Today’s Surf Wax is a high tech version of the old candles and paraffin that was originally used on surfboards for traction starting in the 1940’s. Today’s wax is formulated to work in specific temperatures. Wax that has been made for colder water is much softer and stickier than wax made for warm water.When you travel from the colder climes to warmer (or vice-versa), you’ll find that the wax that you have on your board will very likely not perform very well on your board.
Being from New Jersey, we likely will use just about every wax type during our surf year. From January to about Mid-April, Cold water wax is definitely the rule. Beginning in April and usually lasting to about July we use Cool wax. Finally in July, the water warms enough to use warm water wax and we continue with warm usually through September. October returns us to Cool wax and by late November we’re back to Cold. Whew!When you get a new board the best waxing technique is: Put a heavy coat of base wax (tropical works just as well), up to ½ a bar, criss-crossing the wax to create beads. Then apply the appropriate temperature wax over the base. You’ll find that you’ll get better and more durable beading (bumps and beads help create traction). The wax will be more tacky and durable because of the base coat.
Epoxy Surfboards – If you own an epoxy board you’ll find that cool wax doesn’t readily stick to your board. You must first put the base wax (or tropical) down before you apply the cool. This dramatically improves the life of your wax job, and also gives you the tackiness you’re hoping for.Be sure to always keep a wax comb or scraper with you. This way you can rough up your wax if it feels too loaded up on your deck. If you encounter different temperatures you can also scrape off the wax and apply the right type.
In summary, the tip of the day is: Experiment! Wax is the best priced product in any surf shop. Buy a couple different formulas or companies. Try starting out with a good hard base on the board, and then adding softer waxes to the top.Wax is a very personal and artistic part of the surfing experience. Pay attention to the brands you like and your temperature formulas. It may mean the difference in competition, making that critical section, or getting the barrel of your life!