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Surfboard Wax

Surf wax to help keep your bod on your board.

Surfboard wax has one purpose: to keep your bod on your board. Wax is formulated from natural and/or synthetic compounds and applied to the deck of the board to keep you from sliding into the deep blue yonder while paddling out or riding in.

Most wax is traditionally a mix of paraffin or other hard waxes, with petroleum jelly added to soften it up. There are exotic fragrances added to keep your nostrils entertained while you’re paddling out, perhaps with your favourite chill-out scent.

Recently there has been some concern over the amount of board wax going into our oceans from surfing’s millions of aficionados so natural formulas – containing only organic substances like beeswax, vegetable oils like coconut or hemp oil, pine resin, tree pulp and natural essential oils – are becoming more popular.

Wax makers all have a sense of humour it seems. Manly surfboards has wax from Sticky Bumps, Sex Wax, Far King and Sticky Johnsons. Most surfboard wax is labeled for a specific water temperature range. Wax used in water that’s colder than the wax is rated for will mean rock hard wax that doesn’t give you the necessary stickiness to stay on the board. On the other hand, wax used in water that’s warmer than its rating may melt.

Some surfers layer different temperatures of wax to create the level of firmness and stickiness they like underfoot.They lay down a thin base coat of a high temp wax rated for tropical water to build up bumps and texture. This won’t melt off if its overlaid with a coat of temperature-appropriate wax or sticky wax on top.

This way, if you want to change the wax for different temperatures, the cold water wax won’t come into direct contact with the board.

To simplify, however, some waxes are designed to work in all water conditions and have the ability to remain on the board at any temperature. Getting wax on is the easy bit. Getting it off can be trickier, depending on the type of wax, the conditions and the age of the wax.

Many surfers use a wax comb to groom the wax before a surf – the comb makes a cross hatch pattern to make the wax tackier. Most wax combs come with a wax scraper on the other side. The scraper is great for large chunks of wax, then the residue can be dealt with using a soft cloth, either on its own, or in combination with coconut oil, for example. There are commercial solvents that remove wax, but most surfers avoid them as they can damage the surface or paintjob of the board.