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How To Wax A Surfboard Perfectly

How To Wax A Surfboard

Waxing your surfboard can seem like an afterthought if you are new to the sport. There are so many aspects about learning how to surf you may prioritize ahead of waxing. However, this may not be for the best – learning how to wax a surfboard will provide more grip and a much sturdier foundation for your balance.

A well-waxed board can actually improve your surfing by giving you more confidence in your pop-ups. Before you grab the nearest candle and start rubbing it all over your board, specific products and techniques will give you the best results. You owe it to your surfboard to do a great job!

More of an art than a chore, waxing your surfboard requires a deft touch that comes with experience. You’ll discover your personal preferences over time but until then, use these tips to develop good habits.

What Do You Need To Start Waxing?

Yes, you need surfboard wax. But there’s a little more to it than that. For the best surfboards you need the right surf wax to give you extra traction, a top coat and a base coat. You also need an excellent spot to do this, preferably indoors but at least out of the direct sunlight. The temperatures can affect whether or not your wax spreads evenly or not.

Cleaning Your Board

Before you apply surf wax, it’s best to clean your board first. Surfboard wax builds up over time and adds weight that can affect your balance. To remove the surf wax, simply leave your surfboard in direct sun for 10-15 mins to soften the wax. Then use the thin end of your wax comb to scrape off excess wax evenly.

If you don’t have access to direct sun, you can use a wax remover as well. Wax remover will turn hard wax into softer wax quickly.  

The Base Coat

As the first layer of surf wax to hit your clean surfboard, its job is to give a good foundation to the top coat. Base coat wax is universal, so no matter where you are in the world, you can get this at any local surf shop.

Gently apply this to your surfboard using the thin side of your wax bar. Keep in mind this is only a base and should still be a thin layer that’s evenly spread across where you’ll be standing.

The Top Coat

Before applying your top coat wax, you must first identify the water temperature of where you’ll be surfing. With four different types of wax to choose from, you surely don’t want to use tropical wax in a cold water environment.

This top coat wax will stick to your base coat and also will be in direct contact with your feet. You want to make sure your wax will stay on as long as possible to create the perfect wax job.

There are two generally accepted ways to apply your base wax however for top coat wax, there is only one way: always apply this coat by creating small circles to ensure an even application.

Methods Of Applying Surfboard Wax

Use one of these two methods when applying your base coat. There is no right or wrong way, only personal preference, so feel free to try each one separately.

Methods Of Applying Surfboard Wax


Start by using the thin end of your surf wax and move it around in a circular motion. It’s best to use smaller circles so you ensure that you’re covering the most surface area possible.

Use a light touch at first to slowly apply the wax. You can also use it to fill in any pressure dings that you happen to notice. The goal is to create tiny beads of fresh wax all over the area you will be standing and where your hands will be for your pop-up.


This method requires a little more skill to look good and be uniform across your surfboard. You only need to cover the area where your feet will be and where your hand placement is for pop-ups. For a longboard, this may cover a large area, while shortboards need much less.

Take the thin end of your surfboard wax and make long diagonal lines across your board. Then turn your board and repeat the process. This will create a crisscross pattern. Next, take your wax comb and gently run it across all the lines to spread them out. The wax lines should flatten to cover a larger area. If you do it correctly, you should still see the crisscross pattern amongst many small bumps.

Frequently Asked Questions

Waxing a surfboard for the first time takes time, patience and a little bit of effort. Ensure you have the right wax for the temperature of water you’ll be surfing in. If it’s your first time waxing a brand new surfboard, then you won’t have to worry about cleaning it. Apply your base coat using either circular motions or the crisscross method. Practice makes perfect.

Yes, you need a base coat to wax a surfboard. This is particularly important to make sure that your water temperature sensitive top coat adheres correctly. It is the glue that holds your top coat to your surfboard with strength and longevity. A very important step that shouldn’t be skipped!

How often you wax your surfboard depends solely on how much you use it. For weekend warriors, you may only need to wax when the water temp changes. For more avid surfers, you can use your wax comb or beach sand to rejuvenate an aging wax job before completely re-doing it.

You only need to wax the area of your surfboard where you will be standing. The wax provides a good grip when applied correctly. You can also add some wax to where your hands will be during your pop-up. You don’t want your hands slipping at this crucial time of your run.


Waxing your surfboard can be a relaxing and rewarding activity. It gives you time to bond with your board, and get to know each and every inch of it. This should not be seen as a chore but as an event. Take your time with waxing, especially if you are just learning how to wax a surfboard. Test out different techniques to find the best one for you. It’s all a part of the culture and if you want to be a better surfer, wax your surfboard correctly!

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