“ Brand: Volcom / Equipment Type: Accessory „
A cheerleader met a snowboarder, and while she had no hope of getting him into Lycra, he succeeded, quite quickly in getting her on a snowboard. A few months later, he bought her her own snowboard, because he was so very nice like that. The cheerleader thought she had mastered the lift quite well by that point, and so was puzzled when she staggered as she went to get on it and off it with her new snowboard. The snowboarder smirked but when they got to the top and were strapping back in together, she commented that the new board was really slippy and shiny compared to the rental ones she had been riding, and her foot had slid right off the board. Then the light went on in the snowboarder's head: "You need a stomp pad", he said.
A stomp pad, the cheerleader quickly learned, is a simple yet highly effective add on for a snowboard that stops you slipping and sliding all over the place. Its main use is when the rider is on a lift. You unstrap your back foot so you can skate towards the lift, and then ride up with it loose, not back in its binding. Your front foot is still strapped in, but your back one isn't, and so the obvious place to put it is alongside the rear binding if you're on a button lift. The problem is, most boards are nice and smooth and so your foot slips right off this, and if you've been up and down the mountain already, there's probably a thin layer of slippy ice or snow on it too. Stomp pads prevent this happening by providing a gripped surface to put your back foot on. They are also useful when at the top of the lift, for skating off and round to the top of the hill so you're out of people's way and able to strap in again. This is true for both button lifts and chair lifts.
The cheerleader didn't know these things existed, because she'd only been riding rental boards until that point, and these are often worn, battered things that long ago lost their sheen, so aren't slippy underfoot. But a new board of her own now existed, and so a stomp pad needed to too. Knowing little about them, she went back to the lovely people at Subvert, her local friendly snowboard shop, and looked at the ones they had in stock. She then did the extremely girly thing of choosing the ones that would look best on her board. Cheerleaders can be like that. So, with a pink, orange and black board in her possession, she opted for the black ones, instead of the silver alternative, and took them over to the snowboarder's house that weekend so he could stick them on for her.
There are two main types of stomp pads, the difference being the size. You can either get some that are one big piece or individual studs that you stick on together in a pattern to create an area of comparable size. The Volcom Stone Pyramid Stomp Pad is a set of 6 squashed diamond shaped studs that you stick to the board. They are made of a non-corrosive metal which is important because of how wet snowboards can get, and they are black which is important because it looks cool. They have an adhesive 3M backing, which helpfully has more stick to it than Post It notes, another 3M product. They are sticky. Very sticky. You don't want to get them in the wrong place because they're so sticky they'll look up and you and say "Nope. Not moving. Sorry mate".
To apply you peel off the paper on the back and press the studs down hard on the board, in the position you want them. You really can't move them once they're stuck down, so it's useful to position them first, playing around to get the configuration right, before you peel off the cover and stick them. The idea behind individual studs is that you can make your own design, either in a creative or practical way, to suit the size and shape of your boot. You want to provide the best traction possible, so because they are an uneven shape, the snowboarder put some facing up and some facing down, in 3 columns of 2 studs, on the cheerleader's board.
The cheerleader learnt that you could choose where to put the stomp pad, but the comfiest place was just inside the back binding (the left foot for those who are goofy. The cheerleader is goofy). Stomp pads cannot easily be removed, so in addition to checking you like the layout of studs first, it's important to check your bindings are in the right place. They need to be stuck on and left for 24 hours before you hit the slope again, but after that you should be good to go. So, the cheerleader dutifully found other ways to occupy herself (having multiple ice creams to replicate the feeling of being on the snow...sort of) until the next day when she could take it out for a spin. This was only the second time the cheerleader had been out on her lovely new snowboard, but the change was obvious immediately. She no longer staggered as she got on the lift. She didn't smash into the barrier at the top, because she could steer away from it like a proper, grown up snowboarder. She could zoom around without feeling like an ice skater on the rink missing her skates.
The cheerleader bought her studs from Subvert in Chill Factor-e. There are various different designs of Stomp pads, and at the moment the going rate seems to be about £10 a set. The cheerleader hasn't tried others, because it's not that kind of product - you choose some, stick them on and hope for the best. So while she cannot comment on how these compare to other shapes and styles, she can say that these ones work for her in exactly the way she needs them to, providing friction for the back foot when it's not strapped in, and blending in with the board so other boarders don't immediately spot them. There are some in the community who think stomp pads are just for beginners. The cheerleader is a beginner so she's fine with this, but she also doesn't want to make a big song and dance about it, so having an unobtrusive one is a good compromise.
The cheerleader especially likes these Volcom pyramid shaped studs because (a) the colour coordinates with her board, (b) having indivudal studs allows you to customize the shape and size of the pad and (c) the uneven shape adds a good dimension. Some others in the shop were squares which would not have done this. In the world of stomp pads, the cheerleader believes wonky is good.
The cheerleader has stomped all over her stomp pad ever since, but it is showing no signs of wear and tear. She hasn't actually been on proper snow yet (just the indoor slopes of Manchester, Leeds and, um, Dubai) but she feels the board is now ready for her upcoming winter holiday. Her snowboarding may still be somewhat lacking, but her snowboard isn't.