Tailpads are generally accepted as essential by most surfers today, not only do they help you grip and feel your raft, they also help protect the thing from damage, even help you fi nd your comfortable back foot pozzy.
What you don’t want is for the thing to come unstuck. When that happens, it can pretty much ruin your session, your whole day, even your week, putting you in such a foul mood that might make you do a nasty thing like throwing your packed lunch sandwiches back in your mum’s face (for being soggy) or shooting your dog (for barking).
1. Prep. Clean the board properly with white spirit, especially if it’s been waxed. Even if it hasn’t and it’s brand new, white spirit it to get all the dust off from the factory. If you really want to be a gimp, you can even give the area a light sand to rough it up and improve adhesion. (White spirit the sanding dust off after). Avoid putting your grubby, oily finger and thumbprints on the area where your pad will go.
2. Lay it out and get happy with the position. Do not put the thing floating pointlessly a mile up from the leash plug. That’s crap. On your shortboard, you’ll probably want the thing as far back as poss to the leash plug. Look where the pros put theirs.
3. If you want to be really precise (and double gimpy) mark with a pencil as a guide.
4. Peel off the backing and stick him on, making sure you press down hard all over each piece and have no air bubbles. Be particularly careful at the area where the kick tail thingy meets the flat. This is often a problem area for coming unstuckiness.
5. Leave it overnight, or as long as you can. This optimises sticking.
6. Paddle out, make it rain!