The ultimate beginner’s guide to surf wax

Just finished up your first surf lesson, but wondering what those white, sticky bumps on your board were? Are you a beginner surfer who just purchased your first board, but confused about which wax to buy before for your next session? Well if so, this article is perfect for you. Below is the ultimate beginner’s guide to surf wax!


Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is surf wax?

Surf wax is what provides the grip to your board.

Without it, you would slip and wipe out no matter how good your balance is.

Think about it like this: gymnasts use chalk on their hands before performing on bars to ensure that they don’t slip or lose their grip.

It’s the same idea when it comes to surfing, just that we use wax instead of chalk!

Surf wax is a mixture of both natural and manufactured waxes, and is usually made of beeswax and paraffin.

There are many different varieties based on what temperature you’re surfing in, and it’s also important to note that there are both top and base coats.

A base coat, the first coat, is essentially the primer of the board, and will make the topcoat, the final coat, stick and last much longer.

The ultimate beginner’s guide to surf wax: PICKING OUT THE RIGHT WAX

You may now be wondering, does it matter what wax I use on my board?

The answer is yes, 100%.

The reason why it’s so important to be particular in the wax you reach for, is because each wax is made for a specific temperature.

If you’re surfing in a place like Hawaii, the water will be a lot warmer versus if you’re surfing on the beaches of San Diego in the winter time.

Most brands will usually make four categories of topcoat wax: cold, cool, warm, and tropical.

Cold-water wax can be used in temperatures of 60℉ or lower, cool-water wax can be used in temperatures between 58℉ and 68℉, warm-water wax can be used in temperatures between 58℉ and 75℉, and finally, tropical wax can be used in temperatures of 75℉ and above.

It’s crucial to know the temperature of where your upcoming surf session will be to ensure that you wax your board with the right formula.

You don’t want your wax melting off because you accidentally bought cold-water wax in 80℉ weather!

You should also definitely make an effort to get your hands on a good base coat that you can apply prior to your temperature-fitting topcoat.

Down below is a list of 5 of the best wax brands that you can be sure to always rely on:

  • Mrs. Palmers
  • Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax
  • Sticky Bumps
  • Famous Surf
  • Bubble Gum Surf Wax


The  ultimate beginner’s guide to surf wax: REMOVING OLD WAX

Now that you’ve picked out the right wax, it’s time to actually put it on your surfboard. The ultimate beginner’s guide to surf wax shows you how! However, if you’re using a hammy down board or one that you were gifted from a friend, you may notice the presence of some old wax.

Don’t stress! There is an option for removing that old wax, which utilizes things that you may already have at home.

This is a method that you could probably partake in right now if you wanted to.

The only things you need are a source of heat (this could be the sun or a blow dryer) and something to scrape off the wax with.

Start by leaving your board in the sun for 15 minutes or until the wax becomes soft enough to remove.

If you’re removing your board’s wax in an area with little to no sunlight or you’re doing this at night, you can 100% use a blow dryer!

Once the wax is ready to be removed you can use a wax comb to begin scraping it off. If you don’t have a wax comb, you can totally reach for something else that you have at home. A popular option is an old credit card. The ultimate beginner’s guide to surf wax teaches you these distinct tips to ease the process!

Not sure about what to do with the excess wax still left on your board even after this scraping method? Try rubbing melted coconut oil on it! Another great option is to use the Pickle Wax Remover.

The  ultimate beginner’s guide to surf wax: WAXING YOUR BOARD

Once your board is ready to be waxed, it’s important to know the proper technique for doing so.

There are many different options and ways you can go about waxing your board.

Try to pick one that interests you, and see if you like it!

A really popular one is the cross-hatching method, and down below are some steps on how to partake in that.

  1. Begin by using the corner of your basecoat block to draw diagonal lines across your board. Make sure these lines aren’t too far apart from one another!
  2. Continue drawing these lines in all the areas you want to wax.
  3. Repeat, but in the opposite direction to create a cross hatch.
  4. Once the lines are set, apply the basecoat in a circular motion until you see little, raised bumps forming.
  5. Finish up with a layer of topcoat! You can use a circular motion for this as well, or even an up and down, side to side motion.

It’s also important to keep in mind that you should aim to not overdo it in the amount of wax you apply, but you also don’t want to put too little.

Adding too much will lead to a decrease in traction and adding too little will leave you with little to no grip, both increasing the chance of a wipeout!

Lastly, make sure you’re only waxing where is necessary on your board.

As a beginner, you’re probably not gonna be riding the nose, so you don’t need to wax your entire board. Instead, focus on the areas where your feet will be.

Now that your board is waxed and set, get ready to head out to your next surf session! You’re going to have a blast. The ultimate beginner’s guide to surf wax is here to help you!

Since you now know a little bit more about surf wax and its significance, we hope you’re feeling more confident in your knowledge of surfing!

Always remember that this article is here to help you out whenever you need it.


Check out this post to learn about the possible rashes that wax can cause and how to prevent them!

Leave a Reply