G. Niblock on the L41 TipSUP Noserider. Photo: J. Chandler

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Clear Grip Peel and Stick Traction

UPDATE (5-8-2008): The original application is still in place and I've paddled and surfed my Olohe extensively since then. I haven't had one incident of Clear Grip failure, discoloration, peel up or "other". As a matter of fact, Angulo Hawaii is seriously investigating the purchase of die cut Clear Grip sections to put on the Angulo SUPs at the customer's request. These pre-cut applications would be available to non-Angulo SUP owners as well. A definite success story, and a great product.
Without some sort of traction pad, wax or deck pad, the finish on my Angulo Ohole is "slipperier than deer guts on a door knob" as my firefighter brother Tom used to say. The Nui is also capable of some nice nose rides but without something to keep my feet on the board slippage is guaranteed.

I didn't want to cover the pretty Tropical Blends wave graphic with a solid color and I'm liking a lot not having to use wax. I found a translucent, non-slip product called Clear Grip, installed it and so far it's working very well.

The first thing I did wrong was to not buy enough material to cover the nose in two, single continuous panels, which would have been a cleaner install. Instead I had to take the scraps and fill in the area that was not covered by the single pieces on each side of the deck. This wasn't the end of the world and it doesn't even look all that bad, but I would have rather had two single pieces for coverage. I think this would have diminished the chances of the material delaminating at the sharp edges although that has not been a problem...yet.

I couldn't find the material locally so I ordered it online from North Shore Inc. in Hood River Oregon. They retail the material in continuous pieces by the foot or in pre-packaged units. I bought four feet and I should have purchased six feet. According to the North Shore website the material is "...1/16" thick. Each piece is 10 1/2" wide and can be purchased by the foot or in pre-cut packs of 18" lengths. The 4 pack is suggested for a 6' board and 8 pack for an 8' board."

Application of the material was a cinch and I'm no craftsman. (Firemen use axes to break stuff not make stuff.) The instructions that come with the material are simple and easy to follow (also fireman proof). The material lays down nicely and the air bubbles rub out with no problem. The traction material and it's paper backing is clear enough so that I could lay it over the graphic and trace the outline of the area I wanted to cover. Then I cut out one side and used that as a template (upside down of course so they would be matching opposites) to cut the second side. I measured out a few landmarks on the board with a pencil so the Clear Grip would go down uniformly on each side. When I was done I just erased the marks off the board's finished surface.

I applied the Clear Grip a couple days ago and have SUPed once since then. I got up on the nose a few times and didn't slip. It felt solid and good up there. Additionally, I can see the wave graphic so the aesthetics of the SUP have not been compromised at all. As a matter of fact I wish I would have done this sooner as the graphic has experienced a number of small scratches from sand, my paddle and from contact with the rock reefs I surf over. The Clear Grip would have protected the graphic application much better than nothing at all.

Other folks have used Clear Grip to line and protect the rails on their SUPs. I would use this product again in a heart beat with a new board that needed traction in areas not covered at initial purchase and/or to cover a graphic design as a way to protect it from scratching.


  1. This is great information. I have seen the website for Clear Grip, and wondered if it was a good product. It looks good, and really is pretty clear. I'm working on a hollow wood SUP board, and this stuff might be just the ticket.

  2. Glad the info was helpful Andrew. If you remember I'd love to see a pic of your board when it is finished.

  3. Gary,
    John Ashley is sort of keeping track of my build progress over on his blog. Since I live in Santa Cruz, I'll do one better than a picture, I'll show it to you out in the line up. If you are interested in seeing it mid-build let me know.

  4. Okay, now I'm really going to be jealous!

  5. Andy
    I am absolutely interested in seeing it pre, mid, post-mid, whatever buildup or stage you're at. I'll get some pics and horn in on John's copyright on this breaking story.

    I've got a small scrap of the clear grip left. I can bring it over and we can see how it would look on the wood surface of your board.

    Email me at and we can make some arrangements. (Eat your heart out Johnny-Boy. You'll just have to come to Santa Cruz now...don't forget to bring the green board heh, heh.)

  6. Hah! You guys are funny! Get ready, I think there's some SURF coming- whooo hooo!

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