The key to a great surfboarding experience (apart from practice and good waves) is good, old-fashioned board maintenance. You want to make sure you stay put on it while riding the waves, so it’s important to wax the top side of your surfboard regularly! Waxing a surfboard isn’t difficult – you just need some elbow grease and the right products to do a good job.
How to wax a surfboard
While the bottom side of your surfboard benefits from its normal, slippery finish as it glides on the waves, you need to make sure your feet get a grip on the top side of the board – this is done by waxing. Surfboards should ideally be waxed after every ride, but you can get away with doing it every few rides. If you need a better grip in-between, you can use the serrated side of the wax comb to create criss-cross patterns in the wax as an emergency measure.
Surfboard wax comes in two variants – basecoat wax and topcoat wax – and you need to use both. Here is a list of the supplies you’ll need to do a great job waxing a surfboard:
- Basecoat wax
- Topcoat wax
- Wax comb
- Wax remover (if you’re removing old wax first)
- Paper towels (if you’re removing old wax first)
Ready to learn how to wax a surfboard? Let’s do it!
How to remove wax from surfboards
When your board is ready for a fresh coat of wax, you need to remove the old wax first. Follow these steps to learn how to get wax off a surfboard:
- Use the flat side of the wax comb to scrape off the wax on the deck, and the curved side to get the wax off the rails.
There will usually be a thin remaining layer of wax on the deck after you’ve scraped most of the wax off. Use a specifically formulated surfboard cleaner and wipe the board with the product and some paper towels (remember to always read the instructions on the product label before using it on your surfboard).
How to wax a surfboard for the first time
Waxing a new surfboard is actually less time-consuming than waxing an old one, as you don’t need to remove any old wax before starting the waxing process. Just follow the steps below to give your brand new board a good waxing job:
- Apply the basecoat by rubbing the basecoat wax back and forth against the board. The basecoat wax is hard so you will need to use a bit of elbow grease in order to get the right amount of wax on the board. Switch up the monotony of this step by trying different rubbing techniques: circular motions, diagonal strokes, and a mixture of all styles will do the job nicely, as long as you apply the right amount of pressure and get a good coat of wax on the board. You want to see little bumps start forming everywhere on top of the board before moving on to the topcoat wax.
- Then, apply the topcoat wax. The topcoat wax is considerably softer than the basecoat and will form a tacky layer on top of the textured surface you’ve created with the basecoat wax, making it easier for you to grip onto the board. There are two types of topcoat wax: one for cold temperatures and one for tropical temperatures. You want to choose the one that’s right for you based on the temperature of the water you’re surfing in. Check the temperatures recommended on the wax bar you’re considering to make sure it’s suitable for the water you’ll be surfing in.
Hint: Wax for cold temperatures contains chemicals to keep it sticky even at lower temperatures, and will therefore melt very easily if used in warm water. If you’re surfing in warm water, it’s better to stick to tropical temperature wax (consult the label on the wax bar if you’re not sure if it’s suitable).
Once you’ve waxed your surfboard, you’ll be ready to hit the beach and catch those waves in no time! One thing to remember is that different types of surfboards will require different amounts of wax in different places (it can even replace traction pads on some models), and some people like to use wax to grip the sides of shortboards, hybrids, and guns.