A Test Run Of Sympl Surf Accessories - Stab Mag

A Test Run Of Sympl Surf Accessories

Performance introduces itself to sustainability.

Words by Jack Mutschler

Today, I find myself spending less and less money on surf hardware. My leash isn’t to blame for the quality of my bottom turn; It’s the result of poor technique. To assume that a different traction pad or a lighter leash provides a significant impact on my abilities always felt foolish. 

That being said, meet Bologna. He’s been the pad on my daily driver for quite some time now. I went to a local shop three years ago and picked out the cheapest pad $14 could buy. I couldn’t even tell you what brand the pad is; let’s assume the B stands for Bologna.

Holy Bologna.

Luckily for my horrid collection of off-brand surf accessories, Sympl sent a magical assortment of goodies to the office last week. Like a toddler on Christmas, I wrestled with the cardboard, gnawed at the packing tape, and began sifting through the supply. I don’t have a 401k (I think), so these mystery boxes qualify as my employee benefits.

Inside the package was an assortment of traction pads. There was one in particular that caught my eye— the grovel pad. It’s a bit wider than the rest and carried its exaggerated measurements through the tail.

simple traction
Wide tail, wide pad. Photo by Sympl.

While Bologna met the minimum requirements of keeping my foot on the board, the pad was admittedly a touch narrow. Not only did it look ridiculous, but it also left pivotal spots for leverage over my board unaccounted for.

I know what you’re thinking, “Why not just space the pad out? It’s 3 separate pieces.”

Eh, not my style, for a couple of reasons. One, being the chance of my toes getting wedged in the weird crevice. I have small feet, size 7 to be exact; those lil guys can get stuck in anything.

Two, I don’t like the way it looks with space in between. Imagine opening a box of pizza to find small uneven gap between each slice—weird, right?

Sure, this ultra-wide Sympl pad was already doing wonders for my strange OCD brain, but there was no way in hell it was going to help my surfing.

Significantly more coverage.

 It was test time. I ripped off my withering Bologna traction and slapped on a new Sympl pad. Time to go out and not notice a difference, because hardware has a limited effect on your surfing; I wasn’t skeptical, I was certain. Besides the extra coverage near the rails, it would perform the same.

Anddddd I was wrong. There’s an extra lip in the kick, something I’ve never seen before on a tail pad. I don’t recall seeing this on any traction at local shops, and none of the numerous boards in the office have it either.

That lip adds a sprinkle of extra leverage. Plus, if you angle your foot into the little crevice properly, it causes your back knee to naturally fold in— like training wheels for that signature buckle that Craig Anderson and Mikey February flaunt. Not every surfer does this, but the ones who do have noticeably better board control; It’s the reason they surf with such poise.

Will this pad have you screaming down the face of a maxed-out wave at Kandui on a 5’4? Probably not, but it may spice up that stance and make your next Instagram photo look half decent.

Now, let’s talk leashes. If you thought Bologna was bad, get a load of this thing.

I purchased three of these bad boys for the price of one standard comp leash. Evidently, I’m not a leash connoisseur, but I found some highlights within the Sympl Re-Leash.

sympl leash
A tasteful, earth-friendly color palette. Photo by Sympl.

The first being aesthetic. “Look good, play good” doesn’t help your surfing, but it doesn’t hurt either. The colorways for these leashes had me drooling, and were a touch nicer than my previous leg rope.

The Re-Leash has a quality you can feel with your hands, a sleek design, and strong velcro. Seriously, after a long day of paddling, I struggled to get it off. The combination of noodle arms and a strong strap left me wrestling my ankle in the shore-break.

Is Sympl the only company to make a variety of traction pad shapes? No. Are they the only brand to offer a pretty leash? Again, no.

What sets them apart from the competition is their dedication to earth-friendly practices. Sympl has committed to using green materials and moved towards a fully sustainable supply chain.

The Eco-Good traction pad functions flawlessly and includes bio-degradable foam. This means that when it ends up in a landfill, as most traction pads do, it won’t be a nuisance for the earth.

As for the Re-Leash, it’s made of Repreve™ fabric integration. Repreve is made of recycled post-consumer plastics that are turned into an eco-friendly material.

Sympl‘s hardware range is everything a product should be: aesthetically pleasing, functional, and environmentally responsible.

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