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Surf Wax Buyers Guide

If your surfboard slips off your feet during surfing, then it is high time to wax it! You might have seen people waxing the surfboards, and the reason is to get a decent grip on it while surfing. If you are new to surfing, then buying the best wax can be daunting.

You cannot buy just any wax to coat it on the board. To get excellent traction and longevity, you should always choose the top surf wax that's fit for the water and rewards you with better traction, so the board doesn't slip while you are cutting the waves.

Here in this buyer's guide, you will find multiple factors you need to check before buying surf wax. This easy-to-read guide contains complete information about these waxes, so making a choice will be easy.

What is surf wax?

So you haven't heard about surf wax before? It may be possible if you are new to surfing as all the experts wax their boards occasionally, and that's why their surfboards perform better. Surf wax is a specific kind of wax designed especially for surfboards as it can withstand water.

The wax provides the surfer with a grip on the board so that it doesn’t slip off from under the feet while surfing. The wax is soft, and you will feel it while surfing. The common materials used to manufacture surf wax are beeswax, paraffin, and hard wax.

There are some additional ingredients as well that add better longevity, fragrance, and smoothness to the coated wax.

Benefits of using surf wax

You will experience a multitude of benefits after coating your board with surf wax. From better stability to ease of controlling the board, a good wax will make surfing much more fun.

Better traction

Standing on a smooth board can be a challenge, especially for novice surfers, and that's why surf wax is essential. Coating the wax on your board will give you better traction required to surf with ease, now you won't slip while surfing, and it will surely improve your skills.


Surf wax is waterproof, and it wouldn't come off while surfing. You can even say that the wax will safeguard the board from water, so cleaning it will be easy, and you can use a cloth to clean the board.

Easy to use

Using surf wax is easy, and you can coat it on the surfboard using a wax comb. In this guide, we have covered some tips to follow when coating a board with surf wax.

Factors to look for when buying surf wax

By checking the factors listed below, you can purchase the best wax that's perfect for your surfboard and water conditions, such as temperature. We have classified every section so you can quickly find out how to buy surf wax that’s ideal for your board.

Types of surf wax

While shopping for surf wax, you will find three types: sticky wax, soft wax, and traditional wax. All these waxes have respective pros and cons, so you should be careful while selecting the right type.

Soft wax

Soft surf wax is the newest type amongst all. The wax is super soft and malleable, so it won't break while combing on the board. You can use this wax with a traction pad.

Traditional wax

Traditional wax is what most surfers love to use as it is less sticky and hard that provides better traction and lets you feel the board. The wax creates small lumps on the surfboard that rewards you with better traction.

Sticky wax

Sticky wax is what, as the name signifies, the wax is extremely sticky and hard. Also, you will get an excellent grip with sticky wax as it lets you feel the surfboard. However, the only downside of these waxes is that you cannot use a traction pad, so professionals prefer it more than the beginners.


The behavior of surf wax is just like regular wax. In simple words, it will melt with raising the temperature, so you should select wax based on the temperature of the water. You cannot use cold wax in warm water as it can melt.

Similarly, warm wax is not suitable for cold water, as it can get extremely hard and brittle. Here are the four surf wax types based on the temperature ratings.

Cool wax

Cool surf wax is a type of soft wax that’s ideal for water temperature ranging from 12-20 degrees Celsius or 55 to 69 degrees F. You should use this wax in later fall and early spring months.

Cold wax

Cold surf wax is among the softest waxes you will buy. The wax is suitable to use in waters with a temperature below 57 degrees F. As the wax is soft so you won't be having any hard time applying it to the board.

If you want to surf in colder months like January and February, then coat your surfboard with cold wax.

Warm wax

Warm wax is a type of hard wax that's suitable for warm water ranging from 63 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. You should use this wax in warmer or the early fall months.

Tropical wax

Tropical wax is the hardest and is perfect to use in warm water. This wax is better than warm wax when the water temperature exceeds 75 degrees Fahrenheit. You should use this wax during July or mid-September when the water temperature is at a peak.

Size of surfboard

Always consider the size of the surfboard before buying wax. Less quantity of wax may be enough for a short board, but you need more wax to coat a long board. Measure your surfboard and then look for surf wax to make sure that you can thoroughly coat the area where you will be standing on the board.

Difference based on the layers: Topcoat Vs. basecoat

You will find two types of wax i.e., top coat surf wax and base coat surf wax. Both types serve different purposes and have different characteristics.


The base coat wax is the primary layer you will apply on the board. These waxes are hard and are ideal for warm water.

Why use basecoat wax?

The reason why surfers use basecoat wax is to make the board ready to accommodate the top coat. The base coat wax is hard, and it can withstand more temperature, thus making the board ready to slice the waves.

You will find that base coat surf wax is hard to apply because it is hard, so gliding the wax comb will be difficult. We highly recommend using a base coat before applying the top coat on your board.

Top coat

The top coat of the surf wax is applied on the base coat. This coat is thin and doesn't last much longer, so you have to reapply it again on the base coat. There are various reasons you should be using the top coat, which includes better traction and grip.


There are multiple ingredients used to manufacture surf waxes that have different features and characteristics. These ingredients are responsible for the color, fragrance, and longevity of the wax, so you should check the ingredients before buying the wax.

Also, the traction depends on the material, so it is important to have a look at the list of what's present in the wax. You will find some attractive scents such as bubblegum, strawberry that will make the board smell strong.

On the other hand, you will also find some surf waxes without any fragrance or mild fragrance. Look for ingredients that are hypoallergenic and skin-friendly. Furthermore, go for surf wax made using natural ingredients as these are better for the environment as compared to synthetic waxes.


The primary purpose of surf wax is to provide better support and traction on the board. Using a poor quality surf wax can make the surface slippery, and it can lead to accidents while you are cutting the waves.

Always go for high-quality waxes made by trusted brands if you want it to last longer. Using a quality wax will reward you with a better grip, and you don't have to reapply the coat all over again as premium quality waxes are durable.

Don't forget a wax comb.

While buying surf wax, make sure to buy a wax comb as well. You will find some manufacturers selling wax and comb combines in a package. A wax comb will help you remove the residual wax while maintaining the board, so don't forget to buy it along with the wax.

Top tips to follow when waxing a surfboard

These essential tips will be beneficial when coating your board with surf wax. Whether you are a beginner or an expert surfer, these handy DIY tips are something you should definitely ready.

  • Start with cross hatching

Cross Hatching the board will help you get better traction when you apply the wax. This is a popular technique used by surfers across the globe to make the surfboard better. What you have to do is make diagonal lines following a pattern to the down of the surfboard. The gap between the lines should not exceed 1 inch as it is ideal for traction.

After making the diagonal lines start making another pattern to crosshatch the existing diagonal lines. You will see small bumps on the surfboard after applying wax, and these are ideal for excellent traction and grip when you surf.

  • Don’t wax a soft-top or a foamie

If you have a foam surfboard, then there is no need to apply wax on it. These boards aren't very slippery, so you will get good traction on them while riding on the waves. In case you need extra balance, or you don't feel great on the foam board, then you can apply wax on it.

Waxing a foam board has no harm at all but you have to be extra careful due to the soft surface of the board.

  • The base coat should be hard.

Some folks get confused when it comes to choosing base coat wax. Always go for hard wax to get a strong foundation on the board. Using soft wax for the base coat should never be your choice because it can melt and is less durable.

The harder the surf wax, the better the balance it will provide you while surfing. The top coat should be soft so that you get that good feeling from the board.

  • If the wax forms bumps, you are doing it right.

If you see numerous bumps on the surfboard, then you have applied the wax correctly. Bumps are essential for traction, so the formation of bumps is a good sign that the board is ready for surfing. In case you don't see any bumps, then there might be some problem, or the board is not finished waxing.

Always follow the cross hatching technique as it will help you get bumps on the board. It can be hard for beginners to get bumps while waxing. So don’t worry and keep practicing by following the tips listed in this guide.

  • Don't hesitate to try different waxes.

If you are buying a surf wax for the first time, then there are higher chances that you will be unhappy about it. Buying a wax needs expertise, and coating it on the board needs old hands. Try out different waxes so that you can find out the best one for your board.

  • Use wax according to the water temperature.

Avid surfers should buy multiple waxes for different water temperatures. If you are one of those keen surfers who can't want to hit the waves, then purchase cool, warm, and tropical surf waxes based on the water temperature.

These waxes will let you surf in different seasons, and you can get the board ready by removing the existing coat and applying a fresh coat of wax depending on the climatic conditions and water temperature.

  • Rub the board lightly before every surf

You don’t have to reapply the wax coat every time before surfing as it is a complete waste of money, time, and wax. Just give a little rub to the area where you have applied the wax to ensure that the wax isn’t coming off.

A gentle rub is enough to muster the board before putting it into water.

  • Applying surf wax in circles provides better traction.

After applying the surf wax in a cross hatching pattern, make sure to apply it in small circles as well. It will help you create bumps on the board for better traction. Make small circles, so you get more bumps on the surface.

FAQs: Best Surf Wax

Q: How to apply wax to a surfboard?

A: It is crucial to apply the surf wax correctly, so you get excellent traction from the board. Here we have explained the entire process of applying wax to the surfboard.

Step 1: Apply the base coat.

The base coat is the top coat's foundation, so it should be neat and applied correctly. If you have a long board, apply the wax to the entire board from top to bottom while covering the edges, for short surfboards cover only two-third of the total length by applying the wax from the tail to the topside.

Use techniques like cross hatching or make circles on the board to get bumps for better traction. Keep rubbing the wax until you see bumps, then prepare the board for the top coat.

Step 2: Apply the top coat.

Get a top wax of different color from the base coat as it can be harder to tell if you have applied a coat on a particular area over the base coat due to the same color. When applying the top coat, cover the areas where you have applied the base.

Use a wax comb to create a diagonal pattern so that the grip gets even better. You can even use the comb to create grip if the wax has gotten soft with time. Use the comb gently so that you don't end up damaging the board.

Step 3: Wipe it and surf.

Spray cold water on the waxed area to make the wax grip in the place. Now the surfboard is ready to face the waves, and you will see the difference in the performance of the board after applying wax on it.

Q: How do I remove wax from my surfboard?

A: After waxing the board, you will see dirt and dust accumulating over it. Also, the wax will start coming off after some time, so you have to reapply the coat. Before reapplying the wax, clean the existing wax using the following process.

Place the surfboard under the sun to heat the wax so that it peels off easily. You can even use a hairdryer to heat the wax so that it removes easily, and you don't have to scrape off the harder and sticky portions. After heating the wax, use a wax remover to get rid of the patches.

After removing the wax, clean the board with water and then reapply the new coat.

Q: Are costly surf waxes the best?

A: It would be wrong to judge surf wax based on its price. You can also purchase some affordable waxes that are suitable for your needs. Follow this buyer’s guide to get the best surf wax because buying the costliest one isn’t a wise idea.

Q: How do I know if the surfboard wax needs to be replaced?

A: If you feel a lack of traction with the surfboard, then it is the time to replace the wax. Before applying new wax, get rid of the old wax by following the wax removal process. You can even replace the wax if you see dust and dirt accumulated on the board.

Q: Is it important to apply the base coat?

A: Applying the base cost is a crucial step of waxing the board. You can even say that the base coat is the foundation of the topcoat, so you can't miss it at any cost.

Q: Does waxing damage the board?

A: No, waxing the board will never damage unless you are using it the right way. Don't over wax the board or don't scrape it off with a pointed object. Always show extra care to your surfboard, and it will last longer.

Q: Why is surf wax so sticky?

A: The ingredients present in the wax makes it sticky. These ingredients can be beeswax, hard wax, paraffin, and other long chain fatty acids. A good surfboard wax should be sticky so that it holds its place on the board.

Q: Is surf wax harmful to the environment?

A: It depends on the surf wax you are using. Some synthetic waxes are made using harmful chemicals that are not suitable for the environment. So you should go for waxes with natural composition.

Q: Should I wax my foam board?

A: No, there is no need to wax a foam board as the board's surface isn't very slippery. But the choice is up to you, as applying wax to the board will not damage it. If you need more traction and grip, then you should apply wax to the foamie.

Q: Can I use anything else instead of surf wax?

A: No, you cannot use anything else in place of surf wax, as it is specially designed and formulated for the surfboards. Go through this guide and buy the best surf wax to coat your board for more traction.


With this surf wax buyer's guide, you can differentiate between various options available in the market to buy the best wax. Also, the article contains more information on how to apply the wax and how to remove it.

No matter if you are a beginner or an expert, this guide is something you need to buy high quality wax while applying it the correct way.

Check the tips section as well to find out some tips you should know before applying wax to the board. / - © Copyright 2020