How To Wax A Surfboard


Catching those waves is so much fun! Every day you wake up thinking about surfing. Going up and down those waves, falling in the water, having so much fun. But if you don’t wax your surfboard you’re going to be falling in that water more often than you’d care to. After all, you want to surf those waves, not just keep falling in them. That’s why we are going to teach you how you can do a nice wax on your surfboard so that your feet can have a nice grip, and you won’t be doing just slip and slides, you’ll be on that wave.

The surface of the surfboard is very slippery, and that’s a good thing. It’s because it’s so smooth and slippery that it’s going to help you glide through the water. However, you want the part where your feet go to stick nicely to the board so that you’re not going anywhere. Here, we are going to give you a few tips on how to wax your surfboard so that you can have the best surfing experience.

What Kind of Wax to Choose

When you have a brand new surfboard, you’ll need to wax it before you get in the water. First, you need to figure out where your feet are going to step on the board so that you can wax the right area. Then, you should have these essentials to wax your surfboard: a base coat wax, the topcoat wax, and a wax comb.

Basecoat Wax

What the base coat wax does is it helps the topcoat adhere better to the board. When you apply the basecoat, it’ll give a better grip and it’ll help the topcoat stay in place, with less of a chance of quickly melting, depending on the water temperature. The basecoat will prevent wax that’s stickier from going all over the place. A good tip for applying the basecoat is to use less pressure. The less pressure you use the taller and smaller beads you’ll create to make the grip even stronger.

Topcoat Wax

You’ll have to choose the right topcoat wax depending on the temperature of the water where you have the custom of surfing, or if you know you’ll be going on a surfing trip, then research what the temperature of the water is at the place where you’re going so that you’ll be prepared with the right wax.

  • Tropical waters wax: you’ll be using whenever you travel to or if you’re super lucky to live in places like Hawaii or the north of Brazil. Water temperatures in places like these vary, but this wax is for water that’s ranging from 75 degrees and up. You’re probably asking yourself if it would make any difference if you were to use a cold-water wax, well the answer is yes. If you use a cold-water wax in tropical temperature water your wax is going to melt and let me tell you, that’s going to be messy.
  • Cold temperature wax: for waters 60 degrees or less. It gives me the chills just to think about going into such cold water, but I know that a lot of you like surfing in the cold, too. You’ll use this wax if you’re surfing in Northern California, or more exotic places like Jeju Island in South Korea. Why not use tropical wax on the cold temperature waters? Because the wax can freeze. That’s right, who would have thought that wax could freeze, right!
  • Cool water wax: for waters in the temperatures between 58F and 68F degrees. The cool thing is that there are wax companies that make cool/cold temperature wax in case the water temperature drops further than 58F degrees while you’re surfing so that you won’t have to worry about your wax freezing over.
  • Warm temperature wax: for waters between 64F and 74F degrees. Places like Hawaii and Southern California have these kinds of temperatures.

How to Apply the Wax


So now that you know all the options available out there for wax, let’s talk about how you can apply it on your board. What you want at the end of the day is to have a good grip on your board so that you’re not sliding around.

First step:  apply the basecoat. Let me explain to you a little bit further on how to use it. You’ll probably not have to reapply the basecoat again until you clean your board. The basecoat is what will make the topcoat stick for long so make sure to use it. You’ll see that in the places that don’t have the basecoat you’ll be reapplying wax all the time. Make sure not to be under the hot sun when applying the wax. Either be inside, or in a cool area so that the wax doesn’t start melting. Like I had mentioned before when applying the basecoat try to make bumps so that the wax has something to hold on to.

Second step: apply the topcoat. In crisscross motions, up and down your board, on the areas you’ll be standing on is where the wax should go. The more patterns and waves you have on your board the better because that’ll give you a better grip on the water. The important thing is that you apply the wax in different directions so that you get as much texture as possible. Remember that the topcoat is softer than the base coat, that’s because you want it to be a little sticky. Don’t push down so hard when applying the top coat wax.

When You Should Reapply Wax

Now you must be asking, when should you wax your board again, right? It all depends on how often you surf. If you surf every day, I’d say that you’d need to reapply just a bit of wax every time to make up for the bits of wax that’ll come off each time you surf.

There’s always going to be a bit of wax coming off in the water, rubbing off on your wet suits, and so on. So, go ahead and fill in those spots that you feel are slippery. In the chance that you’re noticing your board is getting too smooth, use the comb. Comb your board making stripes up and down so that you can get that grip back.

What Part of the Surf Board to Wax

You might be asking yourself where you should put the wax; if you have a longboard maybe you should wax from nose to tail. Be careful with the fins of your board, you can take them off while waxing, or be very gentle while waxing so that you don’t get them ruined. If you’re going to be using a shortboard, then there’s no need to wax the entire deck.

Wax it where you think you’ll be stepping, but also wax the parts where you’ll be grabbing when doing dives and rolls. That goes for all types of boards. You want to make sure to have a good grip on your board while making those moves.

When and How to Clean Your Surf Board

It depends on how often you surf. But if you need a number, usually in 2 months or so your board should get a good cleaning.

The way to clean it and get all that wax that was built up in the last 2 months or so is a fun job. There are scrapers that you could get or if you don’t have a scraper then something as worldly as a credit card type of thing and start scraping your board.

Now, to make your life a little easier you could leave your board facing up under the sun so that the sun can loosen up the wax. Once you’ve scraped all that wax off, your board will be left with a tacky, or sticky, residue. To get that cleaned off just use a cleaning solution for surfboards sold in stores or mineral spirits. Wipe it off with a cloth.

Once you’ve got your surfboard all nice and clean you’ll have to do the same process all over again. First, put on some base coat, then the topcoat. Apply in a circular motion or zig zags, however, you feel like it, and enjoy your day surfing once again.

This exercise of waxing your board can be something fun to do to put your mind in surfing mode. Imagine taking your board to the beach, sitting in front of the ocean, listening to the waves while you wax your board. There’s probably nothing as nice and relaxing as that.

How to Care For Your Wax

To take care of your wax don’t let any sand get on it. Put your wax in a bag or any sort of container to keep it nice and clean. Getting sand on your wax is going to be kind of a nightmare because it gets everywhere, and it hurts your skin.

Also, try to store your wax in cool places if possible; if you’re out there in the summertime and you leave the wax under the sun you’ll get a mess for sure. Lastly, so that you protect your hard waxing work from melting while resting a bit on the beach, just lay your board facing down from the sun. Make sure that you face it down on top of something so that you don’t get sand on your board.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!