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If you are new to surfing, and you have just purchased a surfboard, you have probably heard about surfboard wax. You may wonder what this is, or why you need it, as most people that surf talk about using their favorite wax.
There are many different types of wax that can be used, and all of them serve one singular purpose. It is designed to you traction so that when you are standing on the surfboard, you are able to maintain your position.
This is how surfers are able to make turns very rapidly without falling off of their boards. A question that many people have is whether you put wax on the top or bottom of the board.
What Is The Main Purpose Of Surfboard Wax
There are actually two reasons that you want to use surfboard wax. First and foremost, as mentioned above, it allows you to have traction while standing on the board. Second, it preserves the surfboard to some degree, preventing your constant maneuvering on top of the board from wearing down the material that it is made of.
Of course, if it is made of polyurethane, which most surfboards are made of today, it’s probably not going to make a large difference. However, for those that are paying thousands of dollars for authentic surfboards made of cedar, redwood, or balsa wood, it can certainly help extend the life of the surfboard that is used regularly.
Do You Put It On The Top Or Bottom Of The Surfboard?
Most people will agree that you only need to put surfboard wax on top of the board. That is because this is where you will be standing. On the bottom of the board, it needs to be as smooth as possible, as this is where the surfboard and the water will meet.
If you were to put wax on the bottom, it would likely dissolve very quickly in the saltwater, especially if the waters are warm. The wax on top of the surfboard is going to dissipate over time, especially with heavy usage and also if you are surfing in warm waters.
That is why there are different types of wax that are used from cold water wax to tropical wax. There are actually two different layers of wax that are applied if you are doing this properly.
How To Apply The Wax On A Surfboard
When you apply wax on a surfboard, you are going to first put what is called a basecoat. This is extremely dense wax that will tolerate even the warmest waters. However, it will do much better once you have your topcoat of wax which will be for either cold, cool, warm, or tropical water.
The more dense the wax is, the longer it will last, even in the warmest waters such as found in Australia and Hawaii. You will apply the wax liberally with a cloth, let it dry, and then apply the second coat.
If done properly, the wax will be very bumpy, giving you plenty of traction once you finally get on your surfboard.
What If You Were To Apply It To The Bottom Of The Surfboard?
If you get apply this to the bottom of the surfboard, because of how bumpy and un-even the wax will be, this would only cause additional friction under your board. This friction would make it difficult to make maneuvers, something that experienced surfers will notice almost instantly.
If you accidentally apply it to the wrong side, you will have to use some type of scraping tool, or even a credit card, along with mineral spirits and a cloth. Depending upon the size of the board, you can probably remove all of it within the hour, and then work on placing it on the top.
What Are The Best Types Of Wax To Use On The Top Of Your Surfboard?
When you go to a shop that sells surfboards, they will have a wide variety of wax to choose from. You will have to purchase the basecoat wax which will be extremely dense and sometimes hard to apply.
However, the top layer wax will be much easier because it is softer, and you will want to use brand names such as Mrs. Palmers, Sex Wax, and even Bubblegum. Some people prefer using what is called Sticky Bumps because of the multitude of bumps that will be left once you have done the application.
This will give you maximum traction, plus it will form a strong bond between the basecoat wax, allowing it to give you maximum traction on your surfboard.
Now that you know that you should apply your surfboard wax to the top, and not the bottom, you simply have to get the best surfboard wax available. If you are ready to start surfing, and you haven’t purchased your surfboard yet, you can get it and the surfboard wax at the same location.
They will likely recommend with they believe to be the best surfboard wax, and may give you a few tips on how to apply it. When they do, they will tell you that you need to put the wax on top of the board and not the bottom.