Waxing your surfboard is not a complicated science, but that doesn’t mean you won’t need the right sequence and tools to get great results. If you’ve ever had a question about how to wax a surfboard properly, this article will be helpful to you!
What Surf Wax is Made Of
The main ingredient, as the name suggests, is beeswax. Paraffin and flavorings are added to it. The more paraffin, the softer the wax is, and this is needed for different temperatures.
Hard wax is very difficult to apply to the board in the cold, it slips over the board and leaves no trace. In the heat, on the contrary, too soft wax will spread.
In general, there are four types of wax: for cold water (up to 15 ˚ C), the softest, for moderately cool water (14 – 19 ˚ C), for the warm water (19 – 23 ˚ C), and for tropical water (23 ˚ C and above), the hardest.
Step One: Gather Materials
The wax must be properly selected according to only one main rule. If this rule is not respected, the effectiveness of the wax will drop a lot. So, in order to choose the right wax for your board, you need to know the average temperature of the water in the place where you plan to ride at a certain time.
For example, the average annual water temperature in Bali is +27c. As we already know from the above, there are 4 types of wax depending on the water temperature. Here is how to distinguish the types of wax from each other:
- Tropical – water temperature +24C or more
- Warm – water temperature +18-23C
- Cool – water temperature +14-20C
- Cold-water temperature +16C or less.
Cold water wax has one feature – it can be used in both cold and warm water.
There are a lot of manufacturers of waxes and each has its own features and recommendations for use in one place or another, so if you are not sure about your choice in terms of wax, the best option is to buy a wax in the place where you plan to surf.
A local salesperson will recommend the best option and tell you how to wax your board.
- One bar of wax for a base coat.
- One bar of wax, which we choose by temperature, for the top coat
- A special wax comb or plastic scraper
- Optionally, a liquid wax remover.
Step Two: Clean the Board
If you have just bought a surfboard and are waxing for the first time, you need to skip this step. For the rest of us, however, we advise you to do the following.
Put the board in a sunny spot for five or six minutes. Use a fine edge of the scraper or wax comb to make straight lines along the length of the board so that the old wax melts quickly, you can use a special wax remover to get rid of the excess wax as quickly as possible.
Step Three: Apply the Base Coat
If you have the option, we recommend applying the wax indoors. When you wax, you create friction from which heat comes, which can cause the basecoat wax to smear a lot if you’re doing it outdoors in the blazing sun.
There are two ways when we’re talking about applying wax to your surfboard: the circular motion method and the cross-motion method. If you choose the first method, it will probably seem complicated to you.
However, we think that it is the one that will help you to properly distribute the wax all over the surface.
The second method is, without a second thought, the fastest procedure, and that’s why many professionals, who custom wax a huge number of surfboards every year, choose it. Let’s say right away that every method is effective and there is no thoroughly correct one.
Now let’s get down to business, pick a comfortable spot, position the board on your lap and get ready to wax.
Where to Apply Surf Wax
The fresh wax is applied to the top surface of the board, where the surfer’s feet stand or belly lies. Longboards are usually waxed completely because the surfer is expected to walk the entire length of the board.
On Malibu boards with 7 to 8 feet length it is enough to wax the bottom 2/3 of the board, on shortboards they wax a small area 50-60 cm under the front leg (surfer’s belly lies about the same) and a special mat is put under the back leg.
The mat on the tail is better than wax because there is a special foot stop on it, which allows making sharper maneuvers. By the way, now mats under the front foot are gaining popularity, and with them, shortboards may not need a wax at all.
How to Wax a Surfboard
If all the wax is brushed off with a wax comb on the board and it looks like new, you can start waxing.
Take a small piece of wax and start applying it in straight lines to the top surface of the surfboard. Apply the wax in straight lines along and then across the board to create something like a grid.
Be sure to keep the surf wax at a 45-degree angle. If you are a beginner and just getting into surfing, you should wax only ¾ of the board, applying the wax from the tail to the nose.
Apply the base coat on top of the base coat, along the surface of the board in solid lines. Apply the wax evenly, avoiding gaps in some and excess and clumps of wax in others. Remember to wax the sides of the board, as this helps with duck diving and stand-up.
Use the toothed side of the already wax comb to apply another “grid” on the base layer. First, apply the diagonal strips, then the vertical ones.
Do not get carried away and do not press too hard – you can damage the surface of the board. You can also use the comb to “refresh” the previously applied surf wax.
How to maintain
Even a weighty layer of surf wax will become polished and slippery as you ride. It can be refreshed before surfing with the same circular motion as you applied the third coat, or you can “ruffle” it with a special surfer’s comb. If you ride naked, you should be more careful, because after combing the surfboard wax can rub your belly more when paddling.
What You Shouldn’t Do
- Leave the board in the sun, because the surfboard wax will melt, and you will get a lot more problems;
- Put the board on different sides, because the wax will stick to both sides;
- Never rub the board on both sides!
- Do not apply a new wax without removing the old layer of wax, if there is sand or dirt on it, you will scratch the board;
- Pressing too hard on the comb can also damage the board;
- Putting the waxed side of the board on the sand can damage your board.
Why and How to Remove the Wax
The wax gets dirty. Feet, shorts, sand, and not the cleanest water are to blame for the wax turning yellow or even black over time.
And a new layer of wax on top of the dirty wax only makes things worse, so sometimes the board needs to be cleaned. Also, small dings may go unnoticed under the wax layer, so preventive cleaning is good for the board.
Wax combs usually have one side with jagged edges (actually for combing) and the other side with a smooth, sharp edge. It is just to remove a layer of old wax, but you can use an unnecessary plastic card.
After getting rid of the main mass of wax, take the board out in the sun, wait 5-10 minutes and wipe off the melted remnants with paper napkins. You can then cool the board in the shade and wax it again.
Why Wax Your Surfboard
Now that we’ve covered how to wax a surfboard, you may be wondering why you would even want to do that? It’s very simple.
Surfboard wax is needed so that you can stand properly on your board. Without it, you’re unlikely to be able to stay well on the board, let alone try to perform even the simplest trick. So applying the right wax will help you have a lot of fun in the surf.
How Often to Apply Surf Wax
You should apply it every time you are going to go out to sea. For the first few swims, you can just refresh the coat to just save grip on the water. Once you accumulate a thick layer, you can just scratch the lines to get a fresh grip wax.
If you suddenly come to the beach without a wax comb or a scraper, don’t panic. Go into the water, go in about knee-deep and scoop up a handful of sand, then rub it into the wax, the surface will become a little rough.
Video: How to Wax a Surfboard
In this video, an easy guide how to wax a surfboard perfectly whether you’ve got a new surfboard or you’re looking to tidy up the wax job on your favourite board!
A small ding can be temporarily sealed with wax if you find it just before entering the water or already on the liner. This protection is enough for one ride, but it is better not to postpone the repair.
Put a small piece of wax in the pocket on the velcro of the lich, once on the liner you will realize that the board slips and this stash will come in handy.
Get a plastic pouch for the wax on the Ziploc, this will keep it from getting dirty. Wax that has sand and small debris on it are of no use.
Do not leave wax in the sun, it will melt.
If there is no shade on the beach, and to stretch before riding it is necessary, put a board with the wax down, so it does not sweat in the sun.
Always put the board in the case on the same side, so that the wax does not stain the bottom. Here is how to wax a snowboard.