My boards were dirty. Very dirty. Now you would think all that water time would keep them clean but unfortunately that’s not that case. That wax layer can get pretty dirty. Or it gets stuck in places where it’s not meant to be from various roadies if you don’t stack your boards carefully with towels in between.
So most boards need a bit of a clean and a new layer of wax now and then. I’ve been procrastinating to give my boards a bit of a spring clean for ages now. Stripping my boards of wax and giving them a new layer comes somewhere between vacuum cleaning and ironing in my list of least favourite chores. Now I can avoid ironing by avoiding buying any clothes that need ironing and a cleaner quickly fixes the vacuum cleaning issue. I have not quite found a board that does not need wax or cleaners who include board cleaning as part of their repertoire.
It did come to a point though when I could no longer avoid the unavoidable. Most of my boards were more black than white because the black rubber of the wetsuit rubs off onto the wax layer and I think my boards weighed almost twice as much as they would with 50 layers of wax. Also, I’m not quite sure if it’s really smart to mix hot, cold and warm wax… In short, time to strip off.
To make the board spring clean as painless as possible a few tips:
- Pick a sunny day for your spring clean. Leave the board out in the sun for a few minutes and it will make the wax soft and easier to remove.
- Oh bummer no wax-comb – one of my favourite excuses to procrastinate. Not a particular good one though. Just unscrew one of your fins. The edge of a fin will do the job…(unless you lost your fin key too than you are really screwed..)
- Remove all the wax as well as you can. Make sure you roll all the wax into a ball so you can dispose of it easily rather than just leaving it in the grass or wherever you are on your cleaning mission.
- Use turpentine and an old shirt to get rid off any stubborn residual. You can also use a bit of turpentine to polish your board and give it back the glow it’s seen in better times. Use the turpentine sparingly and try not to inhale. Don’t think it’s necessarily healthy.
- Check for dings while you are at it. Well, usually it’s not about checking for dings but discovering them under multiple layers of wax. Kelly – one of my boards went straight to the ding-repairer.
- Once you’ve gotten rid of the wax, re-apply a nice new layer of wax. Preferably, wax that’s right for the conditions (by the way, a bit of a no-brainer but you may want to check BEFORE you start the cleaning session if you have enough wax, nothing more annoying than discovering the waxless situation after you’ve stripped your board bare of any sticky cover). For this time of the year in Sydney, you can probably get away with cold or warm water wax. Just don’t use tropical or hot water wax unless you are about to head to Indo.
- I’m sure you’ve got your own smart technique for applying wax. I find the “criss cross first with the edge of the wax block and then give it once over rub with the flat side” technique the most effective and least painful one. If you know where you place your feet you can focus your waxing energy onto those patches for maximum impact with the least effort.
Voila, that’s all there is to a smooth and shiny board. It’s hard work but once you get into the swing of it you are fine. Actually, it’s not that hard. It should only take you ten minutes unless you do four boards at once and have to scrap of wax from last year. Two people in the surf asked me already if I had a new board….oopsies…looks like the board spring clean was well overdue….