How to Wax a Surfboard

A question we get asked quite a bit in store is “how to” or “what is the best way to wax a surfboard?” While you can just rub it on and go – there are definitely ways you can make your wax coat grippier and longer lasting. After all, the better the connection you have with your board, (hopefully) the the better the ride you get on it .

On most boards you should apply wax across the deck (top surface) of the board anywhere you hands or feet will land during the pop up and ride. This usually works out to be the 2/3 of the board from your chest level all the way down to the tail and an inch or so in from the rails. Of course when you wax a surfboard this will be less if you have a tailpad and you might want to wax the whole deck if you ride a longboard or any other shape that you might get further forward on.

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If you want to wax a surfboard and it is brand new or a recently cleaned surfboard, trying to rub wax on it can give you a sensation similar to nails on a chalkboard . A common method to overcome this is to draw lines on it first with the edges of your block of wax. Using a criss-cross pattern will help to get a little of wax on the surface – a start that will make it much easier to rub more wax on the board.

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Following on from the criss-cross pattern you have drawn, you need to use the edge of the bar of wax to apply more wax in gentle circles. A soft touch is the key here – you are rubbing wax onto, not into the board. Friction on the surface will ensure you slowly build up fine bumps. The smaller the circles and the gentler your approach, the tighter packed & higher your bumps will form. Tighter and higher bumps equals better grip – which is what you want when you wax a surfboard.

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Continue applying your wax in gentle circles until you have a nice even coverage of bumps across the desired surface of your board. You can see in the picture that I have laid down a reasonable coating of bumps to my board. This essentially is a base coat – I will add a smaller top coat, just before I hit the water. Fresh wax is always gripper as temperature change and contact with wetsuits and water will dull your wax over time. So give yourself a fresh coat on top of the existing wax before each session.

When in your local surfshop – selecting wax is not always as straight forward as it would seem. If you are little unsure about what to purchase it is important to remember the following – softer waxes are (usually) stickier & easier to apply. However, they are more likely to rub away & smudge with use. Harder waxes are less sticky & definitely more difficult to apply. Harder waxes do hold their shape better. Making robust bumps that and stay on your board longer. (Note: in warmer climates – harder waxes will become stickier)

Temperature guides on wax are great to help you select what to use at what time of the year. Personal preference also plays a big part. Ideally everyone wants a decent amount of grip without their wax smudging everywhere. Using a single type of wax on your board is adequate for many & definitely more convenient. However, if you want to maximize the grip you get over your entire session – a combination of base coat & top coat is vastly superior.

A harder basecoat provides you with a solid foundation – firm & stable bumps that are hard to smudge. This firmer base then allows you to apply a softer & stickier top coat (that would just smudge straight away if by itself). By applying a harder base with a softer top coat the result is grippier bumps that are less likely to smudge, that will last multiple sessions.

At Zak Surfboards we stock a comprehensive range of surfboard wax and wax accessories – head over to our online store to SHOP NOW