Whether you're skimboarding for the first time or just got a new board you'll need to give your skimboard a fresh coat of wax. Waxing it properly will give your board a good grip and give you traction to ride the waves.
Failure to wax your board will likely lead to a painful accident as your feet slip off your board and onto the sand. So how do you wax your board properly for the first time?
To wax a skimboard for the first time get some high quality surf wax. Create a base layer by doing small circles with the corner of the wax stick making sure to cover everywhere you place your feet. After the base layer is down add extra layers using the flat edge of the wax stick until you have raised bumps.
You want to create a good coating of wax on the board to maximize grip but also to ensure you don't have to wax your board on a regular basis.
The below video gives a great guide into how to wax your Skimboard or simple follow the step-by-step guide below:
1. Get The Right Temperature Surf Wax
A good coat of wax on your skimboard starts with the right type of wax.
Most good brands of wax (see latest prices here at Amazon) sell different types of wax for different water temperatures.
A cold wax in warmer climates will melt off your board really quickly and cause a sticky mess in your car. A warm wax in a cold climate will be extremely hard, difficult to apply to your board and won't provide the best grip.
Have a look at the table below and choose the right wax for your temperature. You can also click the links to purchase your desired wax at Amazon.
|Wax Type||Water Temperature|
|Cold Water Wax||<60ºF (<15ºC)|
|Cool Water Wax||58-66ºF (14-19ºC)|
|Warm Water Wax||64-74ºF (17-24ºC)|
|Tropical Water Wax||>75ºF (>24ºC)|
You don't have to be exact with your wax and I tend to take a “close enough is good enough” approach to choosing the right wax for my board based on the season.
For most skimboarders cool water wax or warm water wax will be the right choice.
2. Strip The Old Wax Off Your Board
If you're starting with a brand new board then you can skip this step but if you've got a board with old wax then you'll want to strip off all the old wax before applying your new wax.
Stripping the old wax off your skimboard isn't a difficult task but it can take a little bit of time and attention.
Leave Your Board Out In The Sun
Ideally to begin you want to leave your board out in the sun for 30-60 minutes to heat up.
This will make the wax super soft and much easier to remove. If it isn't a sunny day or you're stripping your board inside then you can use boiling water which works just as well (if not better) or you can even do this while the wax is still hard.
Use a Surf Comb and Scrape Off The Wax
Using the flat side of your surf comb scrape off the old wax on your skimboard. If you don't have a surf comb I recommend this affordable option from Amazon. It also comes with a built in fin key which can be very handy.
Don't be afraid to press down hard to get all the wax off, your board will be able to handle it no problem.
The chances of your scratching or damaging your board are very slim (especially if you have a carbon fibre board) so use the force required to remove as much wax as possible.
You may have leftover wax in dents and divots on your board, don't worry about this we will tackle it later.
NOTE: If you don't have a surf comb then you can use a plastic paint scraper and this will work just as well. However, I advise against using a metal paint scraper as this will almost certainly damage your board.
Remove Remaining Wax With Paper Towel or Pickle
Now that most of the wax is removed you'll just need to remove the final layer of wax and any wax remaining in dents in your board.
For this I like to pour boiling water over the spot I'm about to tackle. Drain the water off and then use a paper towel and rub over the spot with force.
The wax will stick to the paper towel leaving your board looking clean.
You can also use the Pickle Wax Remover which is a bit of cloth filled with some sort of sand. You rub it over your board and it picks up all remaining wax.
3. Apply A Base Coat Using Small Circles
Using the corner or edge of your wax start applying the wax to your board in small circles as shown above.
When first applying the wax to your board it might take a bit for the wax to stick. This is normal just keep at it and it'll start to build up.
You may also get flakes come off your block of wax. If this happens you can either press them into your board with your fingers or discard them to the side. Either works fine.
We aren't trying to get huge bumps here. Rather we are building up a solid base layer that will ensure good grip all over and that we can build off later.
Make sure to do this everywhere your feet might go. This is basically everywhere on your board except maybe the very nose of your board and the middle section between your feet.
4. Apply a Top Coat Using Long Strokes
Now that you have a solid base coat you want to start building up larger bumps of wax.
You could technically stop at the base coat but then you'll find yourself needing to rewax your board fairly often. Building up solid bumps will mean you rarely have to wax your board and when you do a quick light wax will be more than enough.
Use the flat edge of your block of wax and do long strokes across the length of your board.
Top to tail or side to side doesn't really matter here. I just like to mix it up to ensure I get full coverage.
There is no exact science to how big the bumps should be and remember you can always add more wax later. Just stop when you think it looks good.
5. Top Up Only As Required
You don't need to wax your skimboard every single time you go out.
If you've waxed your skimboard properly in the beginning then you shouldn't need to wax very often at all.
It's only when seasons change, your wax fills up with sand or you're noticing your board not longer gripping as well as you would like that you need to add some wax or completely rewax your board.
Where Do You Wax a Skimboard?
You don't have to wax the entire surface of your skimboard, this is a waste of time. So where do you wax a skimboard?
When waxing a skimboard place wax wherever your feet will land. This usually means wax at the rear of the board and the front almost up until the nose with a gap in the middle. Don't wax the underneath of your board.
You can wax the entire top of your board if you want. There is really no negative to placing wax everywhere on your board especially if you are a beginner. But you shouldn't wax the bottom of your skimboard with regular surf wax.
Better skimboarders like to have a gap of wax in the middle of their board. This helps them to more easily identify where to place their feet when doing the drop.
If you have traction pads at the rear of your skimboard a lot of skimboarders will place wax directly above the traction pad for extra traction and more foot placement options.
How Often Should You Add Wax Onto Your Skimboard
Do you need to wax your skimboard every time you go for a surf? How often should you add wax to your skimboard?
As a general rule you should add wax to your skimboard only when you feel you aren't getting the grip you desire. Some people like to add wax every time they go out while but I have found adding wax every 1-2 weeks works well. Combing the wax is another method to increase grip.
The more you're adding wax to your board the larger your wax clumps will get and the sooner you'll need to completely strip your board and re-wax it.
I'm personally not religious about it. I'll re-wax my skimboard or surfboard when I feel it needs it. If I'm skimboarding regularly this can be a few times a week and if I'm not going out as often then I don't add wax as often.
If my skimboard has sat in my garage for an extended period of time and I haven't been out surfing then I'll always add some wax before going out.
How Often Should You Re Wax Your Skimboard
On a semi-regular basis you should be completely stripping your skimboard of wax and adding a fresh layer of wax to it. But how often should you re-wax your skimboard and when do you know it needs to be done?
You should re-wax your skimboard 2-4 times a year with the changing seasons. You should also re-wax your skimboard if the wax clumps have become too big, filled up with sand, turned completely yellow or if the wax has melted and reset.
I've written an entire article on when you should re-wax your skimboard and in that article I went into more detail about how to identify when your board needs a fresh coat of wax.
Can You Use Candle Wax on a Skimboard
If you've surfed with an old timer you may have heard that in the past they used candle wax in order to wax their surfboards. Can you use candle wax on a skimboard for traction?
It's not recommended to use candle wax on a skimboard, it's much too hard and is slipperier than commonly available surf wax. Old surfers used to use candle wax on their boards before surf wax was readily available and they had to rub sand into the wax the create grip.
Candle wax is much much harder than the surf wax you purchase and is commonly used by skateboarders and snowboarders in order to slick up a rail and make it easier to slide on.
Here's what a veteran with candle wax experience said about using it on your skimboard or surfboard in this forum:
Back in the day we used candle wax, it worked like sh*t……but that is all we had. No one made surf wax back then……. We also brushed resin on the nose of our long boards, and sprinkle salt on the resin. When the salt washed off it made super grip.