How to apply grip tape to a skateboard

So you just got a new skateboard deck?

And now you need to grip it? Yeah, you're in the right place.

Listen. People who don't skate don't know that gripping your board is an art and a badge of honor.

Every skater has their own way of making their setup unique.

And you'll feel empowered once you learn how to do it.

You may feel a little odd jumping into this today. No worries, you got this! (Bonus points for adults: your kids will think you're rad.)

Let's go.

Video: watch how to grip a board

Kyle Ayling showing you how to put grip tape on a skateboard

Tools you'll need to put grip tape on a skateboard

Flat file

Retractable blade knife

Pointed tip screwdriver

1. Prep your skateboard deck

Let's get your new skateboard ready to use.

Remove any plastic wrapping, stickers, or packaging that came on your skateboard deck.

You want it to be clean and gunk-free.

Remember, you can't put grip tape on top of grip tape. It won't stick.

2. Place your grip tape on your board

Grab your sheet of skateboard grip tape and peel off the backing paper to expose the sticky adhesive.

Save the backing paper; you'll need it later.

Hold the grip tape longways and hover over the top of your new deck. Make sure it's centered.

Stick the grip tape to the nose of the board, then to the tail.

This will allow you to see if you're centered or need to readjust it.

3. Press your grip in place

If you love how it looks, then you're ready for the most critical step.

Grab your backing paper and lay it over the top of your grip.

Begin by pressing down in the center of the board and rub your hands outward.

Do this until your grip is 100% applied to the top of your skateboard.

4. File your grip tape

It's time to file your grip. Take the flat file and rub it around the edge of your skateboard.

It'll leave a white guideline to make for easy cutting.

The more you file it, the easier it'll cut. Don't get carried away, you can file through the grip. So use caution.

5. Cut your grip

Take your retractable blade knife (or razor blade) and poke it through the bottom of your grip tape.

Place it along the edge of your skateboard at a 45° angle.

You can cut the grip in sections or one full piece, whichever is more comfortable for you.

Follow the edge of the board with your knife until your board is all the way cut out.

Assemble Your Skateboard

Take the excess grip and rub the grip around the edge of your skateboard.

You want to make sure your grip is 100% applied to your board. This will keep it from peeling up later.

Now look over your fresh gripped skateboard for any air bubbles.

Put your board on the ground and step on it. The pressure can find and release air bubbles your eyes can't see.

Now, take the pointed tip screwdriver and poke the holes for your truck hardware.

Always do this from the top of your skateboard, down.

Pick up any garbage you created along the way.

Recycle anything you can. Everything else... throw it in the trash.

Now put your skateboard together. Add some cool stickers to make your board more personal. And that's how you put grip tape on a skateboard.

If this is your first time gripping a board or you're learning to skateboard, you got this!

Grip a Skateboard FAQ

No. Please don't put grip on top of grip. It won't stick and you'll be out the money for the grip.

Yes, you should put grip tape on every skateboard deck, regardless of what you plan on doing with it.

All skateboard grip tape has a pressure-sensitive sticky backing. Peel off the backing paper to expose it. Stick it to the top of your deck. And apply pressure to secure it in place.

Pro skateboarders do use grip tape when they set up their skateboards. While the style, brand, and customization may vary from pro to pro, they all use it.

Sure, but please don't. You won't get the precise cut you would with a retractable blade knife or a razor blade. Also, you'll run the risk of the grip peeling up.

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