No, we are not talking about the painful sort of wax jobs, which involves the rather unpleasant activity of removing any unwanted body hair.
We are talking about the sorts of wax that you put on the surface of the surfboard to keep you from slipping. There heaps of different types of wax out there but pretty much they all work based on the same principle – The colder the water, the softer the wax. So in the surf shop you are likely to find:
Tropical wax – the hardest of all. It’s the one you would use in – yes, you’ve guessed it – tropical waters like in Indonesia for example. The water is usually around 27 degrees so you would not want the wax melt off your board. Tropical wax is also good for a base coat for the softer types of wax below.
Warm water wax – that’s the one you would use most year round in Australia (when I say Australia I mean East Coast in NSW). It’s for warmish water between 20 – 24 degrees.
Cool water wax – You would use that one for 15-20 degrees. That’s pretty soft wax and I only use it in July/August in Australia if at all.
Cold water wax – Well that’s for the parts of the world where the water temperatures are more suited for polar bears than surfers….15 degrees and below.
If you are picking your wax, make sure you get the wax for the right temperature. My other deciding factor is smell. Remember your face is pretty close to that wax layer when paddling so you would not want to pick a wax that does not smell nice. My personal favourite is the ‘Five Daughter’s Wax’. Even though I hate the branding which consists of a cheap shot of bikini clad girls, I reckon it’s the best smelling wax there is. Other popular wax brands you find in most surf shops are Sex Wax (another stupid name) and Mr. Palmers. But if you ask me, apart from slightly different smells they are mostly the same.
I have to say though I was quite excited when I stumbled over the new kid on the (wax) block. Surf Organic. Unlike traditional surf wax, which is made with petrochemical ingredients, Surf Organic’s main ingredient is soy wax that is biodegradable and environmentally friendly. I’ll surf test it for you and report back. But it’s good to know that there is an environmentally friendly alternative out there.
Some other wax-good-to-knows
- Make sure you never leave the board with the waxed side up in the sun (unless you want to strip your board of its old wax layer anyway). Once the wax is melted and started dripping, it’s usually gonskies and you need to redo the wax job. Especially, if you have your board inside the car, make sure you put it with the waxed layer facing the bottom or put at least a towel on top of it if it does not fit that way.
- Also if you are on a roadie and you put more than one board in the car put towels in between. Not only to protect them but to avoid getting wax on the bottom of the boards on top.
- To be honest I hardly ever buy wax. Just ask the guys at the surf shop to throw in some wax when you buy a board or a wetsuit.
- Here are some tips on getting rid off the old wax layer and replacing it with a new shiny one. Read ‘Dirty, dirty boards’ >>
Happy waxing, Gidgets.