How to care for your surfboard and wetsuit? So imagine you’re on your way to learning how to surf. You’re paddling out, standing up, riding down the face, even starting to hone your bottom turn.
Whether you’ve just taken your first surf lesson, or looking to purchase your first board, you’re going to need to know how to properly care for your equipment. It is important to learn how to care for your surfboard and wetsuit.
How to care for your surfboard
Let’s use your car as an example: As a good car owner, you’d make sure to fill up the gas, clean the windshield, put air in the tires, conduct routine oil changes, clean and vacuum the interior, and take it in for repairs as soon as the check engine light pops up.
Owning a surfboard is no different. Here are the basics:
1) Rinse your board in freshwater upon exiting the ocean.
Shower access is always ideal. Rinse the saltwater off your board as soon as possible, and before loading up your board. This will keep the exterior layer–resin, paint, and glassing–from deteriorating, and avoid excess sand from getting stuck in the wax, which can cause irritation.
Even if you’re using a soft top or foam board, you’ll want to rinse it thoroughly to avoid the plastic coating from peeling.
If beach showers are not available, consider keeping a refillable jug of freshwater in your car.
2) Learn to wax your board… the correct way
Once you’ve identified the proper variety of surf wax (e.g. tropical or cold water wax), find someone knowledgeable to show you how to wax your board. A quick online search will also lend you some good tutorials.
Here are some basic DOs and DO NOTs when waxing your board:
- DO wax all surfaces of the board your feet will touch.
- DO NOT get sand in your wax.
- DO apply multiple coats.
- DO consider a base coat.
- DO NOT leave your bar of wax or your waxed board in the sun.
- DO NOT put your board wax-side-down on the roof of any part of your car… as you can probably guess, the heat will quickly cause the wax to melt on contact and stick to the paint. A towel barrier between your board and the car can act as an easy fix.
3) Invest in a board bag or board sock.
Board bags are the best way to ensure your new board stays pristine for as long as possible and free of dings and scratches.
While many new surfers recognize the threat of on-site collisions in the water (and the possible damage to your board that may ensue), some tend to overlook the minor wear and tear that can occur on a daily basis: accidentally banging your board on the way out the door, or even debris from the g round scratching the exterior.
A cloth board sock is a good measure to protect your longboard or shortboard and keep it safe and secure during storage and transport whenever you’re not actively surfing.
Another option, and the next step up, would be to get a day bag for extra protection and insulation.
A day bag is similar to a travel bag, but for more frequent use. It is typically lighter and less padded, but offers more protection that a board sock alone.
Just make sure you order the proper dimensions to fit your board. Make sure that when storing your board, your board bag or sock is completely free of any sand.
4) Do your own repairs.
Eventually, if you’re using a fiberglass or epoxy board you may want to invest in a ding repair kit for DIY repairs.
Popular kits can include resin, hardener, sand paper, and fiberglass patches.
This will not only prevent your board from long term damage and from getting waterlogged, but it can save you money in the long run.
5) Learn the rules before you break them.
Your favorite surfers learned the rules before they broke them, and so must you.
Arguably, there is no one right way to care for your board and you are bound to hear conflicting advice as you embark on your surf journey, along with many quick fixes and hacks regarding your surf equipment.
Anyone from the beginner to the most advanced surfer (and everyone in between) will incur some sort of damage to their board at some point. You will learn through trial and error, but the basics of board care will never go out of style. Learning how to care for your surfboard and wetsuit will always be important.
How to care for your wetsuit
Along with proper treatment of your surfboard, you also want to take care of your wetsuit so that it continues to serve its purpose in the water.
Depending on where you plan to surf regularly, the water temperature will determine the type of suit you need to wear.
Wintertime in San Francisco or on the East Coast will warrant a full length 3-5mm neoprene suit, possibly even booties.
During the warmer summer months in Los Angeles, for example, you may be able to get away with a long sleeve wetsuit on top or a spring suit.
The bottom line: if you take good care of your wetsuit, it will take good care of you.
Here are the basics:
1) Remove your wetsuit soon after exiting the water and change into dry clothes.
If you are wearing a full suit, avoid removing your wetsuit in the sand… it will be a headache to clean later.
2) Rinse your wetsuit inside and out and let it hang dry.
Dry your suit preferably away from direct sunlight, indoors, or in a shady spot outside. This will maintain the longevity of your suit.
3) Wash your wetsuit in warm water.
After a few wears or when you deem necessary, wash your wetsuit in warm water with a little bit of shampoo of your choice. If you have any doubt, check the details on the manufacturer’s website.
Now that you’re armed and ready with your fresh set of skills in and outside of the water, the next step is simple– GO SURF!
Here is another article in case you need help deciding which board to get!