how to put grip tape on a skateboard

Introduction

Riding a skateboard is a balancing act on wheels. It takes not only skills but also the right gear and equipment to ride smoothly and safely. One essential component of your skateboard that is often overlooked is the grip tape. This is a crucial part of your board that can significantly affect your skateboarding experience.

This blog post will take you through a comprehensive guide on how to apply grip tape to your skateboard deck, a fundamental task any skateboarder should know. Whether you’re a professional skateboarder, an a skate shop enthusiast, or a beginner starting out, this guide will provide insights into the art of applying grip tape to a skateboard deck.

Importance of Properly Gripping a Skateboard Deck

Skateboarding is not just a sport, it’s an art, a lifestyle. And like any other sport, mastering it requires not only skill but also the right gear. A properly gripped skateboard deck is key to controlling your board and performing tricks effectively.

If your skateboard deck isn’t well-gripped, you could easily lose your footing and slip off the board. This can lead to not just missed tricks and disappointing performances, but also serious injuries. That’s why it’s so important to ensure your skateboard deck has a high-quality grip tape applied correctly.

A well-gripped deck provides friction between your shoes and the board, making it easier for you to manoeuvre the skateboard, execute tricks, and maintain your balance while riding. Without proper grip, even the most seasoned skateboarders would have difficulty showcasing their skills.

About Skateboard Grip Tape

What is Grip Tape and Its Role in Skateboarding

Grip tape is a granular material with an adhesive back that you apply to the top of your skateboard deck. It’s typically black and feels similar to sandpaper, although it comes in various colors and designs. The primary purpose of grip tape is to provide traction for your feet on the board.

Without grip tape, a skateboard deck is just a smooth piece of wood, and it would be challenging to keep your feet from slipping while riding. This makes the grip tape a vital part of the skateboard, particularly when performing tricks that require a lot of foot movement, like kickflips or ollies.

The role of grip tape in skateboarding is simple but significant: it creates friction between the skateboard deck and your shoes, allowing you to maintain control, execute tricks, and even helps in creating spin during certain tricks.

Different Types of Grip Tape and Their Features

There are different types of grip tape available in the market, each with unique features that suit various skateboarding styles and needs. The most common type is the standard grip tape. It’s affordable, easy to apply, and provides a good grip for general skateboarding. Standard grip tape typically comes in a black, sandpaper-like texture, but can also be found in various colors and designs.

Then, there’s the longboard grip tape, designed specifically for longboards. These are typically wider and longer, and the grip may be coarser to accommodate the different riding styles of longboarding.

Lastly, there’s clear grip tape, which is becoming increasingly popular among skateboarders. It offers the same grip level as the standard type but allows the deck’s top graphics to show through, providing more opportunities for personal expression.

Each type of grip tape has its benefits, and the choice ultimately depends on your personal preference, skateboarding style, and the type of board you have.

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Preparing the Skateboard Deck

Cleaning the Deck Surface

Before applying new grip tape, you need to prepare your skateboard deck. This starts with cleaning the surface of the deck. Remove any dust, dirt, or debris that might be on the board, as these could hinder the grip tape from sticking properly.

Using a dry cloth, wipe down the entire surface of the deck. For stubborn dirt or grime, you may use a slightly damp cloth, but make sure to dry the deck thoroughly afterwards. It’s crucial that the board is completely dry before the application of the grip tape to ensure it adheres properly.

Removing Old Grip Tape (if applicable)

If your skateboard already has grip tape that needs to be replaced, you’ll need to remove the old one first. Start by using a hairdryer to heat up a corner of the grip tape. This will loosen the adhesive, making it easier to peel off.

Once a corner is loose, start peeling off the grip tape. Try to do this in one piece if possible to make the process easier and cleaner. If the grip tape breaks or tears, simply heat up the next section and continue peeling.

After removing the old grip tape, there might be some residue left on the deck. You can remove this by lightly dabbing it with the sticky side of the removed grip tape or by using a skateboard cleaner specifically designed for this purpose.

Smoothing Out any Imperfections

Once you’ve removed the old grip tape and cleaned the deck, you should inspect the surface for any imperfections such as splinters, rough spots, or peeling paint. These imperfections can interfere with the adhesion of the new grip tape.

If you find any rough spots, lightly sand them down with a fine-grit sandpaper until they are smooth. Make sure to wipe down the deck afterwards to remove any dust or debris created by the sanding.

Peel off the Backing Paper

Step-by-Step Guide to Peeling off the Backing Paper

The next step in applying grip tape to your skateboard deck is to peel off the backing paper. Start by holding the grip tape by its shortest sides. Find the split in the backing paper, usually located at one end of the grip tape.

Begin to peel off the backing paper, but only remove a small portion at first. Make sure not to touch the adhesive side to avoid getting it dirty or less sticky.

Continue to gradually peel off the backing paper as you apply the grip tape to the deck. This will help prevent the grip tape from sticking to itself or getting stuck in the wrong position on the skateboard.

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Applying the Grip Tape

Step 1: Positioning the Grip Tape on the Deck

Once you’ve peeled off a portion of the backing paper, it’s time to position the grip tape on the skateboard deck. Start at one end of the skateboard deck grip tape, and slowly lay the grip tape down on the board, peeling the backing paper off as you go.

Try to position the grip tape so it covers the entire surface of the deck. It’s okay if the grip tape overlaps the edges of the deck, as you will trim off any excess later.

Take your time with this step. It’s important to get the grip tape in the right position, as repositioning it after it has stuck to the deck can be difficult and might weaken the adhesive.

Step 2: Smoothly Pressing and Sticking the Grip Tape

Once the grip tape is positioned correctly, it’s time to press it down onto the deck. Start from the middle of the board and work your way out towards the edges. This will help prevent any bubbles or wrinkles from forming.

Using the palm of your hand or a skate tool, apply pressure to the grip tape to make sure it adheres well to the deck. Be sure to press down firmly but not too hard, as you might risk tearing the grip tape.

Make sure to press down every inch of the grip tape, especially around the edges and on the nose and tail of the skateboard. This will ensure put grip is a tight and secure fit.

Step 3: Trimming Excess Grip Tape for a Clean Finish

Once the grip tape is firmly pressed onto the skateboard deck, you’ll probably have some excess grip sheet and tape hanging over the edges. It’s now time to trim this off to give your board a clean and professional look.

Using a razor blade or box cutter, carefully cut around the edges of the deck. Hold the blade at an angle for the best results and ensure that you’re cutting away from yourself to avoid any injuries. It’s best to make small cuts and go slowly to ensure a clean and straight edge.

Once you’ve cut all the way around the deck, peel off the excess grip tape. You can also go over the edges with a piece of sandpaper to smooth them out and give them a finished look.

Final Touches and Finishing Steps

Ensuring Proper Adhesion and Eliminating Bubbles

After trimming the excess grip tape, you may notice some air bubbles or areas where the grip tape has not adhered properly to the deck. These can be fixed by puncturing the bubble with a razor blade and then pressing down on it to push out the air and stick the grip tape to the deck.

For larger bubbles, you may need to make a small cut in the grip tape to allow the air to escape. After the air is out, press down firmly on the grip tape to ensure it sticks to the deck.

It’s crucial to address any bubbles or loose spots, as they can lead to the grip tape peeling off over time or cause issues when skateboarding.

Smoothing the Edges and Corners of the Grip Tape

The final step in applying grip tape to your skateboard deck is to smooth out the edges and corners. This not only gives your board a professional look, but also ensures the grip tape won’t peel up from the edges.

Use a piece of old grip tape or a skate tool with a file edge and run it along the edges of the deck. This process, known as “scuffing,” creates a smooth edge and ensures the grip tape is firmly adhered to the skateboard deck.

Make sure to go over all the edges of the skate deck, including the nose and tail. Be careful not to file too much, as this could tear the grip tape or damage the skateboard deck.

Maintenance and Care Tips

Maintaining Grip Tape for Longevity and Performance

Just like the rest of your skateboard, your grip tape requires regular maintenance to ensure it stays in good condition and continues to provide a good grip.

It’s important to keep your grip tape clean. Dust, dirt, and debris can accumulate on the surface, reducing its effectiveness. You can clean your grip tape using a grip tape cleaner or a soft wire brush. Avoid using water, as this can weaken the adhesive and cause the grip tape to peel off.

Regularly check your grip tape for any signs of wear and tear. If you notice any spots where the grip tape is worn out or peeling off, it may be time to replace it.

Cleaning and Removing Dirt or Debris

In order to clean your grip tape, first remove any loose dirt or debris by slapping the deck with your hand or tapping it against a hard surface. For stubborn dirt or stains, use a grip tape cleaner or a soft wire brush and gently scrub the affected area.

Avoid using water or other liquids to clean your grip tape, as this can weaken the adhesive and cause the grip tape to peel off. After cleaning, allow your grip tape to dry completely before using your skateboard.

Conclusion

Importance of a Well-Applied and Maintained Grip Tape for Skateboarding Performance

Applying grip tape to your skateboard deck is an essential skill that every skateboarder should master. It not only enhances your skateboarding performance by providing the necessary friction for tricks and maneuvers, but it also adds a personal touch to your complete skateboard, reflecting your style and personality.

Maintaining your grip tape is just as important as applying it. Regular cleaning and checking for wear and tear can prolong its lifespan and ensure it continues to perform at its best.

Remember, skateboarding is not just about the tricks you can do, but also about how well you take care of your gear. With a well-applied and maintained grip tape, you’re one step closer to mastering the art of skateboarding.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Q: How often should I change my skateboard’s grip tape?

A: The frequency at which you should change your grip tape depends on how often you use your skateboard and the type of skateboarding you do. If you skateboard daily and do a lot of tricks, you might need to change your grip tape every 3 to 6 months. If you skate less frequently or mostly cruise, your grip tape might last up to a year or more. However, always check for signs of wear and tear, like peeling edges or smooth spots, and replace the grip tape when necessary.

2. Q: Can I apply grip tape on a used skateboard deck?

A: Yes, you can apply grip tape on a used skateboard deck. However, you must ensure the deck is clean and free of old grip tape and adhesive residue. Any dirt or residue could hinder the new grip tape from sticking properly to the new deck itself.

3. Q: Can I use water to clean my grip tape?

A: It’s best to avoid using water to clean your grip tape. Water can seep into the adhesive, causing the grip tape to peel off. Instead, use a grip tape cleaner or a soft wire brush to remove dirt and debris.

4. Q: Is it necessary to smooth the edges of the grip tape after application?

A: Yes, smoothing the edges of the grip tape is important. It not only gives your board a finished, professional look, but also prevents the grip tape from peeling up from the edges.

5. Q: Can I use any type of grip tape on my skateboard deck?

A: While any grip tape can technically be used on a skateboard deck, it’s best to choose one that suits your skateboard type and skateboarding style. Different types of grip tape offer different features and benefits, so make sure to choose one that best suits your needs.

6. Q: What should I do if bubbles appear after applying the grip tape?

A: If bubbles appear after applying the grip tape, you can puncture them with a razor blade and then press down to push out the air and ensure the grip tape sticks to the deck. For larger bubbles, you may need to make a small cut in the grip tape to allow the air to escape.

7. Q: Is it okay to use colored or patterned grip tape?

A: Absolutely! Colored or patterned grip tape can add a personal touch to your skateboard. Just make sure it offers the same level of grip and durability as standard black grip tape.

8. Q: Can I use sandpaper instead of grip tape?

A: While sandpaper has a similar texture to grip tape, it’s not designed to withstand the pressures and friction of skateboarding. Its adhesive might not be strong enough to stick to the skateboard deck, and it may wear out quickly. Therefore, it’s recommended to use grip tape specifically designed for skateboarding.

  1. How To Grip a Skateboard Deck | Presented by MOB Grip: This YouTube video provides a visual guide on how to apply grip tape to a skateboard deck.
  2. How to apply griptape to a skateboard: This blog post from Cloud 9 Griptape provides a step-by-step guide on applying grip tape to a skateboard.
  3. 3 Ways to Put Griptape on a Skateboard: This WikiHow article provides three different methods for applying grip tape to a skateboard.
  4. How To Apply Skateboard Grip Tape: This guide from Warehouse Skateboards provides detailed instructions on how to apply grip tape to a skateboard deck.
  5. How to Grip a Skateboard: A Step-by-Step Instructive Guide: This guide from TACTICS provides a step-by-step guide on how to apply grip tape to a skateboard deck.
  6. How to put grip tape on a skateboard deck: This article from SurferToday provides a guide on how to apply grip tape to a skateboard deck.
  7. How To Put On Skateboard Griptape – SkatePro: This guide from SkatePro provides instructions on how to apply grip tape to a skateboard deck.
  8. How to Apply Griptape to a Skateboard Deck: This article from Skate Warehouse provides a guide on how to apply grip tape to a skateboard deck.
  9. How to apply grip tape to a skateboard deck: This guide from Skatewarehouse.co.uk provides a step-by-step guide on how to apply grip tape to a skateboard deck.
  10. How to Install Grip Tape Like a Friggin’ Pro: This YouTube video provides a visual guide on how to apply grip tape to a skateboard deck like a professional.
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