Stripping your skimboard of wax and giving it a completely re-waxing isn't the most fun task in the world, but it does need to be done regularly to ensure the best grip and to keep your board looking good. But how much is enough and how often should you re-wax your skimboard?
As a general rule you should re-wax your skimboard every 3-6 months with the changing water temperatures. If the wax clumps become too lumpy under your feet (1/2-1/2 inch), if the wax melts and resets, turns yellow or fills up with sand then it's also time to re-wax your skimboard.
There is no hard and fast rule “you must re-wax your skimboard every X months or every X surfs” but there are some general rules to help you know whether or not it's time to re-wax your board.
Below are the key indicators to look for to known when it's time to re-wax your skimboard. Click here to get a step-by-step guide to waxing your skimboard properly.
1. Changing Water Temperatures
Different surf waxes are designed for different water temperatures. Thus the changing seasons are often a good time to strip your board of the old wax and give it a fresh coat of wax specifically designed for the new season.
Warmer summer wax will become extremely hard in the colder winter months and your board will be become more slippery as a result.
Colder winter waxes will become soft in the hot summer months. The wax will melt quickly when your board isn't in the water and this will cause sand to stick to it more easily making it dirtier. It will also come off on your clothes or on your car and this stuff doesn't wash out easily.
So when the seasons are changing it usually means it's a good time to strip your board and apply new wax specifically designed for that season.
For me I do this twice a year. Once in mid-late Fall/Autumn as the water (and weather) starts to cool down and then once again in early-mid spring as the weather starts to warm up.
Remember that water temperature changes are delayed compared to the actual seasons. The delay is usually around 2-3 months depending on your location and local water currents.
So early spring often has some of the coldest water temperatures for the year, whereas late autumn the water temperature can still be quite warm compared to the outside temperature.
2. Large Wax Clumps
The more you wax your skimboard the larger clumps of wax will form.
Having large lumps of wax on your skimboard can be uncomfortable on your feet and also it can lead to less grip as there is less surface area where your foot is touching.
Adding more wax won't solve this problem but only make it worse. New wax sticks the the raised lumps making them biggest and gets passed over the other areas.
Once you're noticing this happening it's likely time to completely strip your board of all wax and then start again with a fresh coat of evenly displaced wax.
You'll notice a significant improvement in how much grip you get on your board.
3. Wax Melts and Resets
We've all been there when we've left our skimboard out in the sun or left it in the hot car while we went and got a well-deserved post-surf coffee.
When this happens the wax will melt and then as it cools down it will reset.
The max is unlikely to run like it does with a candle but this melting and reseting will change the chemical composition of the wax, making it overall harder and less grippy.
It can also cause the wax to look more clear or more yellow when compared to newer whiter wax.
When this happens you can cover it up with some fresh wax and get away with it for a little bit but it's better to just completely strip your board and re-wax it.
4. Wax Has Turned Yellowish or Brown/Black
When you apply a fresh coat of wax it has a beautiful white look. Your board will look clean and sexy and the grip will be amazing.
Over time due to sun exposure, changes in heat and sand and dirt getting in there your wax will start to turn yellow and will no longer look great on your board.
This is a good indicator that your wax is getting old and it's time to strip it off and re-wax your board and get it looking brand new again. It'll increase the pride you have in your board and will grip a lot better too.
5. Wax Is Dirty or Filled with Sand
As skimboarders we notoriously find ourselves in the shoredump and just as our hair, wetsuits and swimmers can fill up with sand so can the wax on our boards.
Over time this wax will get pressed into your skimboard making it dirty and rough. While you would think sand would add grip to your wax (old surfers used to rub sand into candlewax in order to create grip on their boards) I have found the opposite to be true.
The sandier my board the worse I have found my grip to be.
Adding wax on top is difficult to do, never applies that well and always ends up leaving my block of wax full of sand.
If the wax on your board is full of sand do yourself a favor and strip your board and re-wax it. Your board will look better and grip better too.