The progression from foamie or soft top surfboard to hard surfboard can be a little intimidating in your surfing journey. If all you have known up to now is forgiving foam underneath your feet then the sight of your new shiny hard surfboard might take you straight back to square one. One of the main considerations is how to wax a surfboard so that your feet or hands don’t slip when you go to stand up. Surfboard wax is designed to be applied to the top of your surfboard and create sticky bumps on the surface to give your feet something to grip to. If you’ve never waxed a surfboard before or you’re just looking for tips to get a better wax job, here is our guide to waxing your surfboard.
1. WHAT YOU WILL NEED TO WAX A SURFBOARD
You will need a few simple items to start to wax a surfboard, which can be picked up from most surf shops:
2. CLEANING YOUR SURFBOARD
If you are waxing a new surfboard, then skip head to the next step. If you are waxing a used board or you are rewaxing your surfboard, it is important to first clean the top of it. Any old wax on the board will make new wax put on top flake off earlier and create layers of old useless wax which isn’t good for performance or your surfboard. It is also important that the basecoat is applied directly to the surface of the surfboard so that it does its job correctly.
To clean your surfboard deck, first scrape off all of the wax you can with the straight side of your wax comb, including off the sides (rails) of the board. Make sure you use a wax comb and not just any old tool as you may damage your surfboard. You then want to use a surf wax cleaning product and an old cloth or rag to remove any excess wax which is left over. There is usually a thin layer of wax still remaining that you’ll be able to feel and see if you catch your board in the light. Once your board looks glossy and new, and feels smooth you will know you have all of the wax removed and can begin putting on a new coat.
3. APPLY THE BASECOAT WAX
Applying the basecoat is the most important step when you wax a surfboard. The top coat of wax is what you feel when you surf but will rub off as you use your surfboard. The basecoat will stay in place and ensure you stay in place while surfing even if the topcoat does rub off a little. It also holds the topcoat better in place to make the whole wax last longer and improve performance.
The goal of the basecoat is to create a lasting layer of hard wax which the softer topcoat can stick to. As basecoat surfboard wax is harder, it is a bit more difficult to apply so make sure to push down strongly on the wax so it is applied to the board. You will want to start by making broad strokes on the board and continuing until you see a light pattern emerge. There are many different techniques/ patterns to apply wax, none is the correct way and you should do whatever works for you.
4. APPLY TOPCOAT WAX
Once you are happy with your basecoat, you can select your topcoat wax and do the same process again to apply the topcoat. This wax is generally softer so will be easier to apply. You need to ensure you select the correct temperature wax for the water you will be surfing in. Cold or cool water wax will be suitable for UK waters and winter surfing whereas if you are heading to Indonesia or Sri Lanka you will need tropical wax to account for the higher water temperature.
You can use similar patterns to the diagrams above to cover your board with the topcoat wax and ensure that your feet will grip the board nicely when you come to surf it.
5. AFTER YOUR SURF
Don’t be surprised if quite a bit of the topcoat wax flakes off while you surf. The above process should last you a few surfs before you need to reapply a topcoat, and it should be a few months before you need to completely start again and do the basecoat too. After a surf, it might be good to get a wax comb and just score some lines in the topcoat wax to break it up a little and create more friction if it has gone a bit flat. This should mean you can surf again on that same coat without reapplying.
6. TOP TIPS
- Remove and reapply your base coat about every three months. If you can no longer stick to the board before three months, remove the base coat and re-wax your board completely.
- If you don’t need to apply a new top coat but the wax is looking a little flat, use a wax comb to mark diagonal lines in the existing wax to rough it up a bit and make it sticky again, instead of applying more wax on top which can just make it all messy.
- Make sure you use the right temperature wax for the sea you are surfing in.
- Apply new top coat wax every other time you surf or each time if you feel it needs it in some places.
If you want to go a step further, then you may want to opt for a traction pad for the back of your board instead of some wax. Let us know if you have any more top tips for how to wax a surfboard…