Wax on. Wax off.
Pro rider Chris Bösch on board waxing
Just like surfing, a good board wax application is learned. With the right tools, time and technique you can make any strapless surfboard feel as though it’s strapped. With incredible grip and style to boot.
THE RIGHT TOOLS
First, you need to visit a surf shop and buy a few supplies, namely: surf wax, a wax comb/scraper combo and a wax remover kit or liquid. Surf wax comes in basecoat and topcoat formulas. The basecoat is intended (obviously:) as a primer. Although some skip the basecoat, it really helps the topcoat adhere to the board. Topcoat wax comes in the following water temperature varieties: Cold under 14°C and is very soft wax), Cool (between. 14°-20°C), warm (between 20°-25°C) and Tropic (over 25°C and is very hard wax). Prices vary as do colours and fragrances. Buy two basecoats and a couple blocks of the top wax to allow for changing water temperatures. And it really does matter. Trust me.
Your board needs to be cold, clean and dirt free. Find a shady place on a cool morning to do your work. Spray the board with water if it is too hot. And store your new wax in the fridge before you use it.
Although not absolutely necessary, it is best to apply a basecoat first. I start my basecoat at the kick pad and work my way forward and past my front foot position leaving approximately 40cm of the board nose unwaxed. Keep the wax o the rails
because it slows down the board. Some kiters will intentionally wax a portion of the rail for better board grabs. The choice is yours.
Make a diamond shaped pattern with your basecoat by drawing straight diagonal lines across the board. Then draw diagonal lines in the opposite direction to make a diamond shaped pattern. Then finish with a circular pattern until you see the distinctive wax moguls appear. I will use half a block building up a good base. Finish with the correct topcoat wax, again, in a circular pattern.
Then the wax hardens, dries out and is no longer doing its job, I clean the board completely. The mess is easily removed with a wax scraper if the board is left in the sun briefly to soften the old wax. The wax hopefully ends up in the garbage unless you purchased eco-friendly board wax. The last bits of wax can be removed with a
wax removing sponge or a liquid wax remover.
You can save the money on a wax comb/scraper by using an old, plastic, ice scraper or even an expired credit card. Any heavy duty comb will work fine too. To remove the last bit of remaining wax, you can use flour. It works!
Rehab your waxed board before every session for a little more grip. I start by removing any large chunks on top and any strays on the bottom or rails with my scraper. I comb diagonal lines into my wax to give the wax some bite. And I re-wax my front foot area with the appropriate temperature wax. This rehab lasts for an hour or so of riding. Some experienced riders keep a block of wax near the water and give their board a quick wax without landing their kite. I carry a comb and wax in my boardshorts. No comb? Fingernails work too.
Rinse your board with fresh water after every ocean session to prevent the wax from drying out. Store your board in a clean area away from the sandy beach. And when on the beach, keep your board out of the sun or, at minimum, upside down otherwise you will end up with a runny mess with no traction!
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