Back when I was hanging around skate parks, pretending to be cool, grip tape was as common as hoodies and Airwalk shoes. Skaters use this sandpaper-like material to provide more traction. A properly taped skateboard stays closer to the feet while busting a flip trick, and keeps feet from slipping off during the more nuanced floor tricks.
But now I feel proud, because even skaters are beginning to shun grip tape for a more eco-friendly alternative made from hemp. Australian skating outfit Ramshackel uses marijuana’s benign cousin to weave a more durable alternative that treads lightly on the planet.
Standard grip tape wasn’t actually designed for skateboards, it’s actually meant to line stairs and slippery floor surfaces. Easy to tear by hand and already equipped with an adhesive on one side, however, it was a natural fit for those going hard at the half pipe.
Ramshackel’s hemp alternative is more tedious to install, but it will not only last longer and look cool, it’s also less harmful to the planet. “The 18-step process outlined on Ramshackel’s website includes sticking the hemp grip to the tape, adding three coats of non-slip liquid compound, sprinkling in one of several grades of included powdered grip aggregate, and cutting the hemp to size,” explains Gizmag. Featuring a biodegradable hemp base, solvent free adhesives and recyclable packaging, it’s safe for skaters of all ages.
However, once properly installed, there’s minimal upkeep and no need to replace the hemp grip when it’s worn smooth. The skater can simply add more compound and grip aggregate, rather than replacing the tape.
As you can see above, Ramshackel’s woven skateboard grip was a finalist for an ISPO BrandNew Award for the FGT design. Its kits are available now in four colors: natural, black, blue tie dye and red tie dye. They retail for about $40 to $60, depending upon size.