7 Easy Steps on How to Wax a Surfboard

If you are a beginner, you may not know how to wax a surfboard properly. We’re here to help.

But first, let’s get things straight. What is the purpose of surf wax? Well, in short, surf wax will keep you on your board while you surf. When you apply surf wax on your board, you get proper traction and a stronger grip in the waters. Surf wax also serves as a protective layer that can prevent your board from falling off while you are overcoming the ocean waves.

How to Wax a Surfboard: The Easy Way

#1. Prepare all the needed materials.

To wax your surfboard accurately, you will need a few supplies, including a wax comb, a basecoat wax, and a topcoat wax. If you are reapplying wax, you will need a wax cleaner and paper towels too.

Make sure to buy the right wax for the water temperature in your location – soft wax for cold water, and hard wax for warm. However, if you are going to have a basecoat and topcoat, make sure to choose the hard wax for the base and something softer and stickier for the deck.

It will give you an extra grip when you are going to apply a basecoat and topcoat. The basecoat will hold the topcoat to stay in place and stop it from being rubbed off easily.

#2. Clean your surfboard.

Before waxing your surfboard, clean it thoroughly first. If there’s any residue of old wax on your surfboard, you will still lose the new wax’s quality, and it will also flake off easily. You have to make sure that you are applying your new wax directly on your board’s body.

To clean your board, you must use your wax comb to scrape the body. Make sure also to scrape the wax off the rails using the curved side of your wax comb. Additionally, you can also use a high-quality wax remover to dissolve any excess wax, so you can easily wipe it off.

If your board looks shiny, you will know that all residue is now removed. You can now proceed with applying the new wax coat.

#3. Apply your basecoat.

The basecoat is the most adhesive wax for your board. Your topcoat may get worn and rub off with long-term use, but the basecoat will remain until the next time you wax your board again. If you have left an area without a basecoat, your topcoat will easily rub off even if you apply too much.

The primary purpose of a basecoat wax is to create a bump pattern that keeps the topcoat intact. This wax helps the topcoat to last longer.

In applying your basecoat, you must put enough pressure when rubbing it on to your board. If you rub it lightly, nothing will come off the wax, and it will take you a long time to finish. You will notice a strange sound while rubbing this wax on your surface, which is okay. It means that you are already forming bumps on the board, and the wax is bouncing over them. You have to start making a broader stroke until you see the bump patterns emerging.

Here are the different techniques that you can use in applying your basecoat:

  • Straight-line pattern: Applying the wax up and down the board, in parallel straight lines.
  • Circle pattern: Applying the wax in small circles, moving it up and down until the bumps begin to form.
  • Crosshatch pattern: Applying the wax on a diagonal pattern, and then perpendicular to the diagonal, forming a pattern of crosshatch.
  • Kitchen sink: Applying the wax in any direction, using any of the above patterns, or make your own.

You’ll know you’re doing it correctly when you see bumps starting to form. Continue until you have created enough thickness or the required amount of wax.

#4. Apply your topcoat.

The topcoat is sensitive to the water’s temperature, so make sure you have the right type of wax for your location. When the water temperature is warm, the wax becomes too soft. To ensure the optimal level of your wax’s softness, various chemicals are added to the wax. The ideal wax type for warm water is tropical wax, while the cold wax will remain tacky in cold water where most wax gets frozen up.

The rule of thumb is that you can use cold wax in warm water, but you cannot use warm wax in cold water.

To be safe, consider using a topcoat wax that has a different color from your basecoat. If your topcoat and basecoat have the same color, it will be difficult to tell where you’ve applied them. If this is the case, make sure to wax in one direction.

Applying the topcoat is similar to the basecoat application procedure. The only difference is that you no longer have to apply too much pressure since it is softer. You can rub it lightly from back to front.

#5. Comb the wax on your board.

After applying your basecoat and topcoat, grab your wax comb and run it throughout your board. Comb your wax in diagonal crosshatch lines to rough up your wax. Additionally, it will also allow you to have a better grip while using your board.

#6. Spray some cold water over your surfboard.

Cold water does an excellent job of wax hardening. It will also help your wax to stick better on your surfboard.

#7. Check your board after you surf.

If you notice that some of your topcoats flaked off, you need to add a small amount of wax on specific areas.

As time goes by, the topcoat gets flat and loses some traction, which is why you also need to comb it every time you surf. If you don’t want to apply a new coat yet, you just have to comb your board in a diagonal scrape to make a crosshatch pattern.

Expert Tips

  • Make sure to use the ideal wax type for your water temperature.
  • Remove and replace your basecoat at least every three months. If you notice that your board no longer has a grip, do not wait for three months to re-apply your basecoat and topcoat.
  • Rubbing your palms with a little soft wax before surfing helps with gripping your surfboard.

Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Q: How much wax do I need to use on my surfboard?

A: The amount of wax that you need to use depends on your surfboard model. Here’s a guide to answer you better:

Surfboard Type/Model Amount of Basecoat (in sticks) Amount of Topcoat (in sticks)
Fish ¾ – 1 ¼ ½ – ¾
Shortboard ½ – ¾ ¼ – ½
Hybrid ¾ – 1 ¼ ½ – ¾
Gun 1 – 1 ½ ¾ – 1 ¼
Funboard 1 – 1 ½ ¾ – 1 ¼
Longboard 1 ½ – 2 ½ 1 – 2

Q: What will happen if I don’t change my surf wax?

A: Over time, your surf wax is sure to build up a slippery and gooey mess. It will also cause possible injuries since it will not give you enough grip during your ride. Therefore, it is highly recommended to change your surf wax often, especially if you surf every day. If you do this regularly, you will realize that it is a nice ritual since new coats help you do tricks better. It’s also important to remove the surf wax afterwards in order to properly store your surfboard.

Q: Do beginners need to wax their foam boards?

A: It depends upon your foam surfboard. There are foam surfboards in the market, which are a little slippery, so applying a thin layer of wax to it can be helpful. However, you do not need to wax it like a regular board since you might damage the foam. Additionally, it is not recommended to re-wax your foam board frequently as with a regular board. A little amount of wax is enough to give beginners the grip they need.

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