The Ultimate Longboard Grip Tape Guide
Get a Grip Dude
Griptape is one of the lightly explored, highly overlooked parts of the skateboard world. There is a different type of griptape that caters to every riding style out there, but people seem to divide it into two categories: Vicious, and Jessup. Grit ratings range from 12 grit to approximately 1000 grit, but grip tape ranges from 24 grit to about 80 grit.
Brand, Grit, and Particle Size Breakdown
24 Grit: Gator Super Coarse XC, Diablo Extra Course
30 Grit: Older Version of Black Vicious
36 Grit: New Black Vicious, New Clear Vicious, Gator Grip Coarse, Thumb Cutter
40 Grit: Red Vicious, Blood Orange, Diablo Course Belt Sander
50 Grit: Loaded Course (Chubby Unicorn)
60 Grit: Gator Standard (Colored), Bustin
80 Grit: Jessup, MOB, Most Street Board Grip
So Which One is Good for me?
Now comes the fun part, deciding which griptape suits your needs. The grip that you will want to choose is based almost entirely on what type of riding you will be doing, as well as personal preference. Generally speaking 24-40 grit is for fast freeride and downhill, whereas 50-80 is for slow freeride, technical freeride, freestyle, cruising, etc. With that being said, I know many people who use vicious for slow technical freeride, and people who use less coarse griptape for downhill and fast freeride.
These generalizations are formed based on the coarseness of the grip, and how much grip you generally want between the board and your shoes. The lower the grit, the better you grip – unless it’s wet, then it depends on the exterior coating, which varies from one company to the next; but for the most part, is epoxy based.
For cold or wet weather I have found that Clear Vicious works the best. In dry, warm conditions, it does not feel quite as sticky as Black Vicious or other grip tapes in the same 36 grit category. I personally prefer 36 grit and under for freeride and my favorite grip is probably 24 grit Diablo Belt Sander. It costs about $10 a pack at the local home improvement store and will last you forever. To get it on the board just use some 3M spray-adhesive and stick it on. You can also use Gorilla Glue but BE CAREFUL because Gorilla Glue will PERMANENTLY attach the grip tape to the board.
For freestyle I personally like grip in the 50-65 grit range simply because it doesn’t allow your feet to slip across the board as easily as 80 grit, but is not as coarse as grip ranging below 40 grit. On the other hand, a low grit for freestyle will destroy your shoes (and possibly your hands). This is why brands such as Original, that sell very freestyle oriented boards, grip them with an 80 grit grip tape. This allows you to easily move your feet across the board and easily release from the board for tricks such as Tiger-Claws and 360 slide shuvits.
In the end, griptape is based entirely on opinion and personal riding style. There is no “best grip tape,” only the best griptape for your riding style. You should assess your needs based on how much grip you need, what your riding style is, and where you need it on your board. If you cannot determine what your needs are, I would go with some 40-50 grit, because with a middle range grip, you receive a happy medium and the best of both worlds.
Skate safe, shred hard, and stay STOKED! Head on over to the web store and check out the selection of grip to find something that suits your specific needs!
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