Okay so what is there to know about surf wax?
Well first and foremost everyone needs it to surf no matter if you are just learning how to surf or have been splashing around in the ocean for 40 years. Otherwise you would be slipping and sliding right off your board.
Some guys use deck traction pads, mainly they put them on the lower end of the board- the tail- where the back foot will go.. They still need wax for the front of the foot.
So basically everyone needs wax.
One exception is if you have deck pads for the front and back foot (don’t do that it’s lame and kind of kooky and I suspect it would be murder on your chest when paddling)
So what do you need to know?
Really just two things:
- What kind of wax to use
- How and where to use surf wax.
Types of Surf Wax
Surf wax fall into 4 categories:
▪ COLD – for water below 58°F / 14°C
▪ COOL – for water 59-64°F / 14-19°C
▪ WARM – for water 65-74°F / 19-24°C
▪ TROPICAL – for water above 75°F / 24°C
Cold water wax will be the softest and tropical wax will be the hardest.
To be honest with you I never even thought about temperature of wax when I was learning how to surf,(did they even have different temp back then?) I just picked out the ones that smelled the best. Whenever I smell Mr Zogs original (brand of wax) it brings back some good memories of my early days.
Oh yea there is one other type of surf wax it is called Base coat.
Base coat is just a really hard wax like a tropical wax that you put on a surfboard when it has no wax on it. After you apply the base coat then go ahead and use the “normal” surf wax.
I never use base coats, not even when I regularly surfed real cold cold water, now I surf tropical water so no need for it at all but it is good to use I suppose.
How to Wax a Surfboard
Surfboard waxing is pretty dang easy, you cant really mess it up if you follow two things.
1. Don’t wax the bottom of your surfboard (underside) the side with the fins.
2. Try not to wax the edge or rails.
Wax somehow will find its way into these areas–my boards always have little smudges of wax on the bottom or rails.
Just don’t do it on purpose.
Other than that just rub it on.
Concentrate mainly in the areas where your feet will be.
If you are just beginning that could be anywhere.
So just rub it on about 3/4 of the board starting at the tail.
For longboards you can wax the whole board, but again if you are just beginning you wont be up on the nose, at least not on purpose.
Some people will tell you to go in circles or use the edge of the bar of surf wax, whatever, as long as you get a fair amount on the deck. You want to end up with little tiny mounds or bumps of wax all over the deck.
You can spend forever end a day trying to achieve the perfect wax job, and I used to do that. If you got nothing better to do then have a go at it, you can feel the difference, at least for a couple of surfs then it all blends together by then you will want to use a wax comb to ruff it up.
Using a wax comb will provide more traction by digging into the wax and creating grooves-traction. You can use anything with a small edge for a wax comb, like a penny or a shell on the beach or even a comb for your hair.
I would say if you are starting with a brand new bar of wax and a clean surfboard use maybe 3/4 of it. Use the whole bar for a longboard.
Try not to to wax your board in direct sunlight, the wax wont go on as well because the wax and surfboard will start to warm up and the board will be hot-it just makes it more difficult to apply.
Removing wax is just as easy. Leave your board out in the direct sun for a little bit (15 minutes) and the wax will start to melt then use a flat edge to scrape it off the straight edge of a wax comb or a spatula or drivers license or library card.
Other tricks to try when the sun is not out-using a blow dryer or pouring hot water onto your surfboard to melt the wax then scrape it.
If you want to really clean it up there are a whole sorts of tools and chemicals to get every bit of surf wax off. just check your local surf shop, they will have what you need.
A home based solution get a pair of old pantyhose/nylons from your or your gals dresser drawer and some flour form the kitchen cabinet. Make a little bean bag with the flour and section of nylon then rub on your deck it cleans up all the wax residue. Better yet if you can get hold of some sanding dust form your local shaper it works just as well as flour does.