DIY Surfboard Traction from Scraps

So, I’ve been cutting a HUGE traction pad for my 9’2″ longboard from this SeaDek stuff made locally, normally used for tread on boats and other watercraft. It also works great for surfboard traction, and cuts and sands easy. I like it because I’m lazy about wax some days, especially on my longboards, and that always makes for some “Really, I meant to do that” maneuvers.
So, after cutting out my big traction pad, I had a bag o’ scraps leftover that I just couldn’t bear to throw away, plus some blue scraps leftover from another project. Some were pretty small, but the traction’s not the cheapest, so I seem to find some use for them. On a side note, if you have flat bar roof racks, a long strip across makes a great grippy, cushiony pad.
So with lots of small, odd shaped scraps, I decided to make some more art on my 5’8″ that can’t seem to hold wax to save it’s life. I was warned by the shaper that wax would have trouble sticking to the all over color on the epoxy, but found out that he was REALLY serious. I thought making some traction that was artsy fartsy might be fun and solve the problem.
At first, for this 3 mm traction, I tried using some extra heavy shape punches that you can find in the scrapbook section of most craft stores. Doesn’t work. The Martha Stewart XL punch almost made it through, but didn’t. So, I was forced with hand cutting a lot of pieces, which luckily, isn’t too hard with 3 mm.
After cleaning my my board thoroughly, getting rid of any wax (which wasn’t hard to do) I had my area mapped out- from the kick pad up to about the BAT logo:

The area I was putting the traction on

First, I printed out a couple of fish shapes in two sizes from my clip art on my computer, and cut them out.

Fish shapes

I traced these shapes (simplified a bit) onto some craft foam so my pencil would have some thickness to rest on when I used them as templates to trace the shapes onto the traction:

Cut out craft foam tracing templates
Traced shape ready to cut out from the traction

I cut out quite a few of these fish in the two different sizes, since I was aiming to cover that large area.
Next, I had some light blue scraps I wanted to make into bubbles around the fish. I did use a tool for some of the larger sized “bubbles”. It’s called a Rotary Cutter, and is used a lot by quilters to cut circles for applique, but also works well on this traction, which I was happy about. It’s essentially a compass with a wheel blade on the outside edge to cut the circle. I didn’t cut all the way through to the backing, just enough so I could peel the circles off like stickers.

Rotary cutter and circles cut in the traction

For small circles that were smaller that the rotary cutter could do, I used a plastic circle template (like you may have used in school!) to trace the other circles and hand cut them. I did manage to get my regular small hole punch to punch out really tiny dots too- I couldn’t believe it actually worked!
So here’s the finished traction that I will need to give at least 24 hours to cure before I can use it in the water:

Middle traction on the board completed

If I ever wanted to decorate a bathtub, I think I could do it now. Anyway, to those who say it’s going to give me terrible rash when I surf, I always surf in a rashguard and boardshorts so I don’t get charbroiled. Don’t you???

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