Why Do We Use Wax on Surfboards?Andrew Marsden
Surf Wax is designed to help surfers maintain the grip on their surfboard. Without wax you will find it difficult to stand up and keep balance on your board, never mind doing any tricks! We have pulled together this useful guide on surf wax including the types of surf wax and tips for applying and removing your wax.
Different Types of Wax
Since the wax you need is used primarily for traction, you’ll need to find the right wax that is sticky enough and there are different types of wax suited to different types of water temperatures;
Cold Water Surf Wax – Under 15℃ or 60℉
Cool Water Surf Wax – 14-19℃ or 58-68℉
Warm Water Surf Wax – 19-23℃ or 66-78℉
Tropical Surf Wax – 23+℃ or 75+℉
It will be no surprise to know that most surfers in Ireland use Cold Water Surf Wax throughout the year as average water temperatures rarely rise above 15℃!
Traditionally, Surf Wax has been made containing paraffin which contains highly toxic chemicals that are bad for marine life. Today however there are a lot of 100% natural surf waxes made with biodegradable non-toxic ingredients such as beeswax. If you do a little bit of research you can find out an environmentally friendly wax that works for you. Check out the Wild Atlantic Surf Shop for all of your other surfing needs.
How to Apply Your Wax
Firstly it is important to know that there are two layers of wax to apply to your board, the base coat and the top coat.
The basecoat is the most important and is a harder wax (warm water or tropical) that will hold the top coat down and will stay on even as the top coat wears down. As the base coat is harder it takes a little more pressure to apply. Every surfer has their own method of application but as a general rule, you can make broad strokes in different directions across the board or rub it into your deck in circular motions. Ideally, you want to create small bumps across the deck of your board which will help your balance as you surf.
Once you have applied and are happy with the base coat, you can apply the top coat. This is a softer wax and so will be easier to apply. Use a circular motion when applying the top coat which will enhance the ‘bumps’ on the base coat giving you more traction and making your surfboard easier to ride.
The diagram below is a good guide as to where you should wax your surfboards;
How to Remove your Surf Wax and When
Your top coat of wax should last a few surfs before you need to top it up although you will generally know it is time when you start to lose traction. The base coat should only need to reapply every 3 months or so.
You can also use a wax comb to ‘rough up’ the top coat which should make it sticky again.
To remove your surfboard wax, all you need to do is let the board heat up to soften the wax. This can be done in the sun, or as we’re in Ireland, if there is no sun then a hair dryer or heat gun will work. Once the wax has softened, use a wax comb and gently scrape the wax off. Try to make sure that you remove all the wax and use a cloth if needs be so that you are left with a nice glossy surface to re-apply your base coat.
Thanks for reading. Find out more about Wild Atlantic Surf Co.