How to Wax a Surfboard with Sticky Bumps

Tips On Waxing Your Surfboard Using Sticky Bumps Wax

When you first hear about waxing a surfboard such as “how to wax a surfboard with sticky bumps”, you might think that it’s for the bottom of the board to make it slide through the water faster. You’d be wrong though, the wax is for the deck of the surfboard, the part you stand on. It’s purpose there is to help you get better traction on the wet board so that you don’t slip off.

An unwaxed board can be quite slippery and almost impossible to stay on. There is a certain art to waxing a surfboard, it’s not too hard once you’ve done it a few times though. Whatever you do, don’t be a newbie and wax the underside of your new board, you’ll be the laughing stock of the beach for a decade, or maybe longer.

It’s Important To Start With A Good Brand Of Wax

There will be popular brands of wax at the local surf shop with names like Mrs. Palmers, Mr. Zags Sex Wax, and Bubblegum, but one of the most popular is always going to be a brand named Sticky Bumps. People like the ease of application and the fact that it works good to give you the right traction you need to stay on your board.

You’ll also need to choose a wax grade that is rated for the temperature of the water that you’ll be surfing in. This is important for several reasons, first of all being that a cold water wax will melt off your board and be gone if you use it in warm water.

And the second reason is that waxes are made to have a certain tackiness at the right temperature, a hard wax meant for warmer water will become too hard in cold water and be slick.

Most wax makers will have several different grades of wax made for the water temperatures that you’ll be surfing in. Ask at the local surf shack what grade is used the most there to get the best advice on the local waters.

You Should Start By Removing The Old Wax

Old wax tends to turn dark after awhile and get brittle and not as effective. The best way to remove old wax is wait for a hot sunny day and lay your surfboard out in the sun for a half hour.

Then you should be able to use a special scraper, sometimes called a comb, to scrape the old wax off your board. A comb will have two sides, one for scraping wax and the other for roughing up the surface of your wax so it’s not so smooth and slippery.

You’ll want to scrape the wax off until you’re down to the paint and then use some citrus wax cleaner to finish getting all of the wax off. You don’t have to clean your board every time before you wax it, but it’s a good idea to do it often.

And don’t leave your board in the sun after you wax it either or the heat will melt most of your wax job off.

Care must also be taken with your wax bar, don’t leave it in your hot car, especially not in the sun, or it will be a melted mess when you find it. And, keep in a zip-lock type bag so that sand doesn’t get into it, that will basically ruin it because you’ll never get the sand out again.

Sand in your wax, on the bar, or stuck to your board is a constant problem, you’ll learn all of the precautions soon enough. Don’t lean your freshly waxed surfboard against your sun baked car either as it will immediately melt the wax.

Applying Wax To Your Board

First off, you’ll want to find a place out of the hot sun to get started. Wax is very temperature sensitive and will melt in the hot sun. On most long boards you’ll want to wax the entire deck so that you’ll have traction everywhere you need to possibly step.

When using Sticky Bumps wax the result that you want is for it to have thousands of small bumps that add traction to the deck, and hence the name. The more bumps the better grip your feet will have on the deck surface.

Start by using a bar of base-coat wax if you can, it’s not totally necessary but you’ll agree that it helps to apply a thin, even layer for a first coat. You rub the wax on using long lengthwise rubs first and then do crosswise rubs from side to side.

This method helps the wax form the small bumps that you’ll need for grip. You’ll note that the Sticky Bumps only instructions are from the nose to the tail, and from rail to rail which is how to apply it.

That’s about all there is to it, keep an eye on the progress of your bumps, if they get elongated switch to the other direction. Apply several coats for best results and a refresher coat before you go back out again after taking a break. A few times and you’ll be an old pro, so don’t sweat it.

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