To become a skilled surfer, you'll need more than what you see happening on the water. Caring for your board off the water is also important in surfing. Learning to wax your surfboard will help you better take care of your board and better enjoy the surf!
Waxing a surfboard involves two different types of wax: the basecoat and the topcoat. The basecoat helps maintain the proper shape for the wax and helps the topcoat stick to the board. The topcoat is what makes the surfboard grippy.
How to Wax a Surfboard, including Beater Boards and other Foamies
- Wax goes on after the traction pad. Be sure to apply the pad first.
- Hold the basecoat wax so the edge of the wax stick touches the board. Using light pressure, run the wax along the length of the surfboard. Most people go about three-quarters of the way up the deck. Continue to apply wax with similar strokes until you've covered the width of the board.
- Go the other direction. Work from one rail of the surfboard to other rail.
- Repeat this process until plenty of bumps form. Depending on the size of your surfboard, you may use between half and full stick of wax.
- Rub the topcoat wax smoothly over all of the places where you have already applied the basecoat. When applying the topcoat, you don't have to press as hard or use as much.
How to Clean a Board and Reapply Surf Wax
When it's time to apply a fresh coat of wax, you should start by removing the old wax. Read on to learn how you get old wax off a surfboard.
- Heat up the old wax so it will be easier to remove. On a sunny day, let it sit in the sunshine for about five minutes.
- Use the straight edge of a wax comb to scrape off the remaining wax. Rubbing a handful of sand over the surface of the board is another way to lift off the wax.
- Clean off remaining residue with wax remover. Use a cloth and a circular motion to rub the remover over the board.
- After taking off the old wax, follow the steps above to apply a fresh coat
When to Wax a Surfboard or Beater Board
Old wax turns soft instead of tacky. It also gets darker in color. When you notice these signs, it's time to reapply your surf wax.
For people who surf frequently, cleaning off old wax will need to be done every few weeks. Those who surf infrequently may be able to wait a few months.
A little extra care will help your current wax last longer. Before each surfing session, run fresh topcoat wax over your board. Refresh the wax's tackiness by using the rough edge of a wax comb to add new grooves.
You can also use a wax comb to lengthen the life of your wax. Run the teeth side of the comb on the deck of your surfboard to create criss crossed lines. This will expose tackier wax and will help with a few more surf sessions.
Wax Temperature Guide
Topcoat wax comes in different temperature varieties. For the wax to hold up well, you must match your wax to the water in which you will be surfing. If the water is too cold for the wax, it could freeze. In conditions that are too warm for the wax, it will melt.
The following guidelines can help you select the right topcoat wax temperature to use:
- Tropical: This wax is best in water temperatures of at least 76 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Warm: When the water is between 66 and 76 degrees, apply a warm topcoat.
- Cool: Choose this type of wax when the water ranges from 56 to 68 degrees.
- Cold: If the water temperature is 58 degrees or below, use this variety.
Surf Wax Brands
After trying a few different waxes, you may find one that becomes your favorite. To get you started, consider these brands that are favorites of many surfers:
- Sex Wax (It's been around a long time and is fun to ask for)
- Bubble Gum Surf Wax (It makes your worst surf session great because how mad can you get when all you smell is bubble gum?)
- Sticky Bumps Wax (It's sticky and bumpy. What more do you need?)
Every surfer develops his or her own favorite waxing routine. Although the process might seem complicated at first, you'll soon become an expert at caring for your board. Keeping your wax in top condition will help you stay on your board as you surf and make learning to surf that much easier.