I’ve been playing with tail handles for quite a few years, ever since a surly guy named Sam Pae and I started insulting each other on the Standup Zone. Sam had started a thread talking about tail handles, wondering if anyone else was using them. I chimed in that I had added a strap to the tail of my board to grab when I was about to get mowed. Sam took offense to my thread-hopping, I yelled back, and we had a fine pissing match going until my strap trapped my hand in a big wave and nearly de-gloved three fingers. Oh. That’s why he didn’t like my comments. Abject apologies from me, magnanimous forgiveness from Sam, and I’ve been a proponent of Sam’s handles ever since. Turns out Sam is a great guy, and the injuries I sustained is exactly what he was concerned about. I shoulda listened.
Even with a good Sam Pae-style handle, there’s still a chance of getting your fingers trapped in the really big, double overhead stuff, so for the past year or so I’ve been playing with handles that are just bumps attached to the board. They worked, but that lead to something more like a stomp pad, and I’ve made several over the past few months. I considered doing something commercially, but that would require work. So I decided to share the build method instead of making something to sell.
Here’s a handle I added to my Foote 9.0′ surfboard
Another view. The spacer is a piece of black foam of the kind used for Outrigger Canoe seats. I covered it with deck pad material (the grey stuff) and then glued the pad material I had pulled up to glue the stomp handle down. That was mostly a cosmetic choice, but I’m sure it adds some reinforcement.
The build is simple. You make a foam wedge, cut a hole in the middle to stick your fingers into, lift up the tail of your deck pad, insert foam, cut the pad so it drops down into the hole, and glue everything down. With a little planning and artful foam trimming the cut into the pad can be just the flap that drops down into the handle void. I did way too much cutting and way too little planning with this handle, and it still works well and looks nice.