Proto 1.4 Traction Pad

Creatures of Leisure

Surfers have used traction pads for nearly 50 years to grip their surfboards during radical manoeuvres. This once innovative product has changed little in half a century. PROTO™1.4 is a paradigm shift in surf traction that allows surfers from elite pro’s through to everyday beginners ride waves with improved grip.

Traction pads are typically manufactured by routing, cutting, sanding and laminating sheets of EVA foam. This complex fabrication process results in huge amounts of waste, creating unwanted landfill. In addition, traditional pads have compromised performance because they are designed to be economic for machining, limiting the size, shape and orientation of grip details.

Athletes involved in the development: 3x World Champion Mick Fanning and World Champion and Olympic Gold Medallist Italo Ferreira.


3D Cad Modelling
Design for Manufacture

Paradigm shift

PROTO™1.4 is the world’s first moulded traction pad. This manufacturing breakthrough radically reduces waste, while offering a world-first, multi-directional grip pattern mapped from the shape of a surfer’s foot.

Taking into consideration ergonomics and ride positioning of surfers feet, the CREATURES OF LEISURE design team identified pressure points, underfoot typography, areas of high grip, arch support and even areas that needed to release and pivot during turns, resulting in the revolutionary new Multi-Loc™ grip pattern. The result is a paradigm shift in both performance and waste reduction.

Complex forms

In order to achieve the complex 3D grip patterns and structural form envisaged by CREATURES OF LEISURE, Katapult’s team had to develop detailed 3D CAD models of the concepts. When translating the 2D sketches and ideas into 3D, we needed to balance the bespoke technical requirements of the athletes with the tooling needs of the manufacturers, whilst creating a product that was aesthetically iconic and aspirational.

Once built, the 3D CAD files were used to create 3D printed rapid prototypes which were then used for realistic ‘look and feel’ assessment by the CREATURES OF LEISURE team. This lead to rapid refinement of details and accelerated tooling development, speeding the path to market.


For Katapult, it was also inspiring to be involved with a client that is focused on more sustainable product development. The shift to a moulded traction pad (from the standard routed method) will deliver a waste reduction of around 20 tonnes per year for CREATURES OF LEISURE based on current sales.

CREATURES OF LEISURE also selected EcoPure® a bio-degradable organic additive within material production to mould the pads in. In addition, their team designed and developed the FSC Certified, fully recyclable packaging made from 100% recycled materials, eliminating plastic completely

Photo and video credits (in order of appearance):
Ryan Heywood
Louis French
Simon Williams
Mikey Guarino
Shane Fletcher (Video)


Australian Good Design Award Gold in the Product, Sport and Lifestyle Category 2023

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