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If you’re a fan of skateboarding or longboarding, you may have noticed that most skateboards have grip tape on the top surface. But what about longboards? Do they have grip tape too? The answer is not as straightforward as you might think.
Longboards, being larger and designed for cruising and carving, often have a different type of grip surface compared to traditional skateboards. While some longboards do come with grip tape, others may feature alternative grip options such as clear grip, foam grip, or even no grip at all.
In this article, we’ll explore the different grip options available for longboards and discuss their pros and cons, helping you make an informed decision on which grip surface is best suited for your longboarding style and preferences.
Why longboard without grip tape?
Longboarding without grip tape is a choice made by some riders for two main reasons: aesthetics and riding feel.
For riders who have a deck with a visually appealing top layer, such as bamboo or cork, removing the grip tape allows them to showcase and admire the natural beauty of the deck. Exposing these noble materials can enhance the overall look of the longboard and make it stand out.
On the other hand, some advanced longboarders prefer little to no grip tape for the sake of riding feel and freedom of movement. By having less or no grip tape, their feet can move more freely around the board and have more direct contact with the deck. This can be particularly advantageous for longboard dancing and certain long-distance pumping (LDP) techniques, as well as for surf skaters.
How to apply grip tape
Applying grip tape to a longboard deck is a straightforward process that ensures a secure footing for riders. It is important to note that grip tape is not meant to be used on the wheels, as it will not stick and can lead to wheel damage and wear. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to apply grip tape to a longboard deck:
- Ensure that the deck is clean and free from any dust or debris. This will help the grip tape adhere properly.
- Begin by peeling off the backing from one side of the grip tape. Start from one end and carefully align it along the length of the deck, leaving an overhang at both ends for precise adjustments.
- Once the grip tape is aligned, use your hand or a plastic card to press it firmly onto the deck from the center toward the edges. This will help eliminate any air bubbles and ensure a secure bond.
- To trim the excess grip tape, use a razor blade or a sharp utility knife. Start at one end and carefully cut along the edges of the deck, following its shape. Take your time to make neat and precise cuts.
- After trimming, flip the longboard over and repeat the process on the other side of the deck. Align the grip tape, press it down firmly, and trim the excess.
By following these steps, riders can effectively apply grip tape to their longboard decks, providing a grippy surface for secure footing and enhancing their riding experience.
Do you need grip tape for longboard dancing?
Grip tape is an essential component for most longboard riding styles, as it provides a secure footing and prevents slippage. However, when it comes to longboard dancing, the grip tape needs to be strategically placed to accommodate the unique movements and footwork involved.
In longboard dancing, the goal is to have a balance between grip and smooth foot sliding for seamless transitions and foot repositioning. Unlike other riding styles, where the entire deck is usually gripped, longboard dancing requires grip only along the rails for continuous carving and on the kicks for nose riding and pop tricks.
The center of the deck is typically left ungripped to allow for freedom of movement and performing dance moves. This allows dancers to easily glide their feet across the deck, and perform board walking, cross-stepping, and spinning.
Grip tape for cruising and distance pushing?
Grip tape plays a crucial role in both cruising and distance pushing on a longboard. When it comes to general cruising, the main focus is to have a grip in the areas where your feet are placed while pushing and carving. Other areas of the deck may be left without grip tape, allowing the deck’s color and texture to show through.
However, when it comes to long-distance pushing, having good traction becomes even more important. Grip tape provides better control over the board, ensuring that your feet remain securely planted on the deck. This enhances stability and control, especially while pushing on varied terrain.
With grip tape, foot slippage is prevented, allowing for more efficient energy transfer with each push. This results in a stable platform that helps you gain speed efficiently during long-distance pushing sessions.
Grip tape for freeride?
Grip tape is an essential component for freeride longboarding, particularly for riders who enjoy slides, tricks, and tech maneuvers. It provides the necessary traction to keep your feet securely in place, reducing the risk of slipping off the board during aggressive carving, quick turns, and freeride tricks.
When it comes to freeride, grip tape is a personal preference. Some riders prefer a full grip tape setup for maximum traction and stability, while others opt for a partial grip tape setup that allows for a more “slip-and-slide” feel. However, it is important to note that grip tape becomes even more crucial in wet or damp environments, as it helps to maintain a secure footing.
Grip tape for freestyle?
Grip tape is an essential component for freestyle longboarding, providing riders with the traction and control they need to perform tricks with precision. During freestyle tricks, such as aerials, flips, and spins, grip tape helps absorb the impact and keeps your feet securely in place, reducing the chance of slipping upon landing.
Freestyle tricks require maintaining a solid connection between your feet and the board, and grip tape allow you to control the pressure on the deck for maneuvers like manuals, board flips, grabs, and spins. It gives you the confidence to execute these tricks with accuracy and stability.
Grip tape for downhill?
Grip tape is an essential component for downhill longboarding. When racing down hills at high speeds, it is crucial to have maximum control and stability. Grip tape provides the necessary grip to maintain control over the board during tight turns and corners.
One of the key benefits of grip tape is that it allows for precise adjustments without your feet slipping. It keeps your feet firmly in place, ensuring a secure connection with the board even across vibrations and bumps.
When you might definitely need grip tape on your longboard
Grip tape is necessary for certain longboarding styles: freestyle tricks, street riding, park riding, and high-speed downhill. It gives traction and grip to keep your feet securely on the board, preventing slipping off. This is important because your feet should have more traction than your wheels on the pavement. Riding without grip tape is dangerous and reduces your ability to control the board, particularly during sharp turns.
Furthermore, grip tape helps preserve the top layer of your longboard deck. Without grip tape, the constant friction between your shoes and the deck can rub off artwork or color, leaving the wood dirty and difficult to clean. Removing and replacing grip tape is also easy, making it a convenient choice.
If you prefer a more subtle look, clear grip tape or alternative options to traditional coarse grip tape, like Lucid Grip, can provide the necessary grip without ruining your shoes as quickly. Just be sure to seal the exposed wood with paint or varnish before applying grip tape to prevent dirt from becoming ingrained and your deck from looking grubby.
Alternatives to grip tape
When it comes to longboarding, having a grippy surface is crucial for secure footing and control. While traditional grip tape is the go-to choice for many riders, there are also alternatives available that provide different levels of grip and customization. In this article, we will explore some of the alternatives to grip tape for longboards, highlighting their features, benefits, and how they can enhance your riding experience.
1. Vicious Grip:
Vicious Grip is a popular alternative to traditional grip tape that offers an ultra-coarse grip to keep your feet firmly in place. Made from a silicon carbide formula, Vicious Grip provides exceptional traction and is suitable for riders who prefer an extremely grippy surface. It also comes in different colors, allowing you to personalize your longboard deck.
2. Skateboard Grip Paint:
Skateboard grip paint is a unique alternative that allows for precise adjustments to your grip. It comes in a liquid form and can be applied using a paintbrush or roller to create a customized grip pattern on your deck. This option is great for riders who want a more artistic and personalized touch to their grip.
3. Laser-Etched Grip:
Laser-etched grip is another alternative to conventional grip tape that offers both functionality and style. This method uses lasers to etch intricate patterns directly onto the surface of your longboard deck. Not only does it provide grip, but it also adds a visually appealing design that can make your board stand out.
4. Cork Grip:
Unlike traditional grip tape, cork grip offers a unique tactile experience for riders. This alternative is made from natural cork, providing a comfortable and cushioned feel under your feet. Cork grip also absorbs vibrations and impact, making it ideal for riders who want a smoother ride.
The clear grip is a popular alternative to traditional coarse grip tape for longboards. It comes in the form of a spray bottle and clear glass grit that you sprinkle on top of the sprayed liquid. This allows you to reveal the wood or bamboo top layer of your deck and let the design show through.
The clear grip provides a more mellow grip compared to traditional grip tape, so it’s important to consider the type of riding you do before opting for it. It’s ideal for riders who prefer a less aggressive grip feel.
One advantage of a clear grip is that it offers a unique and personalized look to your longboard. The clear grip dots or small clear patches can be strategically placed where your feet are positioned most of the time. This allows you to customize the grip pattern and show off the design of your deck.
Spray grip, paint additives, marine grips, adhesive pads
Spray grip, paint additives, marine grips, and adhesive pads are alternative options to traditional grip tape for providing grip on longboard decks. Spray grip is an easy-to-apply option that is particularly suitable for longboard decks with lots of curvature. While not as durable as real grip tape, it offers a quick and convenient solution. However, it’s important to note that the grip provided by the spray grip may not be as strong or long-lasting.
Paint additives, such as Sharkskin, can be mixed with paint to create a slip-resistant surface on the deck. This option is especially useful in wet or muddy conditions where standard grip tape may lose its effectiveness. It provides an enhanced grip and can withstand exposure to water and other elements.
Marine grips, originally designed for boat decks and jetskis, are also an excellent alternative to traditional grip tape. These grips are specifically engineered to provide superior traction even in wet environments. They offer a reliable and durable solution for longboard riders who frequently encounter wet or slippery conditions.
Deck refinishing, grip tape cutout
Deck refinishing is a great option for improving grip on your longboard. This process involves sanding or scoring the surface of your deck to create texture. By using sandpaper and abrasive tools, you can create a grippy surface that provides a secure footing. However, it’s important to note that deck refinishing requires woodworking skills and experience as it involves working with the deck’s surface.
Another option to improve grip is by cutting out parts of the grip tape on your longboard deck. By strategically removing sections of the grip tape, you can reveal the deck underneath, which can provide additional grip. This method allows you to personalize your grip tape design while also enhancing your grip on the longboard.
Some longboards do not have grip tape because they are made of wood, which is already challenging and provides enough grip without the need for additional tape. Moreover, many longboards without grip tape are intended for cruising rather than performing tricks.
Yes, it is possible to ride a longboard without grip tape. The use of grip tape is optional and some riders prefer the feel of the board without it. However, grip tape is recommended for riders who want maximum traction and stability while riding.
Yes, it is possible to replace grip tape on a longboard. However, the process may take some time and practice. You can use grip tape meant for handrails or the top of a skateboard and cover it with regular tape to protect the grip tape.
To remove grip tape glue from a longboard, you can use a hairdryer set to cool to help lift the glue off. A heat gun can be more effective. Alternatively, you can try using a hairdryer set to high and then use a lubricant to help the glue slide off.
Yes, you can put grip tape over existing grip tape on a longboard. However, you need to be careful not to layer too much grip tape as it can affect the performance and feel of the board.
Grip tape is an essential component of any longboard, providing the necessary traction and control for a smooth and safe ride. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or just starting out, the grip tape on your longboard is your best friend, keeping you in control and allowing you to push the limits of your skills.
So, next time you hit the streets or the skate park, make sure your longboard is equipped with quality grip tape and get ready to shred!
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