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We're Waxing Down Our Surfboards

Posted by Stu on

How to wax a surfboard:

We'll all be planning that route
We're gonna take real soon
We're waxing down our surfboards
We can't wait for June

That was the Beach Boys in ’63 singing Surfin’ USA. I had mowed lawns all summer to buy my first surfboard (an old Velzy Jacobs Balsa), bought a box of Parawax Parafin, and now had to figure out what to do next.

If I have learned one thing since then, it’s “waxing down” a surfboard. Specifically let’s wax down your first shiny new long board. (If you ever worked in a surf shop you got asked how to do this more than you would think!)

Lay your board on a padded surface or lawn (not in the sun). If the fin is sticking up, turn your board over.

Take a bar of BASE COAT wax (or TROPICAL as they are pretty much the same), and rub it hard all over the deck in a circular motion. At first, you will think someone is pulling your leg, because not much happens, but gradually the wax will stick, and by the time the bar is pretty much gone, you will have a sore arm – and a nice bumpy pattern of wax.

That’s it, until you get to the beach. Then rub a light coat of whichever wax is appropriate to the water temp. Keep that wax with you and touch up as you need to.

Other wax wisdom
In the tropics – Hawaii, Indo, centro etc - you will only ever need base coat. Clean your board at home, then re-wax when you get there, otherwise you may have a mess in your travel bag, especially if you have soft winter wax on your stick.
If you use a day bag or sock (remember those?) always put your board in the same way. Some wax will stick to the inside of the bag, and if you put your board in upside down, you will get wax on the bottom of your board (a speed killer and sign of a kook)
Eventually you will want to clean the old wax off your board. Use a drop cloth and put your board in the sun just long enough to soften up the wax, then scrape off as much wax as you can with a wax scraper or plastic putty knife. DO NOT LET THE OLD WAX DROP ON THE GROUND. IT WILL MELT AND STAIN YOUR DRIVEWAY FOREVER. Clean the remaining wax off with a rag and paint thinner. (NOT acetone) Above all, NEVER, NEVER clean you board on your dad’s manicured front lawn, as the wax will melt into the grass and in a week will leave the perfect, dead grass outline of a 9-2 Velzy Jacobs.
Speaking of surf wax doing damage, if you care about your car, use a board bag to keep wax off your roof racks. Even a speck of wax melting into your paint will cause a permanent black spot that will keep reappearing no matter how you clean it off. That includes a few days after you sell your car to the huge, ugly, bad tempered guy down the street.

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