Surfers make riding those gnarly waves look pretty easy. Yet, there are many tricks and techniques that go into being able to surf, or at least knowing how to stand on the board for several seconds at a time!
One of these tricks is waxing the deck of your board. Newbies often ask, “Why do you wax a surfboard?” Here is what I discovered!
Why Do You Wax A Surfboard?
1. Preserves the Exterior Surface of the Surfboard
Every new surfboard is already shiny and slick. The only way to keep yours looking like that is by doing two things.
The first is to hang it up for show. Then, dust it every once in a while as you do your other pieces of collectibles.
Your second option is to add a layer of wax. The combination of natural and synthetic wax formulas ensures that your board looks spic, span, and as shiny as the day you bought it.
Try to opt for eco-friendly wax products that won’t release harmful chemicals into the water.
2. Provides a Good Grip
Without that extra layer of wax, your surfboard will feel like a slippery, slimy iceberg. Even the most experienced surfers won’t be able to stand on it for more than a second.
No one wants to slip straight off their board before they’ve had a chance to go near the waves. So, their best option is to apply a layer of surfboard wax, also known as surf wax, to provide traction and give your feet a good grip while weaving through the water.
Keep in mind that, even if you’re not out surfing every day, surf wax will lose its gripping power over time. For best results, reapply a new wax layer about every two months or after 10 surfing sessions.
Yet, first, make sure you remove the old wax and wipe the board to remove any residual wax. Then, reapply the new wax to ensure optimal gripping power every time you go out on the water.
3. Creates Friction
Not only does surf wax provide good traction for your feet, but it also creates friction between your body and the board when you’re paddling around.
It also helps keep the board nearby when you’re swimming. Even with a leash cap, or leg rope as it’s sometimes called, cuffed to your ankle, your board can easily drift away. So, it helps to have that bit of friction between you and the board to ensure it stays by your side at all times.
There’s also another advantage of keeping your board under control. It helps it become less of a hazard to other surfers paddling around you, thus ensuring their safety and yours.
4. Protects the Board from the Elements
Surfboards are made from all types of different materials. Beginners are recommended to start with soft top foam boards. Made with either expanded polystyrene (EPS) or polyurethane (PU) foam, they contain a wooden sheet inserted in the middle and covered with a protective layer, such as epoxy resin.
Then, there are those made of epoxy resin. Yet, these are more expensive because they’re lighter and more buoyant.
Fiberglass is another high-quality material used in the making of surfboards. Professional surfers often opt for this type of surfboard because it’s stronger and more rigid. Yet, it’s also the most expensive.
Finally, we have polyester resin. This material is so popular among surfers that almost 80% of all boards are made with it. It’s easier to use, as well as more versatile and practical, making it much more affordable.
No matter what material your board is made from, it’ll need surf wax to protect it from the harsh rays of the sun.
It’s worth noting that even with surf wax, you should never leave your board in the sun for long periods. It’ll cause the wax to melt and, ultimately, lose its effectiveness quicker than it should.
5. A Wax for Every Climate
There are four types currently on the market: cold, cool, warm, and tropical. Picking the right depends on where you’re surfing.
For example, if you’re surfing in a cold climate, like Tofino, Canada, you’ll need a cool-water wax. Water temperatures in areas like this range between 58℉ and 65℉, so you need a softer type of wax that slides on easily.
On the flip side, tropical areas, like Hawaii and Mexico, require harder wax that won’t melt quickly and can handle the higher temperatures.
Generally, when you’re surfing in a warm climate where water temperatures are between 65℉ and 72℉, you need a warm-water wax. If you’re somewhere where the water temperature reaches over 72℉, you’ll need to use a tropical-water wax.
So, why do you wax a surfboard? For lots of reasons, like keeping it shiny and protected against the harsh effect of the elements.
Perhaps the biggest reason is that it helps keep your grip while out riding the waves. It may be a tedious part of surfing, but with better balance, your confidence will get a nice boost, and you’ll have much more fun in the water.