It’s time to learn about grip tape – how to clean, remove, select and apply it.
First, let’s start with…
Cleaning your griptape
Use a sanding belt cleaner. You can find these for a few bucks at your local hardware store or Amazon. There are even a few skate brands that white label these, Shake Junt, MOB, Grip Gum to name a few.
How to use it?
Rub the cleaner on your grip tape like an eraser.
Sometimes, you’ll have denser dirt spots, and the grip gum won’t help. In that case, you can use a toothbrush with a little water. You can even use a little dawn dishwasher detergent. Don’t go crazy with the water and soap, though.
Don’t go overboard cleaning your grip tape. If you are too aggressive, it’s easy to lessen the grip since it’s essentially an adhesive sheet with small crystal grains. Those crystals will fall off, lessening your grip.
Now that you know how to clean your grip tape, let’s move onto…
Selecting your griptape
Depending on what type of skating you’re doing, you might need a certain type of grip tape.
There are many brands, but to keep it simple, below are popular brands.
Jessup is the least course, often found on standard street skateboards. Grizzly and Diamond are slightly more course than Jessup. Mob griptape is the most course.
What size grip tape to get?
On most cruisers and street boards, standard skateboard griptape sheets work fine. But on boards that are wider than 10 inches and longer than 32 inches, standard griptape won’t work.
Longboard-specific griptape is best used when regripping your board. If longboard-specific griptape is not an option, you have a few alternatives. Grab at least 2 sheets of standard skateboard griptape. Use a ruler to mark the board’s width on the length griptape. Cut using a pair of scissors.
Longboard-specific griptape is best for longboards. Madrid flypaper is the most widely available longboard griptape that works well on cruisers and street boards. The grip itself feels like diamond or grizzly griptape in regards to grip, but it is much thicker. This tape is also available in many different sizes.
Griptape for Downhill/Freeride
Viscous griptape is the most course and best suited for downhill and slides. If you have a
Mob on the tail and Jessup on the rest is a Jacksonville, Florida trend. This gives you more grip where you need it, and less where you don’t on street boards. The same could be applied to surf skates. Viscous on the tail and flypaper on the front could simulate a traction pad.
If you want to do longboard dancing, having a lower grit griptape like Jessup in the middle would be optimal, but you could put mob, Madrid, or viscous grip on the nose and tail to help with tricks. Mixing and matching your griptape can help you further dial your setup to your style.
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Removing your griptape
Removing your griptape is simple. It sticks to your board with an adhesive, so the best way to get it off is to heat it up.
Common methods are using a hair dryer, heat gun, or leaving it in the sun.
It’s always tricky to start, so I’ll use a razor to peel up one end. Depending on the adhesive, you could either put one hand on your deck and peel or put your deck on the ground to get leverage and slowly peel it back.
Often you’ll have some leftover adhesive residue, which isn’t a big deal, you can still apply a new sheet over it, but I still like to get it off.
The best option is to use Goo Gone. If you don’t have it, you can use wd-40, lighter fluid, alcohol, and acetone, although those options could ruin your finish, so use it as a last resort.
Applying your griptape
Before installing the new grip, now is a good time to refinish the board. Sand the edges with 200 grit sandpaper, and finish with 800 grit up. Fill in the chips with 2-part epoxy, jb weld, or super glue. Coat the board in lacquer or polyurethane to protect the deck from water.
Griptape art is best done before installing the grip. Paint pens are the best for this.
Lightly place on edges – easier to pull up if a mistake is made. Scrape edges to make the outline visible.