If you're new to skimboarding you may be wondering whether or not you need to wax a skimboard and what role wax plays in skimboarding.
You need to wax the top of a skimboard (or use stick on grips) to provide grip and to stop your feet sliding off the board. Failure to do so can lead to injury. You don't need to wax the bottom of the skimboard.
Applying a good layer of wax to the top of your skimboard is an absolute must before you hit the beach and start trying to skim along the waves or the wet sand.
Use surfboard wax on the top of your skimboard and make sure to put wax in any spot where your feet will be. Don't put surfboard wax on the bottom of your board or it may cause it to grip with the sand leading to your board suddenly stopping.
It's not bad to wax the entire board when you're a beginner and your feet will land all over the board in the beginning.
As you improve you can strip off the old wax and just place wax when you know your feet land everytime.
Can You Skimboard Without Wax?
If you've just purchased a new board and don't have any wax you might want to go out there and skimboard without wax. But is this a good idea?
As a general rule you should never skimboard without wax or grips on the top of your board. Without wax the top of your skimboard will be extremely slippery which will cause your feet to slide off your board and could lead to injury.
Given you are running at fast speeds and jumping onto your skimboard, if your feet slip off and land on the sand this can lead to some serious face plants.
The only time when it's ok to not have wax on your skimboard is when you have traction pads on your board.
Grip pads work just like wax in that they stop your feet from slipping. They are generally considered better than wax because the contours of the grip and the bump on the back pad give you more grip and control once you're on the board.
Do You Wax The Top or Bottom of a Skimboard?
If you're new to skimboarding you'll want to make sure you put your wax in the right spot.
Generally speaking you only wax the top of your skimboard using a surf wax. This provides grip for your feet so you don't slide off when skimming. People rarely wax the bottom of their skimboard as it's not needed.
Running faster or getting a better drop will create more speed than slicking the bottom of your skimboard with wax will.
Do You Wax Both Sides of a Skimboard?
Given skateboarders and snowboarders use wax to allow their boards to slide more easily when grinding on rails you may be thinking it's a good idea to wax both sides of your board.
One side for foot grip and the other to slide more easily over the water. But should you wax both sides of your skimboard?
As a general rule you should only wax the top of your skimboard and use surfboard wax to do so. Some people do use car wax or speed wax on the bottom of their skimboards but most pros don't do this and it only gives minor speed improvements (if any).
I've written a full article on whether or not you should wax the bottom of a skimboard with details on how to wax the bottom of your skimboard if this is something you want to do.
Do You Need Pads For Your Skimboard?
You see a lot of skimboarders using pads on their boards instead of wax. Most of the pros use some kind of pads but do you need pads for your skimboard or is it ok to go without?
You don't need traction pads when skimboarding. Surf wax will provide enough grip and you can skimboard fine without pads. However, pads have contours and a back kicker which provide even more traction and control.
If you're just starting out skimboarding and don't want to spend the extra money on pads then simply give the top of your board a good coat of wax and you'll be good to go.
If at a later date you decide you want to add traction pads it isn't difficult to remove the wax and then add traction pads onto your board.
I would advise against adding traction pads to a wooden skimboard.
Wooden skimboards are only really designed for wet sand and aren't buoyant enough to properly surf waves. They are great for getting started but if you want to start skimboarding properly you'll want to upgrade to a better board.
For this reason it's not worth putting traction grips on a wooden skimboard. The grips will likely cost more than the board itself and it's just a waste of money.