Have you ever had your back foot blown off the board by whitewater trying to make it around a section? Before traction pads, that used to happen to me occasionally, and that was, at the time, the main reason why I started using them. Over the years, I feel the most important part about the pad are the block and the arch. In fact, I've only put those two parts on many of my boards. I feel like when you're pushing the tail around and using a lot of lateral force, the arch and block keep your back foot from slipping, and give you a little something more to push against. Plus, it helps keep your foot planted when the lip explodes right next to it.