You get inundated with advice on what surfboard to buy, how to paddle out, where to go on your next surf trip, where not to, even how to poo... But have you ever been properly advised on how to wax a surfboard?
If not, read on.
Wax is how you grip your surfboard, both when you're paddling and up and riding, and so it's kinda crucial that you know how and where to wax. But you also need to know where not to wax, and where to absolutely never not wax.
What Brand of Surfboard Wax Should I Use?
There are loads of wax brands out there, but the best, is probably Sex Wax. (or Fu Wax, depending on whom you ask). Now, their branding and slogans (Quick Humps, 'The best for your stick', etc) may sound like bad schoolboy humour from the 1970's, but their surfboard wax is decent.
Ideally, a base coat of hard (warm/tropic) wax is applied to a clean, naked surfboard first, followed by a softer (colder water) wax to suit the ocean temperature you're surfing in.
How Often Should I Wax Up?
Occy once famously said "one board, one wax job," which sounds cool, but in practical terms probably relies upon getting a new quiver of boards every few months, which we're guessing you aren't.
Most surfers like to top up their surfboard with wax before each and every session. Obviously, with time, this will accumulate to a thick, heavy, grey layer of ungrippy wax, which will need to be changed.
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 Far Forward Should I Wax My Surfboard?
Surfers like John John Florence wax pretty much all the way to the nose, to catch the front foot on those frontside fin chuck/tail blows.
You might not be doing many of those during a typical session, but you might want to get forward (to pull into little tubes) or to cheater 5. The principle here is better to have wax all the way to the nose and not need it, than be slip slidin' away if you ever were to.
How Not To Wax
1. Holding the Wax Wrong
Amazing as it seems, some people fuck up before even touching the wax on the board, by holding the wax wrong. Use the edge, man, the edge, not the flat. Don’t rub the flat on. It’s... wrong.
2. Better Orientation
Although it’s a lefty! People who can wax with both right and left hands are called ambiwaxtrous (not to be confused with ambiwankstrous), or show offs...
3. Duck Dive Wax
Oh my good Lord. Who does this? Answer: People! Believe or not, some folk still rub wax up on their rails to ‘help grip while duckdiving’, possibly people who surf in gloves a lot. Don’t! Don’t on the deck, and if you’ve ever even thought about the underside, put your board down and walk away from the sport forever. You’re fucken done, son.
4. Bald Patch
Why oh why oh why? Some folk want to leave a bald patch between the tail pad and the front foot. Don’t. Sure, put more where the front foot goes, but apply wax along all the deck. You never know when you’re gonna need it. Why, in the name of fuckery you’d want a slippy square foot of bald shiny deck on your surfboard is completely beyond reason...
5. Wax in Dings
Once, a ding repair dude got angry with me in Hawaii as I’d put wax in my dings.
'What’s that shit in your dings?' he asked.
'Wax' I replied, meekly, realising I'd committed an infringement.
'It’s a nightmare to get out... Don't!'
He had two huge dogs that might have been dobermans and when he said 'Don’t' their hackles stood up and they snarled baring massive yellow fangs. That was the last time I ever did that.
6. When Should I Wax?
The wax-before-wetsuit, still in clothes vs. wax-in-wetsuit last thing before paddling out debate rages on, with more heat than light. It's one of those topics they say never to talk about over dinner, along with politics, religion and Stand Up Paddling.
We'll say this: Wax is almost always a finite resource, so get your raft waxed a.s.a.p, so when crew inevitably ask 'Dude, got any?' you’re already taken care of. Look after no.1!