Always wax a new board before trying to ride it
- Remove old, dirty wax before applying a full coat
- Don't wax your board in direct sunlight
- Use large arm movements and overlap your layers
- No need to press hard
- Use a wax comb to rough up your wax if needed
When you're first learning to surf, one aspect of the sport that can be quite confusing is when and how to wax a surfboard. It's actually very simple if you follow some basic tips.
Why do you need to wax a surfboard?
Most people that decide to start surfing have had some level of experience with other board sports. In sports like snowboarding or skateboarding, wax is used to make things more slippery. Quite the opposite is true for surfing. In surfing, wax is put on top of the board and is used to keep you from sliding around. You need something to keep you on the board so you don't slip off every time you make a turn.
When to wax a surfboard
There are many times when you're going to need to wax your board. Once you try surfing on an unwaxed board, you'll understand why.
It's not uncommon for surfers to walk straight out the door with their shiny new board and straight into the water, completely forgetting about wax. When boards are new, they don't have any wax on them at all. That means that if you try to ride it as is, there is nothing for your feet to stick to. A good coat of wax on your new purchase is a must.
So, maybe you've already waxed your board and used it a few times. Just because there is still wax on your board doesn't mean it's going to work the way it should. After even one long session, your wax is going to become slippery from your skin constantly rubbing on it. At that point, you might as well not have wax on it at all. You need to make sure that your board always has a fresh coat before paddling out.
Wax in the shade
Another important thing to remember is that wax melts. If you're on the beach in direct sunlight, waxing your board is going to be nearly impossible. The partially melted wax spreads on more like butter instead of creating the bumpy surface that you need for traction. Many surfers prefer to wax their boards at home, before they head out for their session.
How to wax a surfboard
How to wax a surfboard is an important skill to master to ensure the best surf session. For someone who has never done it before, here are some tips that will come in handy. Surf wax doesn't typically come with instructions so beginners are often left scratching their head. Fear not! Waxing a surfboard is actually very simple.
US Marine Corps (USMC) Corporal (CPL) Kimberley Thompson, Public Affairs Officer (PAO), stationed at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort, South Carolina (SC), waxes her surfboard on the beach at Hunting Island, SC. CPL Thompson is demonstrating surfing techniques for an upcoming video documentary.
1- It's always best to start with a clean surface. If your board has old wax on it, use a wax scraper to take it off.
2 - Once you have your cool, clean surface, you want to rub the wax onto your board in a wide crosshatch or circular pattern. This will cause your thin layers to overlap and create the bumps that you're trying to achieve.
3 - Don't press too hard as that tends to heat up the wax and cause it to take on a gooey consistency. It's really that simple. It's recommended that you give your board a light refresh coat before every session.
You'll also want to use a wax comb to rough up your wax before you paddle out. And remember; only put the wax where you're going to be standing. It's not meant to go on the bottom of your board and there is no sense wasting such a valuable commodity. Wax is the gold of surf culture. Put it to good use.