves the board from these (but not all!)
- Soften your surfboard: traction pads offer a softer surface for your feet when riding. If you go for full deck grip, then you can have a full experience of soft foam under your feet, but you need to get the placement right and it costs more.
3 Reasons to Use For Surf Wax Instead of Traction Pads
- Soft surfboards: traction pads do not stick properly to soft surfboards so if you have one of these, you will have to use wax only.
- If you don’t plan to ride a shorter board: if you like the mellow, cruisey vibes of surfing a longer board, you won’t need a traction pad because longer boards don’t really need them.
- Like the control of surf wax: some people like the ritual of rubbing wax onto their board before every surf and also how you can apply more wax as needed each time, which you lose with a traction pad.
After reading the above, you now know whether a traction pad or surf wax will be better suited to your and your surfing needs.
If you want to use a traction pad, check out my uber-helpful guide to put a traction pad on your surfboard in the right place first time.
Also check out the following for more info and inspiration on traction pads: