Why Do You Wax A Surfboard? (2022)

If you’ve just bought a new surfboard, the last thing you want to do is smear some gunky wax all over it and “ruin” its gleaming, smooth surface. But, unless you bought the board solely for display purposes, you’ll have to do precisely that.

So, why do you wax a surfboard? Is it really necessary to smear its smooth surface with wax? Yes, it is essential to wax your surfboard. A surfboard isn’t all you need in surfing but waves and wax, too. The wax on your board determines whether you have a good session or a bad one.

Read along to understand the need to wax your surfboard. This article explains everything about the wax’s relation to your surfboard and what it does to your performance.

Table of Contents

Why Do You Wax A Surfboard?

When wet, surfboards are slippery. The most significant way to ensure that you don’t slip off your board in varied water temperatures is to apply wax to your board. The texture of a soft top’s deck changes when exposed to cold and warm water.

Applying a layer of wax to your board can help you maintain a higher level of traction in all conditions. In short, nothing holds you to the board save a small layer of wax for grip.

(Video) How to Wax a Surfboard

How Is A Wax For Surfboard Made?

Paraffin, beeswax, and other hard waxes are used to make surf wax. Every company has its own top-secret, sticky formula. Because the major component – paraffin – is produced of oil, which is not the most environmentally friendly product, natural substitutes such as beeswax, vegetable oils, pine resin, soy, and others are now being employed.

Are There Different Types of Wax For Different Temperatures?

Yes. Waxes naturally tend to become soft at higher temperatures and hard at lower temperatures. That is why different waxes are required for different temperatures. Each wax has the perfect hardness/tackiness point at a different temperature range.

Why Do You Wax A Surfboard? (1)

A higher-temperature surf wax is required for surfers who live in more tropical locations (such as Hawaii or Australia). Different environment surf wax is necessary for individuals surfing in cooler climes. Let’s have a look at the various temperatures so you’ll be prepared when the time comes.

Cold Water Wax

Why Do You Wax A Surfboard? (2)

If you plan on surfing in temps of 60 degrees or lower (don’t forget to wear a wetsuit), cold-water wax is recommended. This is meant to keep your board in the best possible condition, even when the weather drops below freezing.

Keep this wax in a cool, dry place to prevent it from melting in hot weather. It’s also vital to avoid using it in hotter or tropical locations because it won’t be able to endure the heat.

The majority of surf brands provide their popular selections in various temperatures. This implies you won’t have to swap brands to get a good product at a different temperature.

(Video) How to Wax a Surfboard Perfectly in a Few Minutes

If you live in a colder climate, your local store will most likely have the right product; similarly, if you live in a tropical environment, you’ll most likely discover tropical and warm wax.

Cool Water Wax

Cool surf wax is suitable for water temperatures ranging from 58 to 68 degrees. Cool Water Wax mixtures perform well in cooler conditions to retain grip and traction, but they won’t hold up as well when the weather warms up.

Warm Water Wax

Warm water wax is required for water temperatures ranging from 58 to 75 degrees. Because these are less resistant to high temperatures, following the manufacturer’s instructions is critical for maximum board traction.

Tropical Water Wax

If you plan on surfing in waters that are 75 degrees or above, you’ll need a tropical surf wax to preserve your board traction. These are made to resist higher temperatures, so they won’t melt when it becomes too hot outside or when exposed to direct sunshine.

In addition, these temperatures are often more challenging to work with than other wax temperatures.

Wax Application

Knowing when and how to apply surf wax is critical to a successful surfing session. For starters, if you don’t apply enough wax, staying upright on your board will be tough, if not impossible. This is especially critical for newcomers who are still learning the ropes.

On the other hand, putting too much wax on your board can make it overly slippery. This is essentially a waste of wax because you’ll be right back where you started—except with a dirty board to clean.

When To Apply Surf Wax

Why Do You Wax A Surfboard? (3)“One board, one wax job,” as the saying goes, which sounds fantastic but in practice probably means getting a new quiver of boards every few months, which we think you don’t.

(Video) Should you wax surfboard?

The majority of surfers like to wax their surfboards before each session. Obviously, this will build up to a thick, heavy, grey layer of ungrippy wax that will need to be replaced over time.

Whether you have OCD or not, the frequency with which you wax your surfboard will vary, but in general, de-waxing with the change of the seasons (4 times per year) or every time you go on a surf trip should be enough.

It’s also worth considering whether a fast combing with a wax comb is preferable to apply more wax.

How Far Forward Should You Wax A Surfboard?

To catch the front foot on those frontside fin chuck/tail blasts, surfers like John John Florence wax almost all the way to the nose.

You won’t be doing many of those in a typical session, but you could want to get forward into small tubes. It’s better to have the wax all the way up to the nose and not need it than to be slipping sliding away if you need it.

Choosing The Best Surf Wax

Aside from water temperature, there are a few things you should consider in picking the best surf wax. Here’s all you need to know about surf waxes if you’ve mixed up your base and top coats and don’t know where to start!

Basecoat vs. Topcoat Wax

Why Do You Wax A Surfboard? (4)The base coat is a wax layer applied first to your board. The wax for the base coat is tougher and less sticky than the wax for the top layer. It will also last longer, as a single application will endure multiple surf outings.

It’s a good idea to start with a base coat wax, which will help your topcoat last longer. The base coat clings to your board and aids in the adhesion of your top layer. However, the base coat is optional, so you can skip it if you wish. Just keep in mind that if you do this, you’ll have more opportunities to re-wax your board after you get out of the water.

(Video) How To Wax Your Surfboard Perfectly EVERYTIME ★ How To Surf Series ★ Stoked For Travel

Topcoat wax is usually stickier and softer than base coat wax, making it easier to apply. You won’t have to work as hard as you did with the base coat, but it will require more frequent application throughout the day.

Traditional vs. Sticky Wax

Two types of wax are readily available. Traditional wax is hard, and when you apply it to your board, you’ll end up with little lumps of wax that create fantastic traction.

On the other hand, sticky wax keeps you on your board by being sticky! It may seem self-evident, yet it works. The only disadvantage of sticky wax is that it coats your feet.

Toxic vs. Non-Toxic Wax

Some of the less popular surf wax products include potentially dangerous chemical compounds. Not only are these chemicals harmful to your board, but they can also hurt sea animals and damage coral if they get into the ocean. When surfing, you don’t want harsh chemicals on your feet all day.

You’ll be happy to learn that some of the most outstanding surf wax companies have developed environmentally friendly surf wax formulas. They’ve designed waxes that are powerful but gentle on sea creatures by employing natural, organic materials.

Many discussions have been focused on this problem because of climate change and global warming, so you can consider that while making your purchase.


Surf wax is a wise investment for any surfer. But, it’s critical to select a quality surf wax that works for you, no matter how experienced you are in the sport. It is entirely up to you and a matter of personal preference whether you use a traction pad or wax.

(Video) How to remove Surf Wax with NO SUN! // Surfboard Tutorial with Grizzly

Once you’ve selected a wax that meets your requirements, it’s critical to ensure that you’re applying and removing it correctly. Only when your board is maintained correctly can you surf safely and adequately.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: Should you wax foamies?

A: A soft board shouldn’t need to be waxed, especially if it’s brand new. It’s best to try it out without the wax first to see how you like it, as most foamies have some form of traction, and wearing boots can assist a lot. The primary reason for this is that wax may be challenging to remove from a foamie, and if you load it on and leave it, it can get very unpleasant! If your foamie is slick, you may use a traction pad or add a thin layer of wax — you won’t need half as much as you would on a hardboard.

Related Resources

  • Best Skimboard Waxes
  • Steps To Remove Wax from a Surfboard
  • Best Surf Wax
  • Best GoPro Surfboard Mounts
  • What Is A Hawaiian Lei?


Why Do You Wax A Surfboard? ›

Surfboard wax (also known as surfwax) is a formulation of natural and/or synthetic wax for application to the deck of a surfboard, bodyboard, or skimboard, to keep the surfer from slipping off the board when paddling out or riding a wave. It is also used to increase grip on the paddle of a surf kayak or dragon boat.

Why is waxing a surfboard important? ›

Surfboard wax is essential as it gives you a tight grip and creates traction for your feet on your board. The wax also stops you from slipping off when you're paddling out to the waves.

Do I need to wax my surfboard? ›

Wax on a surfboard is essential, providing the surfer with grip and traction. Without wax, a surfer can slip off their board much more easily. For this reason, properly applying wax can be the difference between riding a wave and wiping out.

How long does surf wax last? ›

Most waxes are strong enough to hold after one session, even longer ones. In general, you want to find a product that can hold up even after you've surfed for a while. Even if you don't, however, there's little likelihood that your wax will be unusable after just one session.

How often should I wax my surfboard? ›

How often you wax your surfboard will depend on whether you have OCD or not, but in general, de-waxing with the changing of the seasons (4 times per year), or every time you go on a surf trip should do. It's also worth thinking whether a quick rub with a wax comb will be preferential to adding yet more wax.

How do beginners surf? ›

How to Surf | 7 Tips beginners need to know to Start Surfing - YouTube

Do soft surfboards need wax? ›

The surf industry has tried to create surfboards that have gripping technology, but it's not quite there yet — at least, not to a point where you can ditch the surf wax. This includes soft top surfboards. Yes, you absolutely should wax your foamie.

How do you maintain a surfboard? ›

  1. Prolonged exposure to the sun is a death sentence for surfboards.
  2. Take your board to a professional repair shop for dings.
  3. Never leave your board in direct sunlight or a hot car.
  4. Always store your surfboard in a board bag.
  5. Rinse the salt off the surface of your board after you surf.
Sep 8, 2019

How much does it cost to wax a board? ›

Snowboard Tuning
Services for SnowboardsPrice
Debur & Wax$30
Hot Wax$20
Wield (per inch)$10
2 more rows

How do you remove old wax from surfing? ›

How to Remove Old Wax From a Surfboard
  1. Set board in the sun for about 15 minutes, or carefully apply heat with a heat gun or hairdryer.
  2. Scrape wax off with wax comb.
  3. If wax remain, use flour or a wax remover to loosen excess wax.

What can I use instead of surfboard wax? ›

A clear. alternative. to surf wax. Van Der Waal is a crystal-clear surfboard traction pad that doesn't melt, so your board will never stain other surfaces it comes in contacts with, such as your surfboard bag, your car, or your clothes.

Should I remove old wax from surfboard? ›

And when the base coat on your board is compromised, or when the two layers mix with dirt in the water, they no longer work as effectively as they were designed to do. This is why it is important to remove wax regularly. With a fresh set of wax, you will have more grip than without it or with old-used wax.

What size surfboard is best for a beginner? ›

A minimal surfboard is what we recommend for most beginner surfers. It is the mid-range of surfboards lengthwise varying from about 7-8ft and about 2 5/8″ – 3” thick. The width of a minimal can vary to cater for the rider but typically they are about 20 1/2″-22 1/2” wide.

How do you get wax off a surfboard without a comb? ›

Use a credit card. Have you run out of citrus-based wax remover? Pour pure melted coconut oil over the board, or sprinkle beach sand and rub off the last bits with a wooly towel. Learn how to wax a surfboard, and discover the best surf wax brands in the world.

What to do when a wave breaks on you? ›

  1. DON'T GAS YOURSELF OUT. If you're in the impact zone, paddling like a maniac, hyperventilating and gasping for breath already, chances are you're not going to be very calm when a big wave breaks right on you. ...
Feb 15, 2022

What should a first time surfer know? ›

How to Surf: the Ultimate Guide to Your 1st Time Surfing
  • What to Remember. The goal of your first surfing experience is get a feel for the process. ...
  • Catch a Wave. ...
  • Stand Up On a Wave. ...
  • The Goal is to Have Fun. ...
  • Learn the Cycle of Surfing. ...
  • Light Offshore or No Wind. ...
  • Long-Breaking Gentle Waves. ...
  • Longboard – Longer the Better.

What is the most important thing in surfing? ›

One of the most important aspects to surfing, your board and you become one, you rely on it to not only get on a wave but for speed, stability and reliability. Learning on a shortboard isn't the go for 95% of riders. Typically, a fun board is the best option for a newbie.

How do you tell if a board is epoxy or polyester? ›

How do you tell epoxy from regular boards?, Well to start with look at the manufacturers logos (the “stickers” under the glass work), most reputable board builders will put the word epoxy on most or at least one of these, so READ them all first, if you find the word epoxy on any of these than it is an epoxy… as for the ...

Should I wax a foam board? ›

Foamies. You shouldn't need to wax a soft board, especially if they are new. I'd recommend using it first without wax and seeing how you get on, as most foamies have some sort of grip to them, and wearing boots can be enough of a help.

Do you put surf wax on a foam board? ›

The answer is YES. Surf brands have experimented with applying grippier top layers to foam boards but we're not quite there yet. Most soft top boards appear rubbery but when wet they get slippery. A layer of wax will add extra grip to your soft top board.

Is it bad to leave a surfboard outside? ›

Boards with a lot of sun exposure (whether yellowed or not) become weaker and deteriorate quickly. With time, the sun expands the foam and burns away some of the protection that the epoxy and fiberglass layers provide. This will result in a surfboard being more prone to dents and dings, and an overall weaker structure.

Is it bad to leave a surfboard in the rain? ›

Surfboards should always be kept indoors, away from the elements. Prolonged exposure to sun, rain, and even morning dew will compromise a surfboard's structural integrity over time. Avoid stacking surfboards.

Is it bad to leave a surfboard in the sun? ›

Always do your best to minimize the heat and sunlight your board is exposed to, and your board will last much, much longer. UV rays from sunlight will also yellow your board faster. Also, keep in mind that the darker the colors of your board, the quicker they absorb heat and the hotter they get.

Does wax help with grip? ›

Benefits of Using Wax on Surfboard

As mentioned earlier, surf wax is an excellent way to improve your grip on the surfboard. Surfboard wax gives your feet enough grip and traction to remain stable on the surfboard. Moreover, surf wax also prevents you from slipping off your board as you paddle out to the waves.

Why do surfers wax the top of their feet? ›

Surfers are waxing the tops of their feet, so they can store some extra traction for when they finally make it out to the lineup.

Why do surfers scrape their boards? ›

Your wetsuits press against it, rub up on it, and scrape the wax clean off. Your feet smash it, and the sun melts it. Every second, something in our universe is acting on your board and, more importantly, the wax. Top layers are designed to be tacky.

Should I wax my soft top surfboard? ›

So, to the main question: Do I have to wax my soft top surfboard? The answer is YES. Surf brands have experimented with applying grippier top layers to foam boards but we're not quite there yet. Most soft top boards appear rubbery but when wet they get slippery.

Why is my surfboard so slippery? ›

If the water is too warm, it will melt off. If the water is too cold, the wax will freeze making the surface very slippery. Choosing the right temperature surf wax will ensure that your surfboard stays under your feet. Choosing the right surf wax depends on the water temperature where you will be surfing.

How do you not slip off a surfboard? ›

There are many different types of wax out there, and they all do exactly the same thing—they stop you from slipping off the surfboard when you are either paddling or up surfing. At the beginning of a surf, surf wax is applied to the deck of the board in the positions where the feet will be placed.

Why do surfers have blonde hair? ›

The hair of surfers is often damaged and bleached, brought about by frequent exposure to sunlight, humidity and salty water. Blonder or red headed individuals tend to be more affected, given that their pheomelanin is more sensitive.

Is Surf Wax toxic? ›

Wax is imperative to have a good session and bad/no wax can hamper a fun time. However, wax can negatively impact the environment because of its chemical makeup. Traditional surf wax is created with petrochemicals, which aren't biodegradable and are toxic if digested.

Why do surfers wear wetsuits? ›

Wetsuits are usually worn by swimmers, divers, or surfers who swim in cold water. Wetsuits insulate the swimmers, or help them retain body heat. This, in turn, helps the swimmers avoid hypothermia, a dangerously low body temperature. Wetsuits are made of a kind of rubber called neoprene.

What is a surf comb for? ›

A surfboard wax comb is a surfing tool used for removing or maintaining the wax coating on a surfboard. It is aptly named because it resembles a comb with one flat side and the other with teeth-like projections.

What does surfboard wax smell like? ›

Actually. It smells like coconut, and the beach, and sunshine, and home. And because we cannot get enough of it, we decided to make candles out of our old surfboard wax! With this DIY project, your home can always smell like summertime!

Do you need to wax traction pads? ›

The bumps, curves, grooves, and contours found on the traction pads all come down to personal taste and comfort. Advantages of a surfboard traction pad: Never, ever have to wax your surfboard again. No melting wax in the hot sun going all over the car or whatever. No maintenance required.


1. The physics of surfing - Nick Pizzo
2. Surf Simply's Question Time: When to Wax, When to Comb?
(Surf Simply)
3. HOW TO WAX YOUR SURFBOARD FOR THE FIRST TIME! I explain how to wax your longboard or shortboard.
(Weston Killpack)
4. How to Wax a Surfboard - Everything You Need to Know
(Hatchos Shapes)
5. enjoy the asmr that comes along with the satisfying process of de-waxing a surfboard
(Mackie Albertson)
6. How To Remove Surfboard Wax From A Surfboard
(SBS Boards)

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