Waxing your surfboard properly is essential to maximizing your surfing skill. A well-waxed board can be the difference between standing and slipping, glory and defeat, wellness, and injury.
The first thing to consider is what kind of wax to buy. All of the leading brands are comparable. But while brand name isn’t important, whether or not you buy warm or cold water wax is important. Using wax intended for the opposite water conditions can cause it to slide right off your board, which is exactly what you will do if you don’t have any wax on your board.
The cutoff between warm and cold water waxes varies slightly with brand name, but is always printed clearly on the outside of the package. Simply be aware of the water temperature where you will be surfing and the corresponding recommended temperatures on the package.
Once you have your wax, you need to get the old wax off your board. (If this is the first time you are waxing your board, you are lucky. Don’t worry about this stuff.) The easiest method is to lay your board out in the sun so that the wax already on the board softens. One it softens, scarpe it off gently with a rubber comb made for just that task and sold at surf shops. If you don’t have one of these combs, a variety of things will work: any flat edged surface of soft plastic or hard rubber, the end of a swim fin, etc. Just try to avoid metal– it will scratch up your board.
Once the old wax is gone, its time to start with the new wax. If the surface of the board is still hot, cool it down with some cool water. Then, when the board is dry, apply the wax in a circular motion. You don’t need to put wax on the entire board– only where your hands and feet will come into contact with the board. That means anticipating where you will spring up, and where on the rails you will push up with your hands. Remember, there’s no harm in putting wax somewhere and ending up not needing it. Better too much wax than not enough.
When you are done applying the wax, spray some cool water over the surface of the board so that the wax cools and hardens and stays on the board.
Finally, be sure you don’t leave your waxed board in the hot sun, or the wax will melt right off. Also, avoid getting your fresh wax sandy, because it will feel like sandpaper on your skin.Finally,