Grip tape comes as rough sheets similar to adhesive-backed sandpaper. The grade and size of grit varies by company and manufacture method.
To apply grip tape, one first cuts a section large enough to suit the respective deck from a large roll. It's fairly common practice to cut a line of grip tape out just in front of the back bolts to help distinguish the front and back of the board (the nose and the tail, respectively). Often a skateboarder will cut a design or text inside of the grip tape, so that when applied the naked wood will be visible in a desired shape against the rest of the tape. After removing any lacquer so the grip tape actually sticks, you remove the smooth backing to expose the adhesive, one lays the tape onto the top side of the deck; (it is advisable to remove any trucks or old grip from the board as a new layer will render mounting hardware inaccessible and will peel from an older sheet).
If done carelessly small air pockets can become trapped between wood and the tape. During skate sessions these are prone to tear open, ripping the tape partially off of the board. There are various methods to prevent or remove bubbles. Techniques include carefully applying the tape from anterior to posterior end of the deck, popping the bubbles with a sharp instrument, or by applying pressure and pushing the air off the edge of the deck.
More recently, Mechanical Grip Tape Co. has begun offering MechGrip, a new type of grip tape. It combines multiple different colored pieces to a create a design on a single sheet. It applies just like regular grip tape, and you don't lose grip because there is no paint used.
Many grip tape companies exist, including Jessup, Mechanical, Mob, Shortys (Black Magic), FKD, Speed Tape, True Grit and Flik Griptape.
Griptape is also a Belgian Skate Thrash Band! They kick ass and you can check them out on their MySpace (www.myspace.com/griptapeyo) and their first show ever can be watched here: Part 1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyQ6FS5dtO0&feature=channel_page) , Part 2 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFpAY7UL3To&feature=channel_page)!!! So, checkt them out, dude!