Review: Van Der Waal Surf Grip – a Wax Alternative

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We are all used to tail pads. Most of people use them, they give traction to your back foot, they help you place it just right…only rarely you see a board without one. But to put a grip over your whole surfboard? An idea like that brings back memories of times when people in fact did grip their whole boards and these grips looked basically just like giant tail pads or in other words they looked ridiculous. But today this is no longer so. I got my hands on some surf grip from Van der Wall. Van der Wall is a Portuguese company that makes modern day surf grip that replaces the usual surf wax. With my love of wax scent (go here for a full surfboard waxing guide) I was a bit skeptical to try it but the first thing that convinced me was the fact that Waal hexagon grip stickers looked fcking sick! :)

Se here is my review of the surfboard deck grip – is it just the looks, or does it also work?

25 grips in a nice little box

Van der Waal it’s a a clear non-skid alternative to wax, easy to install and with almost no maintenance. It’s clear (white transparent) witch means that your board will always look like new. The grip doesn’t melt, so you won’t have wax on your sock, boardbag, car, wetsuit etc… It also doesn’t get sticky or dirty, so your board will always be clean.

Waal have made a list of surf grip benefits over regular surf wax:

  • Doesn’t gather sand, hair or other debris.
  • Although it has the same traction as wax, Van Der Waal doesn’t get sticky or dirty, so your board is always clean.
  • Doesn’t stain
  • Because it doesn’t melt in the sun, it won’t stain other surfaces it comes in contact with
  • Your surfboard will look great
  • Van Der Waal is white transparent. It won’t cover your board design or logos so your board will look exactly like it did when you bought it.
  • More eco friendly than wax – most wax bars are made with high environmental impact components such as petroil.
  • High grip – traction increases when wet!
  • It lasts longer – one purchase of Van Der Waal will last about a year if you surf 2 or 3 times a week.
  • Skin & Wetsuit Friendly
  • Temperature Independent – cold or hot water, this surf grip always works.
  • Easy to install
  • Affordable price – depends on how “heavy waxer” are you but in long term you will save money.
  • Light weight – 5gr / hexagon, when apllied it has similar weight as a fully waxed surfboard.

I have decided to put the grip on my 5’10” Fat Fat, a chubby round nose high volume board that I surf in the Mediterranean when the waves are small and weak. Which is very often :). So first I needed to clean the board of all the wax and then it was time to put on the Waal grip.

Box with instructions, a Y template and Wall surf grip stickers

To apply the grip first arrange the stickers on the deck to suit your need and to see how you want to place them.

Wall grip comes in hexagon stickers that you can/must arrange on the board to suit your need. You can get as many stickers as you want and you could theoretically cover your whole deck in stickers, you can even cut them in half to reach all the places you need. But that would be a waste of grip, 25 stickers that came in the box covered a huge general area where my front foot is usually placed and I haven’t stepped of it yet.

Then it is time to start the peel and stick. Use the Y shaped template to place the hex stickers evenly.

This is how the finished deck looks like.

It’s really easy and it looks great.

Before the first session. The tail pad looks embarrassingly dirty :)

Now to the most important question – does the grip work? Yes, it does. When it is dry it does not feel as sticky as regular wax and when you jump in the water and start to paddle the board doesn’t stick to your belly as good as with regular wax but after a few minutes when it gets wet the grip improves and when I stood up and rode a few waves I could not feel any difference in grip between Van der Waal stickers and regular wax. There is one more test it needs to pass though, right now the water temps around here are in the thick booties, gloves and hood range, so I’ll have to wait to test it without booties (I’ll post an update when this happens).

Thanks to Van der Waal for the test piece & thumbs up for great produc, you can get your own set of hex surf grip stickers on

PS: there is another benefit of using Waal surf grip… “Hey, can I borrow some wax?”, “Nah, I don’t use it, sorry mate.”

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