How To Wax A Surfboard (Including Foamies & Soft Tops)

Waxing a surfboard involves two different types of surf wax: the basecoat and the topcoat.

The basecoat helps maintain the proper shape for the wax and helps the topcoat stick to the surfboard.

The topcoat is what makes the surfboard grippy.

How To Wax A Surfboard In 5 Easy Steps

There are a variety of ways to wax a surfboard:

  • You can rub the wax on crisscross style.
  • You can rub the wax on up and down the length of the surfboard.
  • Or you can rub the wax on using a circular pattern to get the surf wax to stick to your board.

It really doesn’t matter how you wax your surfboard as long as you get enough of wax to stick to your board.

Rub the wax hard enough to generate some friction.

That will get the surf wax on the board.

It’s really that simple.

Follow The Below Instructions To Wax Your Surfboard Or Foam Board

  1. Wax goes on after the traction pad. Be sure to apply the pad first.
  2. 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 on a shortboard surfboard. Continue to apply wax with similar strokes until you’ve covered the width of the board.
  3. Go the other direction. Work from one rail of the surfboard to other rail.
  4. 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.
  5. Rub the topcoat wax smoothly over all of the places where you have already applied the base coat surfing wax. When applying the topcoat, you don’t have to press as hard or use as much.

Do you need surf wax? Amazon has a ton of surfing wax options to choose from.

Don’t Run Out Of Surfboard Wax

Surfboard Wax FAQs & Tips

Do I Need To Wax My SurfBoard?

You can’t surf without wax.

Both hard top (epoxy and fiberglass surfboards) and foam top surfboards should be waxed.

The top, or deck, of a surfboard will instantly become slick when it gets wet.

To prevent the deck of the surfboard from becoming slippery you need to wax the top of the surfboard.

Can you Wax A Surfboard Too Much?

Over waxing a surfboard is not typically a problem.

Under waxing a surfboard is a much bigger problem.

How Much Surf Wax Should You Use?

You will use about half a bar of wax on a shortboard surfboard or foam board, and a full bar of wax on longboard.

Generally speaking, the bigger the board, the more wax you will use. Just make sure the wax forms beads (forms little bumps) when you wax your board.

Once you have a beads of wax all over your surfboard you are in good shape and are ready to surf.

What Is A Surf Wax Base Coat (AKA, Top Coat)?

The base coat, as the name implies, forms a base layer of wax on the surfboard.

You wax your surfboard with the surf wax that is right for the ocean water you are surfing in after you apply the top wax base coat to the surfboard.

How Often Should You Wax A Surfboard?

We generally give a fresh coat of wax 2 or 3 surf sessions before we reapply.

With that said, when you experience any of the below, wax your board:

  • You can see the deck of your surfboard.
  • The surf wax is less tacky than it is slick.
  • You get dirt, oil or wax on your surfboard. You should remove the wax in this case and apply a new coat.
  • Your wax melted off your surfboard from the sun or other heat source.
  • When you experience fluctuations in water temperature, you may have to use a different surf wax for the new water temperature.

You can also refresh the wax’s tackiness by using the rough edge (the teeth) of a wax comb to add new grooves.

This will expose tackier wax and will get your through a few more surf sessions.

How Long Does Surfboard Wax Last?

We give a fresh coat of wax 2 – 3 sessions before we freshen it up.

However, how long a surf wax is going to last depends on:

  • If you used the right wax for the water temperature.
  • The quality of the surf wax you use.
  • If you used a base coat of wax or not.
  • How thick you applied the surf wax.
  • Where you store your surfboard.
  • How hard you press on your wax when you are surfing.
  • How dirty your wax gets on our surfboard.

Pro tip: Always have a fresh bar of the right temperature wax with you to apply on your surfboard.

Surfing Wax Temperature Guide

Surfboard 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 flake off your board and leave you with thin and/or bare spots on the board.

In conditions that are too warm for the wax, it will melt and smear, again leaving your with bare spot on your surfbaord.

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.

Stickiness (Or Tackiness Or Grip)

The stickier the wax the better.

We have tried multiple brands of surf wax.

We think they are all pretty similar on the tackiness scale.

Still, we have our favorites.

If you want more options, you can find a big selection of surf wax on Amazon.

How to Clean a Surfboard

When it’s time to apply a fresh coat of wax, you should start by removing the old wax.

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 your surfboard sit in the sunshine for about five minutes.
  • Use the straight edge of a wax comb to scrape off the remaining wax.
  • Clean off remaining residue with a liquid wax remover. Use a cloth and a circular motion to rub the remover on the surfboard.
  • After taking off the old wax, follow the steps above to apply a fresh coat.

Here is everything you need including a wax comb, wax and fireball wax remover from Amazon to clean up your surfboard.

Tools To Help You Remove Surfboard Wax

When Do You Remove Surf Wax?

Generally, the more you surf, the more you should remove the wax and put on a fresh coat.

This is because the wax gets stale and loses its tackiness after a while.

Remove your old wax once every 6 – 12 months, depending on the look and tack of the wax.

If you wax has not tack, remove it.

If your wax is some shade of dirty brown or feels like sand paper because you got sand imbedded in the wax, remove the wax.

Start with a fresh, wax free deck by using a wax comb to remove the old wax.

You can let the sun soften up the wax a bit, but don’t let your board bake in the sun.

The extended heat isn’t good for the board and you could end up delaminating (separating) the glass from the foam.

What About Surf Wax Combs?

Wax combs are used to comb the wax from the surfboard as a part of regular maintenance.

Wax combs can be used to scrape off old and dirty wax.

Combs can also be used to comb the existing wax, which can help you get a little more tack out of your otherwise less tacky wax.

The Best Surfboard 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?)

You can find our review of surfboard wax here.

Although the process might seem complicated at first, you’ll soon become an expert at waxing your board and won’t think twice about it.

Keeping your wax in top condition will help you stay on your board as you surf and make learning to surf that much easier.

Soft Top Surfboard Waxing FAQs

Do Foam Surfboards Need Wax?

Foam surfboards and soft tops like Beater Boards, Costco’s Wavestorm, and Almond’s R-Series are designed to not need wax.

However, some surfers prefer a small coating of wax to give their soft top surfboard a little more grip.

When it comes right down to it, it’s a personal preference to use wax on a foamie surfboard.

We think a little wax can go a long way.

How To Wax A Foam Surfboard?

You wax a foam surfboard the same way you wax an epoxy resin or polyurethane resin (AKA, hard top) surfboard.

The only difference is that you don’t need as much wax on a foamie surfboard as the deck of soft tops are designed to give the surfer’s feet grip right out of the box.

How To Remove Wax From Soft Top Surfboard?

You can remove wax from your foamie or soft top surfboard the same way you remove wax from a regular surfboard, using a wax comb and/or sun light.

Be careful when it comes to scraping the wax off of your soft top using a wax comb.

You don’t want to gouge or nick the foam.

So, just run the wax comb slowly over the deck of the foamie to clean off the surface of the deck and you should be in good to go.

Use a liquid wax remover to get your foamie back to its original condition.