My Method For The Perfect Surfboard Wax Job

How to Wax a Surfboard

I admit, I’m kind of a perfectionist when it comes to waxing my surfboard. But it’s something that shouldn’t be overlooked.

I’d rather avoid doing the splits because one or both of my feet slid off the board. So I make sure to keep my wax game strong.

I get a solid base going, and then I wax it before each surf session.
(You could also just get a front traction pad, and completely eliminate the need for wax, but that’s not what this article is about)

How to Wax Your Surfboard

  1. Make sure your board is clean (no wax).
  2. Start with the bar of Basecoat wax. If you don’t use the basecoat, the normal wax won’t stick to your board as nicely.
    Rub the bar evenly across the whole board, except the nose. (If you want to wax the nose also, you can).
    It’s better to be safe than sorry. Wax a little farther up the nose than you think you will need. Then when you take a crazy drop-in and you’re way far forward on your board, your front foot won’t slip off.
    If you don’t have a traction pad, wax the entire tail end of your board. If you do have a traction pad, apply the wax as close to the pad as possible.


    This will be the only time you apply the basecoat wax, so make sure every nook and cranny is covered.

  3. Now you apply the topcoat/regular wax.
    This wax will help your feet stick to the board really well.
    Wax diagonal lines across your board, spread several inches apart.


Apply wax in diagonal lines
Apply wax in diagonal lines

Once you have gone the whole length of the board, go back and wax diagonal lines the opposite direction. This will leave you with diamonds/hatching patterns.

Apply wax in the opposite direction now
Apply wax in the opposite direction now
  1. Now go over everything in a small circular motion. Kind of like the motion you do when washing a plate. This will spread the wax evenly. Not much pressure is needed here.
Rub the top coat of wax in circles
Rub the top coat of wax in circles
  1. The end result should be uniform bumps of wax all across your surfboard. You did it wrong if there are big gobs of wax anywhere, and this will only become worse as you re-wax your board before each surf.
Perfect wax bumps on surfboard
Perfect wax bumps on surfboard
  1. Lightly wax your board before every surf session, to keep it sticky on your feet.

How to Remove the Wax From Your Surfboard

Too much wax on surfboard
If your board looks like this, it’s time to remove the wax!

If you wax your surfboard before every surf, the wax will eventually get pretty think on your board.

This can cause excess weight, and I’ve also found that the wax starts unsticking from the board when it gets too thick.

I like to wax my board with a fresh bar of wax, and by the time the wax is all used up it’s usually time to de-wax the board and give it a fresh coat.

  1. It helps if you can put your surfboard in the sun for a few minutes, to soften the wax. Cold wax can be removed too, just not quite as easily as warm wax.
  2. Take a wax comb (or credit card) and scrape the old wax off your board. If the wax is softened from the sun, you will be able to scrape the whole length of the board in one stroke.
Wax comb
Wax comb

Side note: Some people like using the teeth of the comb to “roughen up” their wax job, instead of adding fresh wax each session. Personally I am not a fan. I only use the smooth side of the wax comb for removing old wax.

  1. Start forming a ball with the wax you have removed. Continue removing the rest of the wax, and add it to the ball. Throw away the ball of wax when your board is entirely de-waxed

What Kind of Wax Should You Use?

Surf Wax and Basecoat
Surf Wax and Basecoat

The brand of wax you use doesn’t matter as much as the type of wax you use.

Personally, I use Sticky Bumps for both the base coat and top coat. Other brands include Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax, Mrs. Palmer’s, Famous, Bubble Gum, Matunas, and many more.

Each brand generally has only one basecoat.

But there are multiple topcoats for each brand, and it is based on temperature. If you are surfing in a hot tropical climate, you want to use a harder wax, because a soft wax will melt too easily. If you surf in cold temperatures, you want a softer wax, because a hard wax will be too slippery in cold temps.

Just check the label on the bar of wax, and it will tell you the suggested range of water temperatures.

Wax your board like this, and you’ll never slip off!

Wax Tips

  • Don’t leave your bar of wax in the sun, it will melt. This is especially bad if it melts in your car.
  • Be careful when setting your surfboard down. You don’t want to leave the wax facing up for very long, or it will melt in the sun. But you also don’t want sand to get in the wax, so lay a towel down first if you are going to lay your board wax-down.
  • Don’t use colored wax! Well you can, but just know that it’s going to stain your boardshorts or wetsuit.
  • If you surf a lot, buy a few bars of wax. It sucks when you are about to go surf in the morning, but you discover that your wax is all used up. And surf shops usually don’t open til 10. So stock up!

Do you have a different method of waxing, or a favorite brand of wax? Share it in the comments below!

Hey I'm Stevie, and I started this company (Ho Stevie!) in 2014 so I could bring more value to surfers like you. I want to build the best surf gear, at the best price for you, and provide the best service. (Over 100,000 happy customers agree!) I surf with our products every day here in San Diego, and when I'm not surfing, I'm working with my team to create the most entertaining and educational content about surfing (hence this blog). Drop a comment or email me if there's anything I can help you with!


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