How to wax a soft top surfboard

Should I wax my soft top surfboard? The answer is YES! Foam boards with super grippy decks are rare – most of them still need an extra layer of wax. There are a lot of tutorials on how to wax your board, however, not many on to do this specifically for soft top boards. So: How to wax a soft top surfboard?
The short answer is: 1. Start with a clean surface 2. Apply basecoat wax 3. Rub on the soft (bodyboard) surf wax, preferably in a grid pattern.

Surf wax…I’m a fan

Surf wax.. it seems such a relic from the old times. A past where iPhones, waterproof cameras and tubeless bike tires didn’t exist. So much innovation but here we are – still putting chewing-gum like substance on our sticks every time we head out for a surf.

But there is a certain pleasure in the act of waxing a surfboard. Like grooming your trophy horse before the jump contest. Like manually washing your new car on a sunday afternoon.
For me, it’s almost a neurotic disorder kind of thing. Before I close the front door behind me, I run back in to grab a little extra wax because you never know.

I think surf wax is here to stay. Maybe it’s the soothing act of prepping your board, maybe it’s the marketing. I mean, surf wax brands have done a hell of a job packaging the small blocks in such a way that it’s just so easy to grab a few extra when you’re at the counter of your local shop. They look like candy and smell like coconut. I do believe that we will see the rise in popularity of eco-friendly surf wax. The fact that you have to put on new wax every time you go for a surf means that, god, how much little pieces end up in the ocean each day…

Should I wax my foam surfboard?

So, to the main question: Do I have to wax my soft top surfboard? The answer is YES. Surf brands have experimented with applying grippier top layers to foam boards but we’re not quite there yet. Most soft top boards appear rubbery but when wet they get slippery. A layer of wax will add extra grip to your soft top board.

When I took out my Olaian 6’0 for the first time I was surprised by how slippery the foamie was. It felt as if the black deck had some weird, slimy substance on it. After three surf sessions this slippery feel was gone and I’m still not sure what it was. Base line is that I wax my soft top more thoroughly than my PU surfboard. In order for you to avoid slipping and looking like a kook I have put together a little guide on how to wax your foamie.

Here are some steps to give your soft top board the best wax job possible:

1. Start with a clean surface

You can use any degreasing solvent you can find – preferably the eco one, as it’s not toxic for your hands or the foam.

2. Apply basecoat wax

This may sound dispensable (I hear you think: Ha! Two types of wax, what a marketing trick) but this will really shorten your future wax hassles. A base coat wax is a more solid wax that will help the regular wax to stick better. Really, the combination of a thin layer of base coat wax and a soft wax finish is golden. The base coat should cover the whole surface of the board where hands and feet might touch it.

3. Apply surf wax

should I wax my soft top surfboard
grid pattern wax on my foamie

Surf wax comes in varying degrees of softness. Generally, a softer chunk of wax applies for colder water where a stiff wax works in warm water. On the wax packaging you’ll find indicators for water degrees. When you apply the wax to your soft top board, do some cross hatching to create a pattern. I personally prefer a grid pattern from the track pad all the way to where I place my hands at the takeoff. Most short soft top boards come with a track pad (tailpad or traction pad) which I’m a big fan of. If your foamie doesn’t have a traction pad you can quite easily stick one on yourself.

Over time, the wax might wear off or get greyish. At this point you might consider scraping everything off and give your board a brand new wax job. Ah – it just feels so good to start with a clean slate. I’d recommend that you don’t do this every month as it’s a waste of wax.

How to remove old wax from your soft top surfboard?

1: Melt the old wax.

You can do this with a little help from the sun or you can use a hairdryer. Don’t overdo this as too much heat and sunlight isn’t going to make your board happy. Most wax will get liquid around 30 degrees. More than that can harm your beloved foamie.

2: Use a wax comb to scrape off the top coat of the wax.

This will result in a hand full of old wax. You can recycle used surf wax in various ways. I saw a really cool surf wax candle in a design store in Porto once. This company had developed a DIY surf wax candle kit. I couldn’t locate them online. If anyone knows this DIY surf wax candle company, hit me up!

3: Use an old cloth to wipe the thin pieces of wax that are harder to remove.

A DIY panty filled with sand works pretty well! If you want to strip your foamie from wax in no time, the Sex Wax Surf Pickle is an effective tool.
If you really want to get your foamie shiny clean, you could use degreaser to remove wax. I only do this when I’m selling or giving away a board to a new owner. There’s plenty of degreasers to be found at your local store. Make sure that you have an effective one that isn’t toxic.

Here’s a video of us surfing a waxed up soft top!

If you want to film your surf adventures (without losing your action cam), you might want to check out our article:

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