December 8, 2022

Surf carpet: how to choose a tail pad for your board

A grip pad, tail pad, or just a board mat is a piece of EVA foam glued to the surfboard’s tail.

The primary function is to provide better traction for the back foot with the board. Secondary – saving on wax. Using the grip pad helps you place your back foot in the right place and make more radical maneuvers.

The history of rugs began at the end of the seventies of the last century. The first who managed to popularize them was the famous Herbie Fletcher.

He used his ideas and, after testing several variants, began selling the first tail pads in his surf shop. He named them Astrodeck.

Astrodeck rugs became a symbol of the surf culture, and the eighties’ surfers adored them. Surfing champions such as Tom Carroll, Kelly Slater, Martin Potter, Sean Thomson, and Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew were the first to understand the invention’s usefulness and began to use it constantly.

The story of grip pads took surfing to the next level.

The boom of tail pads began to decline in the late 90s, but rugs have since become an integral part of high-performance shortboards.

Today’s tail pads are the upgraded version of Astrodeck. They are made of EVA (porous, foamy material), and their shape is maximally sharpened for the most powerful maneuvers.

Today rugs are available on the market in thousands of different shapes and colors. And it’s not surprising that a person who decides to buy a tail pad for the first time may be confused by all this variety.

Therefore, we decided to tell you what to look for when choosing a tailored for your board.


Surfboard mats can consist of several (up to five) parts. The one-piece ones are suitable for boards with a relatively narrow tail.

Two or three-piece rugs can be glued to boards with a reasonably wide bottom, such as hybrid or retro boards (fish).

The fourth and fifth pieces of mat are usually complementary to conventional 3-piece grip pads and are mainly used when riding big waves.


The kicktail is the lift of the back of the mat, which is at the very tail of your board. This lift allows the hind leg to rest on it.

It helps place the foot in the right place on the board, allowing powerful, radical maneuvers. The higher the kicktail and the greater the angle of its ascent, the stronger the leg support, the better the grip.

The rule of thumb for choosing a lift is the following: the more radical you want to make maneuvers, the more angle you need: from 45 to 90 degrees.

Some tail pads do not have a kicktail; they are usually used on retro boards where the position of the back foot is not so critical.


The center rise is the bulge in the center of the grip pad that rests on the center of your soul. The thickness of this rise can vary from 5 to 12 millimeters.

What thickness to choose depends on the length of your leg and the arch of your foot. The smaller the foot (minor bend), the less lift you need, and vice versa.

Also, the height of the center lift depends on your riding level. The steeper you roll, the higher the center lift will be needed. The worse, the less.

Rugs with little or no center rise are commonly used on retro surfboards to give the board a better feel.


Tail pad surface relief can be of various types.

The pattern on the surface provides grip for the foot. It all depends on your preference.

And the holes and special channels on the rug’s surface serve to make it lighter.

Recently, there has been a tendency to glue rugs under the front leg. They are usually flat and skinny. Glue them to stop using wax on the board altogether.

Whether or not these rugs are used is a matter of taste. But the use of tail pads will help your surfing.


Many beginners or intermediate surfers wonder if they need a rug for their fan board.

People who take their first steps in surfing don’t care about board grip, but these surfers often put their back foot in the wrong place.

The board will be practically uncontrollable if placed too far from the fins. The Tailpad will help you fix this error.


Once you have chosen your rug, you will be faced with the task of adequately gluing it to your precious board.

After all, if you do something wrong, the tail pad will either not be where it should be, and you will have to buy a new one, or it will begin to peel off over time.

Ensure no wax or other dirt on the board before gluing the mat. If the board is brand new, dust it off.

If there was wax in place for the tail pad, it must be removed with a comb or old plastic card and then cleaned with a special wax remover.


– Cut the plastic around the edge of the new tail pad, but leave the mat itself inside the plastic;

– attach the rug to the board and estimate where it should be. Someone likes to glue the kicktail in the area of ​​the rear fin / s, while someone likes to place it right next to the very mortgage for the lichen. If this is your first rug, it is best to position the kicktail around the center of the rear fin / s;

– mark the position of the rug with a pencil, centering it with a stringer;

– peel off the protective layer from the adhesive part of the mat and glue it in the place marked with a pencil;

– press the mat firmly for 20-30 seconds so that it adheres well to the board;

– wait at least 12 hours before going into the water so that the glue sticks tightly.

If you decide to take off your tail pad one day, it will be enough to heat it with a hairdryer.

However, try not to overheat the board. Otherwise, delamination can occur – the fiberglass will peel off from the foam core of the board, and a bubble will appear.

We wish you the perfect rug to take your surfing to new heights!