Step 1: Things You'll Need
1) Obviously, you will need your longboard deck. In my case, I will be starting new from a blank deck as in the picture on the page, but I will include instructions on replacing grip tape as well.
2) Next, you will need new griptape to install. I decided to go with Vicious on my board.
3) Grab a hair dryer. It doesn't need to be anything fancy but it will come in handy. Especially with removing the old griptape
4) A fresh pack of razor blades you can pickup cheap at almost any store. The ones in the picture is much easier to use.
5) You will also need a file. If you don't have a file, you can substitute with anything hard like a rock or an old allen key you don't use anymore.
Once you have these things prepared, you're now ready to move onto the next step.
Step 2: Removing Your Old Griptape
For this step, this is where the hair dryer will come in handy. First, take the hair dryer and heat up the old grip tape where you will start removing the old stuff. Usually, you can just use the hair dryer on that spot for about a minute before you use a razor to peel back an edge. Once you have that edge peeled back, you can just use your fingers and start peeling back the old grip tape. Go slowly to prevent ripping the old grip tape up into a bunch of little pieces. If at any point, the grip tape starts to feel very sticky, don't force it because you'll end up just ripping it, causing you more work. Just stop right there and break out the hair dryer again. Heat up the grip tape and start again. This should make it much easier because the hair dryer heats up the glue and makes it stick less. If you find you need more leverage, you may also put the deck on the ground and use your feet to hold the board down while you use both hands to peel back the old grip tape.
This step should only take about 5-10 minutes. Once you have the old grip tape completely removed, it's time to move onto the next step in this process.
Step 3: Deciding What Design
If you chose to go the route where you cut out custom shapes and designs, I won't be going over how to do that because there are already many other great tutorials on how to do that online.
I have attached a few images of a few different boards with different design ideas for you to ponder over.
Step 4: Cutting the Grip Tape to the Correct Size
In the previous step, you should have decided on what design you wanted for your deck already. I decided to chose to place grip tape under where my feet go. The grip tape I purchased came in a roll so I cut out two feet of the grip tape as one foot each in the front and back of the board is enough for your feet. If you purchase precut grip tape, you may just take it out of the packaging and you're ready to move on.
Now you have the proper length of grip tape you want cut out of the roll or sheet, now we can move onto the next step.
Step 5: Grip Tape Placement
Keep your feet in that position and trace an outline of your feet with that pencil. Now you've done that, you know where you absolutely need to cover the deck in order to get coverage where it matters.
Step 6: Applying the Grip Tape
Grip tape usually has a paper backing that you can just rip off. When you're applying the grip tape, start a little bit at a time and press down from one end to the other to prevent any air bubbles or any wrinkling. Once you do this for the front of the board, it's time to do the same thing for the back of the board.
At this point, your board should look somewhat like this, with all the excess grip tape still hanging off the edges.
Step 7: Bubbles or Wrinkles
If you have air bubbles, grab a pushpin and poke 3-4 holes where the air bubble is and then now just push down on the air bubbles to release the air. Another common issue is where the grip tape seems wrinkled and it doesn't seem to stick well to the wood. The hair dryer would come into handy again if you have this problem. Since some grip tape is stiffer than others due to the glue they use, so take the hair dryer and heat up the grip tape and press down on the new grip tape while you do this. This will help the new grip tape bond tighter to the wood of the board.
Step 8: Filing Down the Extra Griptape
The trick here is to take the file you had prepared. You're going to run the file along the edge of the board where you have extra grip tape hanging off. If you don't have a file, you can use anything that is hard and won't wear down very fast. In the past, I've used everything from an old allen key or a rock I had found outside. The point of this step is to get rid of all the little rocks along the edge of the board so there will not be any obstructions for the razor to run into, causing an uneven edge.
Step 9: Trimming Off the Excess Grip Tape
Following this step as well as the previous step will give you a nice, clean looking edge around your board rather than a hastily cut edge.
Step 10: Finished!
Here's a picture of the finished product I just did last week for my new board! Now that you're done, it's time to go test out your new grip tape.
Remember, always wear your helmet and skate safe!