Griptape is a kind of emery or sandpaper which is glued to the top side of a skateboard deck. It gives you secure footing and allows you to perform various tricks.
What is griptape made of?
The rough surface of griptape typically consists of silicon carbide and provides resistance and friction between your deck and the soles of your shoes.
Without this friction, it’d be extremely hard to get your deck into the air.
Griptape comes in different colours, with different prints and graphics, brand logos, or even with small cut-outs.
Since some brands are coming out with decks with increasingly elaborate graphics and designs, transparent griptape is also becoming quite popular.
A standard sheet of griptape is 9″ x 33″ (22.8cm x 83.8cm) in size, making it suitable for virtually all decks.
For wider decks and longboards there are also larger sheets with different levels of granularity.
You should not, however, use ultra-rough longboard griptape for normal skateboarding, unless you’re willing to buy a new pair of shoes every week.
Griptape: Wear & Tear, Replacement, Cleaning
2. Wear & Tear, Replacement, Cleaning
Over time, griptape wears out due to the constant friction between its surface and your shoes, slowly but surely, smoothing the grain.
Tricks will become more difficult and imprecise as your griptape wears down. Don’t panic though, this doesn’t mean you immediately need to get a new deck. New griptape can often work wonders.
Worn out griptape is best removed by using a hair dryer.
The hot air liquefies the adhesive, allowing the griptape to easily peel off. Then you can simply apply a new layer of grip tape.
Tip: In the event that a small amount of adhesive residue is left on the deck, you have two options.
Option 1: Apply the new griptape directly on top of it. Option 2: Rub down the residue with nail polish remover and scrape it off carefully afterwards.
In order to keep your griptape in top condition, you should always make sure that your shoes are free of dirt and grime before skating.
Otherwise, it’ll be ground into your griptape, not only leaving unsightly marks, but also reducing the resistance and friction.
If you do end up with dirty griptape, you can use a conventional shoe or household cleaning brush to carefully clean your board.
Just ask your parents; there’s definitely one floating around your house somewhere.
Griptape: Application and Avoiding Bubbles
3. Applying Griptape to your deck and preventing bubbles
To avoid bubbles when applying your griptape, you should make sure that you apply the sheet in small increments. This way, you avoid trapping air between the griptape and deck. Should small bubbles occur nevertheless, you can fix it by poking a small hole in the bubble with your griptape cutter, allowing the air to escape.
If all of this seems too complicated for your taste, you can also use an anti-bubble grip tape. In this case, continuous perforation in the griptape ensures that no bubbles can form when applying it. Any excess air between the deck and the griptape can easily escape through tiny holes in the tape.
P.S. In the skatedeluxe Skate Shop, you’ll receive free griptape with the purchase of any deck! SK8DLX brand griptape is perforated, so you won’t have to worry about bubbles at all.