Surf Wax: 17 Things Most Beginner’s Don’t Know

As someone new to the surfing world, it is easy to become intimidated by the mass amount of information available.

One thing that many new surfers are confused about is surf wax.

Surf wax is important and a must as it creates friction between your feet and your otherwise slippery surfboard.

As the topic can be confusing to those new to the sport, the following questions and answers could explain the queries that you may have.

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1. Do You Need Base Coat Surf Wax?

You do not need a base coat of surf wax, but a base coat is recommended.

A base coat surf wax is generally a harder wax suited for warm and cold water.

Base coats are used to attach the top coat of wax to your surfboard. In a way, it can be thought of as the glue between your topcoat and your surfboard.

Because the base coat is harder than the topcoat, it forms small bumps along with your board. This is ideal preparation as when you apply the topcoat of wax, these bumps will become more pronounced.

A base coat will prolong the time your wax lasts before you need to replace it and provide a better grip for your feet.

It is not a must, but it has a purpose and is recommended to be used.

2. Where to Buy Surf Wax?

Depending on where you live, the availability of surf wax will vary. However, all surf shops will supply various types of wax ranging from base coats and cold water wax to warm tropical suited topcoats.

Surf wax is also often available at other sports stores that sell skate and surf merchandise such as leashes, shoes, shirts, and hats.

Alternatively, surf wax and other surfing accessories are abundantly available online

A simple google search will come up with thousands of different results of surf wax brands and styles.

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Do Gas Stations Sell Surf Wax?

Once again, where you stay or where you are at the time will depend if different shops sell wax or not.

For example, a gas station close to a popular surf break may stock things such as surf wax and surfboard leashes.

On the other hand, a gas station in the center of a large city, far away from the ocean, will likely not do the same.

Similarly, a sports shop near the beach may have surf wax, but one in a land-locked town may not.

How Much Does Surf Wax Cost?

When buying surf wax online, it will usually set you back between 4 and 10 USD.

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You should keep in mind that different brands will cost different amounts and that base coats are generally on the upper end of the cost range.

If you are buying wax from a retail store, the price will differ from country to country.

In some countries such as South Africa, surf wax can be as little as 2 – 3 USD, while in the US, it could cost over 10 USD.

3. Does Surf Wax Come Out of Clothes?

Surf wax is oil-based and usually made of a mixture between paraffin and petroleum jelly.

Because of its components, wax that has melted onto your clothing can be difficult to remove. However, it is not impossible.

The trick to removing wax from your clothing is to heat the wax so that it melts and then absorb it into something else.

This is a lot easier said than done, but it is not impossible.

In this case, prevention is, without a doubt, the best option.

4. Can You Reuse Surf Wax?

Once the wax has been applied to your surfboard, you will be able to use it multiple times until it becomes too dirty or smooth from overuse.

Once your wax does not serve its purpose properly, it is a good idea to remove it and replace it.

Although you can use surf wax that is applied to your surfboard repeatedly, once you remove it, it is better to throw it away and put on fresh wax.

Old removed wax is usually dirty and soft, which makes it difficult to apply and will not work, and a new bar.

5. How Long Does Surf Wax Last?

Surf wax does not expire when unused and in the box; however, once applied, there is a limit to how long it will be functional.

Your surf wax should last you approximately 3 months after it has been applied to your board.

When the wax on your board becomes dirty from the world around you, it will begin to become smooth and turn grey. This is a good time to consider changing it.

That being said, some situations will lower the longevity of your surfboard’s wax, such as leaving your board in temperatures too hot and causing it to melt, not using a base coat, and using low-quality wax.

6. Does Surf Wax Make Your Hair Blonde?

Surf wax does not make your hair blonde. Surfers tend to have lighter hair because of the sun and the salt in the ocean.

Putting surf wax in your hair will be a disaster and cause you non-stop agony as you struggle to remove it.

Avoid getting surf wax in your hair at all costs. You will, without a doubt, regret it if you do.

7. Does Surf Wax Melt?

Technically, everything can melt. Even hard materials such as stone melt and become larva when the temperatures reach high enough levels.

Surf wax can, does, and will melt when temperatures become too warm.

This is one reason it is a bad idea to leave your surfboard in a hot car. The last thing you want is to take your board out for a surf to find that all the wax has melted off.

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8. Does Surf Wax Temperature Matter?

Because of surf waxes’ low melting point, there are different waxes for different water temperatures.

If you use cold water wax in warm waters, you may find that the wax begins to melt off your board while you surf. 

It is important to use the correct wax to prevent this from happening.

The following is a loose guideline on what wax is best for different temperatures:

  • Basecoat wax: Basecoat wax is a hard wax that does not have a temperature specification.

The base wax is a special undercoat that is first applied to your board, making the normal wax stick better and making it easier to apply.

  • Cold water surf wax: Used for water temperature under 14°C (58°F).
  • Cool water surf wax: Ideal for temperatures between 12-20°C (54-69°F).
  • Warm water surf wax: Used in waters with temperatures between 17-25°C (63-78°F).
  • Tropical surf wax: Best for waters above 24°C (75°F).

9. What Does Surf Wax Smell Like

Surf wax generally smells sweet. Most surf waxes would have a neutral smell if it were not for the added smells.

Possibly the most commonly added smell to surf wax is coconut oil. Coconut is pleasant to the nose, and the oil makes applying the wax easier.

Other common smells that you may find in surf wax are sweet fruit smells such as grape, strawberry, and pineapple.

10. Why Does Surf Wax Turn Brown?

Over time you will start to find that the wax on your board has turned to a grey or brown color.

This color change is due to dust, sand, and other dirt becoming stuck in the wax

When dirt gets stuck in wax, the wax becomes smooth and does not work as it should.

To avoid this, you should keep your surfboard in a surfboard sock or a board cover.

This will not prevent the wax from eventually turning brown, but it will help it last longer.

11. Is Surf Wax Sticky?

Surf wax needs to be sticky for it to adhere and remain on your surfboard.

If surf wax were not sticky, it would simply fall off after it has been applied.

That being said, some waxes are stickier than others.

For example, warm water wax tends to stay on your board longer than softer waxes. This is why it is good to use a hard base coat of wax before adding a softer cold water wax.

12. Is Surf Wax Vegan?

Some surf waxes are vegan, and others are not

Many brands of surf wax make use of beeswax or other hard waxes to create constancy in the bars.

 As honey and beeswax are often not considered vegan, especially due to the way it is farmed, surf waxes made with beeswax cannot be considered vegan.

That being said, many brands of surf wax make use of coconut oil or other similar products to replace beeswax.

Furthermore, most waxes that are vegan may not be organic. This is because the base ingredient for surf wax is paraffin.

13. Is Surf Wax Edible?

Most surf wax is made from paraffin and, therefore, can be toxic if ingested.

Any surf wax that is not made from organic and eco-friendly materials should never be ingested.

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It is possible to buy eco-friendly wax made from coconut oil and beeswax, which should not have adverse effects on your health, but for safety’s sake, it is always better to avoid putting surf wax in your mouth.

14. How Much Surf Wax Should I Use?

There is no hard and fast rule for how much wax you should use on your surfboard, but a good rule of thumb is approximately half a bar.

This rule will, of course, change depending on the size of your surfboard. For example, waxing a 12ft longboard could use more than a bar of wax, while waxing a 5ft shortboard could use less than half.

The final coat of wax should look like small granules and not smooth.

15. How to Get Surf Wax off Car Seat?

Removing surf wax from a car seat or clothing is simple but takes some effort.

Firstly it is important to remove it as soon as possible. The longer the wax is on the fabric, the harder it will be to remove fully.

To remove surf wax from a car seat, the following method should do the job:

  1. Harden the wax by applying ice or a freezer block (this is best done with a bag so that the ice does not melt on the seat cover).
  2. Use a knife or a thin hard object to gently scrape the hardened wax from the seat.
  3. Use a paper bag or clean cloth to cover the area on the seat.
  4. With an iron or hair dryer, heat the area on top of the cloth.

    This method will cause the remaining wax to be absorbed by the paper bag or cloth.
  5. Remove the cloth or bag and repeat with a clean paper bag until all the wax has been removed.

16. What Is the Best Way to Store Surf Wax?

If you have bought the correct surf wax for your climate, then storing it in a cool room out of direct sunlight should be enough.

As long as your wax does not get too hot, then the location is not all that important.

That being said, it is a good idea to keep your surf wax in a container, a box, or a plastic bag to prevent it from rubbing onto a surface that you do not want it on.

17. Should You Refrigerate Surf Wax?

Refrigerating your surf wax is usually not necessary; however, if you live in a sweltering climate, it may be a good idea.

Softer waxes will melt a lot faster than hard waxes, and melted wax is near impossible to apply to a surfboard.

Some surfers also prefer to keep their wax in the fridge as they find it makes applying it easier.

You do not need to keep your surf wax in a refrigerator, but it may be the best option in some cases.

Final Thoughts

Being new to the surfing world can feel confusing, especially when dealing with surf wax.

With so many brands and different wax styles, it is often difficult to decide what your best options are.

In truth, surf wax is not a complicated topic, and with the above questions answered, you should be ready to hit the waves.

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