On the surface surfboard wax seems pretty straight forward. You rub it on and the stuff is sticky enough to stop you falling off your surfboard. right? Well that's not the whole story!
Every seasoned surfer has their own wax technique and favorite surf wax brand depending on .. Grip, smell, longevity and stickiness.. This comes in time so don't stress if you find yourself staring at the wax shelf in your local surf store, terrified to choose the wrong wax incase the surfer dude ringing up your sale may snark at the newbie in the deep end.
Surfboard wax is made for all ocean temperatures "cold, cool, warm and tropical". There is also a special surf base coat of wax for new boards and a wax tool called a wax comb; with a smooth edge to remove wax and a toothed edge to comb the wax and create traction.
You may find yourself with a new board, wax and comb and you are left looking at the board wondering "is there a technique to this" well yes there is... You need to be creating layers, bumps and plenty of traction in all the places that count!
You can be applying circles, straight lines, criss-cross, crazy...every direction goes as long as it's sticky.
Wax gets dirty it's part of surfing...everyone has their tipping point as to what shade of brown they are willing to reach before changing their wax.
Depending on how "pedantic you may be" it's generally accepted that you should clean your wax every three months at most or at least once a year.
Always remember to wax the rails where you grip to push under and make sure you cover the area from front foot to back foot.
You can tell a lot about a person from their surfboard wax Job. The gold star student: This dude has the best looking board in the line up. Perfect and evenly distributed wax bumps across the top deck of their surfboard. Usually involves many hours of circular waxing and measuring the bumps and positioning to look perfect.
Mellow Sam: "Hey Dude, there is wax on the board... Is it warm or cold water... Hmmm not sure but it feels okay .. Let's check it out this sesh and see how we go".
Totally laid back: "Oh man, I left my board in the sun again and the wax ran over the rails. Do I have more wax somewhere ... Where did I leave it after my last sesh."
No matter the type of surfer you may be, every surfer worth their salt will tell you that wax is just as essential as the board to enjoy a great wave!