If you're new to skimboarding you may be wondering whether or not you need to wax the bottom of your skimboard.
Wax is used in skiing, snowboarding and skateboarding to make sliding and grinding smoother. It's also used on surfboards and skimboards on the top of the board to stop your feet slipping off when the board gets wet.
But do you wax the bottom of a skimboard and will it help you go faster and farther?
You should NOT use surf wax on the bottom of your skimboard, only the top. You can use speed wax, eelsnot or car wax to make the bottom of your skim board slicker but this is not required to get started and only offers minor improvements to speed and distance.
There are different types of wax that you might consider putting on your skimboard. Surf wax is sticky and is put on the top of your skimboard to stop your feet slipping off and car wax (or speed wax) is slippery and can be rubbed on the bottom of your board for extra speed.
However, very few pro skim boarders talk about the need for wax on the bottom of your board as the benefits you get are minor (if there are any benefits at all).
It's generally considered better to not worry about waxing the bottom of your skimboard and instead focusing on running faster and getting a better drop if you need more speed.
Do You Need Wax On The Bottom Of Your Skimboard?
You don't NEED wax on the bottom of your skimboard. The right wax may speed you up a little but it isn't needed to get started in skimboarding and offers such little improvements a new skimboarder wouldn't notice the difference.
Whether to use wax at all on the bottom of your skimboard is a debated topic with some people saying they use it, others saying there is no point.
But there are two things everyone seems to agree on:
- If you are going to wax the bottom of your skimboard don't use surf wax. This will likely have the opposite effect you're looking for and may cause your board to stop and you to injure yourself
- If you do use wax like Speed Wax or Eelsnot on the bottom of your skimboard the improvements you get (if any) are going to be minor at best
If you're just getting started in skimboarding don't bother. Just get some surf wax and wax the top of your board for grip and leave the bottom of your board completely clean (that's what I did).
If you're a professional skimboarder looking for that extra edge then there may be some benefit to you waxing the bottom of your board.
What Wax Should You Use On The Bottom of Your Skimboard?
There are different types of waxes out there and not all wax is created equal.
Surf wax is designed to make the top of your board grippy even when wet.
While I haven't personally tried this on the bottom of my skimboard (or surfboard) most people seem to agree that this type of wax would likely reduce your speed and distance when skimboarding, not increase it.
Some people say it may actually cause your board to grip to the sand, especially drier sand, and could cause you to have a serious fall.
Here's a helpful comment from a skimboarder from SkimOnline:
Dont wax the bottom the bottom of your board with sex wax, sticky bumps or any other kind of surf wax that provides grip to the top of the board, this will only slow u down, the key in skimboarding is to run fast so u can catch the waves, the only kind of wax that should go on the bottom of your board is speed wax such as eelsnot or car wax, anything else will slow u down
And here's another comment reiterating the same point…
You can wax the bottom of your board but do it using bowling alley wax, car wax, something like that. Or you can also look at Eelsnot as well.
But please don't wax the bottom of your board with sex wax
So surf wax (“sex wax” is a popular brand) shouldn't be used on the bottom of your skimboard. You can use other slippery waxes if you want to but it isn't a must have to get started or even a must have for good skimboarders.
How To Wax The Bottom Of Your Skimboard
If you do plan on waxing the bottom of your skimboard how do you go about doing it?
The process is actually quite simple:
Use a microfibre cloth and get some of your wax on the cloth. Apply it to the base of your board using circles (wax on). Apply to the entire base of the board (including near the rails).
Use a second microfibre cloth and use big circles (wax off) to wipe off excess wax and to leave a smooth shine on the bottom of your board.
Below is a video showing you exactly how to put wax on the bottom of your skimboard:
Does Waxing The Bottom Of Your Skimboard Actually Make You Go Faster?
There is debate among skimboards as to whether or not wax on the bottom of your board actually has any noticeable effect.
There is this Reddit thread where they go into detail about how wax in used in skiing and snowboarding in order to decrease friction and allow the boards to slide better. So can the same science be applied to skimboarding?
The general consensus is no. Most people seem to think waxing the bottom of your skimboard will have zero noticeable effect on the speed or distance you get when skimming.
I think the below comment sums up the argument pretty effectively:
There's a reason very few of the top pros are riding for or talking about speed waxes. It's because they have an imperceptible, if any, effect on the board's ability to plane across the water.
That's not to say that waxes don't create less drag on watercraft; to be clear, they do. Just not at the scale we're talking about with skimboards. On a 30′ center console boat – sure. On a 55″ skimboard? Not likely. Just run an extra step, learn to hydroplane well, and save your money.
So the answer is…maybe?
It is possible that the correct wax on the bottom of your skimboard will make it move faster over water, but the difference will be so small it's not really worth the cost and effort.
Waxing The Bottom of Your Skimboard May Put Chemicals Into The Ocean
If you're on the fence about whether or not to bother waxing the bottom of your skimboard something that made the decision easy for me was the impact it could have on the environment.
Any wax on the bottom of your skimboard is likely going to come off over time and end up in the oceans or rivers you are skimboarding on. Waxes are likely full of chemicals that aren't ideal for sea life.
Given that waxing the bottom of your board gives very little benefit the negative environmental impact makes the decision simple for me. The bottom of my board is clean as a whistle.
Do You Wax The Top of a Skimboard? Why?
What about the top of your skimboard? Should you wax the top of your skimboard?
Yes, it's very important that you wax the top of your skimboard with a sticky surf wax. This wax increases grip and will ensure your feet don't slip off your skimboard when it's wet. If you fail to wax the top of your skimboard you may find yourself slipping off easily and hurting yourself.
The wax on the top of your skimboard you're using it to create traction between your feet and the board
Yes, you should wax the top of a skimboard and/or use skimboard traction pads.
A skimboard that isn't waxed is going to be extremely slippery for your feet when wet (which is will be give you're skimboarding in water).