Set up your Gmail as an Exchange account:
Don't ask me why but if you sync Gmail using the Gmail button instead of the exchange server it will not sync contacts with the Gmail server. In order to sync contacts delete your Gmail account in the settings on your iPad and the reestablish your gmail account as an exchange server. Leave domain blank. The server is M.google.com. Now you should be able to sync contacts mail calendars notes etc. The only drawback I've found to this method is you cannot see shared google calendars. The work around this is to use the Google button when you set up accounts only for your calendar and use the exchange button to set up all other Google apps.