Kickflip-Ready Grip: Techniques for Applying and Cutting Grip Tape

kickflip ready grip techniques for applying and cutting grip tape

Your grip tape plays a major role in your skateboarding experience. It helps your shoes grip the skateboard deck and gives you the traction you need to nail those kickflips. If your skateboard is in need of some new grip tape, but you don’t know exactly how to apply or cut it, this is the article for you. We’ve scoured the internet for grip tape application and cutting techniques and will share our findings with you in this article. 

As easy as applying and cutting grip tape can be, there is a right and wrong way to go about it. So, if you’ve got a new skateboard deck or new tape you want to try out, you’ve got a lot to learn. We’ll cover absolutely everything you need to know. By the end, you’ll have smooth and secure grip tape to give you the security you need as you ride. 

Full Grip Tape Application and Cutting for Beginners

Applying and cutting your grip tape requires you to take specific steps in the right order. Doing so will ensure that your skateboard deck is properly prepped and ready and that your tape stays put for the long haul. Here are the steps to follow for beginners: 

Clean Your Skateboard Deck 

Take a few minutes and clean your skateboard deck, which should already be free of grip tape. To do so, you’ll need some water and a toothbrush. The goal is to ensure that the board is free of visible dirt or other debris. If the skateboard is extremely soiled, don’t be afraid to spend a little extra time on the scrubbing – rinse in between scrubbing sessions. 

Ensure the Skateboard Deck is Completely Dry 

Now that your skateboard is clean, it’s time to dry it. Start by wiping it down with an absorbent towel to remove surface moisture. Then, allow it to sit for a while until all the rest of the moisture evaporates. Once you’re sure your skateboard deck is 100% dry, you can move to the next step. 

Prepare the Grip Tape  

With your board clean and dry, it’s time to apply the grip tape. Begin by peeling the backing paper from the underside of the grip tape. Doing so will reveal the sticky side of the tape. Be careful during this step; you don’t want to accidentally adhere the tape to your skin, clothes, or other objects around you. 

Plan out How the Tape will Sit 

Stand or kneel over your skateboard and plan out how the grip tape will sit. There will be a bit of overhang – try to ensure it’s even on all sides of the board. Don’t stick the tape to the board yet. 

Apply the Grip Tape 

Very lightly apply the grip tape to the board at both ends. Start pressing the tape into the middle of the board and then move out to either side. This method reduces bumps, ensuring a smooth finish and good adhesion. Be sure to use some elbow grease as you’re applying the tape.

Further Smooth the Tape 

It’s not enough to smooth the grip tape with your hands and pray it stays. If you have access to a credit card or something else firm and flat, you can use it to smooth the tape further. The purpose of this step is to ensure there are no bubbles and ensure a long-lasting, professional-quality seal. 

Score the Edges of Your Skateboard Deck

If you have access to an Allen wrench, use it to score your skateboard deck’s edges. To do this, you’ll hold the skateboard with your non-dominant hand and firmly rub the allen key along the edges of your deck (on top of the tape). This step shouldn’t take more than a few seconds. 

Cut the Excess Grip Tape Off and Sand

Cut the excess grip tape off of the edges of the skateboard deck. This should be done at a 45-degree angle, using the scoring guidelines you made in the previous step. Try to finish the cut in one or two passes. Then, sand the edges of the grip tape to ensure a smooth finish and reduce lifting. You’ll do this with some of the leftover grip tape. 

Quick Grip Tape Application

Are you in a hurry? Then, you need a grip tape application method that takes 5 minutes or so. This method we’ll outline below is for when you’ve got a new board deck and need to get the grip tape on right away. 

  1. Grab your grip tape and cut it to the shape of the skateboard. 
  2. Remove the backing from one edge of the tape and press the tape into one end of the skateboard deck. Be very precise with this step – if the tape is uneven at one end, the whole application will be uneven. 
  3. Continue peeling off the tape’s backing as you continue to press the tape into the deck. 
  4. When you get to the other end of the skateboard deck, smooth the tape with a credit card or other hard, straight edge to remove bubbles. 
  5. Sand the edges of the tape to reduce the chances of lifting over time. 

Mistakes to Avoid When Applying Grip Tape to a Skateboard

We’ve covered what to do when applying grip tape to a skateboard. Now, it’s time to get into what not to do. Keep reading to minimize frustration and ensure a clean result. 

  • Leave bubbles behind after the tape application. These bubbles are unsightly and can lead to premature tape lifting. If you’re not able to smooth the bubbles out during the tape application, you can poke tiny holes in them to allow the air to escape and then smooth the tape once more. 
  • Use a dull knife to cut the tape – you’ll be cutting tape all day. Use a sharp knife and be very careful. 
  • Skip the scoring step. Scoring helps to create a cutting guideline and makes the tape adhere better to the edges of the deck. 
  • Not ensuring that the deck is clean and dry before application. The tape won’t stick well to a wet or dirty deck. 

So, there you have it – how to cut and apply grip tape to your skateboard. If you follow the aforementioned steps to the letter, grip tape application will be a cinch. We hope you found all the information you were looking for, and we wish you the best as you explore the wonderful world of skateboarding.

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