Tech Talk: How to install a deck pad


What’s up everyone. Welcome to the Appletree Headquarters. My name is Wieger, co-founder of Appletree Surfboards. Today I’m going to show you in a tutorial video, how to install a deck pad on a kite surf board. This works equally well on a foil board or even on a normal surfboard. It’s just a quick explanation on how to stick nice, neatly and precisely pads to any surfboard.

What do you need to install a deck pad?

There are a couple of things you are going to need for this. In this case, our boards do not do not have a stringer, so that makes it a little bit harder to find the center line. But there are some tricks for that.

  • Some painters tape
  • A normal pencil
  • Something to clean the board like window cleaner (nothing too aggressive)
  • Deck pad
  • A solid stand helps a lot
  • Optional a ruler, it’s not really necessary

That’s about all you need. Make sure that the board is clean before you start. I usually clean it with some window cleaner. Try not to use too aggressive greasers, but a normal window cleaner is usually fine.


First step is finding the center line of the board

So first I’ve taken the pads out of the way. At our boards the leash blocks are centrely placed. So you can use that as a middle line. What you are going to do, is one edge of the tape on the nose, and one edge of the tape onto the back. Check if things are straight and push the tape on the board. One side of the painter tape will be your middle line, which we are going to use to align the painting.

Now we are making a few lines along the edge. These lines will fade off when you start kiting, so we are just going to leave them. We remove the tape again and check one more time if your line is straight, just by looking down the board.

Decide how you want to place the pads

Now it’s time to grab the pads. So our Appletree nine piece pads consist of nine separate pieces. They are put together with some tape. In this case we are doing an Appleflap noseless, which is quite a narrow board. So I’m gonna push all the parts together, but if you want to, you can also, space them out a little bit. But in this video we are just gonna do it together. I’m putting the pads on the board where I think I want to have them placed. And in this case, I want my tail pad as far to the back as possible and if I put them all together, I leave enough space for the logo. Now to make it a little bit more appealing to the eye, we are just gonna move the front pad forward and then eventually we put the middle section in the middle to have two nice rows there.

Which pad do you install first?

The number one thing that you want to do when you install a deck pad, is start with the middle sections. Because if you have the middle sections in the middle, the rest will easily follow. In our pads we have these holes in every pad. They are for inserts, but they are also the middle of the pads and make it super easy to find the middle of your board. So we are just going to take these apart and just use the middle bits for now.

Sticking the pads on the board

I’ve got the middle pieces here, so I’m looking down through the holes to find my center line. It’s there and now as an additional step, what you can do is just mark out two of the corners. Now with your two corners marked, peel back the backing of the pad, but only on one side. Now find your markings again, push down one side, so it just stays in place for now. Find your back marker again. Try to find your markers through the holes, lining up with your corner markers. Place one inch down. Now make sure you hold the end of the pad, so the whole pad is straight. Now carefully peel back and then push down, peel back, push down, constantly monitoring if you are still aligned with your center lines, peel back, push down, peel back, push down all the way till the entire pad sticks on the board. Here you go. That’s number one!

Deck pad on a surf board

How to decide the position of the front pad?

Now it’s time to line up the middle and the front section on your board. In this case, I would like the tip of the front section to end up right where the logo is, because it just makes it appealing to the eye. So again, find your markers, place them exactly in the middle, line it up and mark your corners. I usually mark these corners as well, because it doesn’t hurt to do a bit of extra marking. Here we go again, same trick. Peel back this end, place it on your markers. Stick it down. Light gently. Don’t push it down yet. Check if the marking is still correct. Now I usually hold down this end because with a long piece like this, it wants to move around a little bit. So I just peel it back like this, check the markings, stick down a bit further. And proceed that way, check your markings and stick down the pad.

And lastly the middle section, I usually eyeball it. If the spacing is equal peel back a little bit, find your markings, and stick down.

What if I make a mistake while I install a deck pad?

There we go. That’s the middle section done. Now the rest is super easy because if the middle section is straight, the other pieces will be very easy to stick against this middle section and we’ll finish it off. We’ll start with the back. What I do, again, I remove the backing and in this case, I’m just going to remove not in length, but from the side. From the inside outside, I remove the backing like that and come back to the board. If you make a little mistake, you can usually pull it off, but try not to do it too often because it will damage the tape. Carefully stick it in place on one edge, push that one down and then from the other side, pull back the backing. Same for the middle section.

Can I stick the pads into the grab rails?

Now for this front section it’s the same process. The only thing is, as you can see, this board has grab rails. We get a lot of questions about this. People asking if they can install a deck pad into the grab rails. The answer is yes, especially with our pads it’s really not a problem. They are thin and they’re very flexible. You can easily stick them into the grab rail and they will hold. Also we supply our pads with the highest quality 3m backing tape that is available. We never have problems with pads flying out, even though they are sometimes in a bit of a crazy corner. That is really not an issue, just be careful when you stick them down, that there is no tension in the pad. If you work from the middle outwards, you can push it down into the curve of the grab rail and this will eliminate any tension in the pad and then it will just stay on forever. I’ll show you how I do it.

Some last useful tips to install a deck pad

All the pads are on. Here some couple last tips. Make sure to push the pads down, thoroughly everywhere, especially on the edges where the water jets in because that’s the place where it does tend to come off, if it does come off. Another thing, the glue that’s on the pads is sort of activated by heat. So it’s a good idea to put your board in the sun for a couple of minutes, for the pads to warm up and then come back with your finger and push down again, especially on all the edges. Put some pressure, that will lock them on forever. If you’re pushing down and you find that there’s a little air bubble somewhere, which does sometimes happen just pop it with a needle. Do this because the air inside, when the sun hits it, it gets warm and it will expand and it can push the pad off. So it’s always a good idea to just remove those by popping them with a needle.

So that’s it. Pads are on, time to go surf! I hope you enjoyed this video. If you got any questions, put them in the comments below. We’ll try to answer all of them. If you like this video, give us a like and please follow our channel. We have got lots more videos and lots more talks coming along this year again. I hope to see you next time. Cheers.

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