Gear: Crab Grab

Change what you think about stomp pads. Courtesy photo

Necessity is the mother of all invention, and never did the old adage hold truer than with the new brand Crab Grab. Fathered by High Cascade's own Preston Strout and born on the perpetually slushy slopes of Mt. Hood, Crab Grab is a new traction pad company. Traction pads? Confused? Think: stomp pad evolved.

Strout explains: "Most stomp pads are pretty heinous -- these lame chunks of plastic you'd expect to find on a rental board. Riders like Scott Stevens and Jesse Burtner have been cutting up cheap foam stomp pads for years to put all over their boards as grip. They'd raid the HCSC demo center and hoard all the ones they could find. With Crab Grab, we set out to create an abundant, high quality alternative to cutting up cheap foam pads."

There are a couple different models: the Grab Sticks, which are designed to give you extra grip while grabbing, and the Mini Claws, which offer added traction for one-footing around. In all honesty, each works equally well for either function. Both models are made of high-density foam that is tacky to the touch, and one side is adhesive so you can stick them wherever you want. It's as simple and as sweet as that. As Strout puts it, "They basically make your snowboard way more fun to ride. Seriously. People wouldn't skateboard without grip tape, right?"

Well, just like Strout said, it makes snowboarding more fun. And I'll attest. Having tested both models out at Mt. Hood last summer, I can tell you they work. I held my grabs longer than ever and one-footing was never easier. I'm sold and never shredding without them again. But don't take my word for it, here's Bode Merrill's professional opinion:

"Snowboard top sheets clearly aren't designed for putting a boot on," says Merrill. "I was trying a lot of one-foot moves last summer and definitely wouldn't have been possible without Crabs Grabs. I'd say they're essential if you're doing anything one-footed."

"Honestly though, you don't have to be some bad ass hitting jumps one-footed to need these suckers," says Strout. "Anyone who every gets off a lift, rides a rope tow, etc. with one foot strapped in will be loving life with some good traction."

Crab Grabs will be in core retail shops soon, but for now they're available at crabgrab.com.