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How to Wax a Soft-Top Surfboard

Soft-top surfboards are known as the best boards on which to learn surfing. Their spongy surface and relatively long length offer a higher degree of traction, flotation and protection from injury compared to their harder, short-board counterparts. A soft-top board typically is less slippery than a traditional hardtop board, but you might still find you need additional traction. Surf wax is cheap, easy to find and is applied the same way to a soft-top board as it is to a regular surf board.

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  1. Strip the old coat of wax, if present. Leave the soft-top board out in the sun for 10 to 15 minutes or until the wax softens, and scrape it off with the straight edge of a surf wax comb or plastic paint scraper. Work your way from top to bottom, rolling the old wax into a ball. Discard the wax. Clean off any excess wax from the board with surfboard cleaner.

  2. Apply a base coat wax lengthwise to the soft-top board. Stroke the wax from the top and working your way down the board. Base coat is the hardest surf wax, so apply pressure when stroking. After applying it lengthwise, work your way crosswise from rail to rail. Continue rubbing the wax until you see bumps forming all over the board. The bumps mean that proper traction is being created.

  3. Apply a top coat surf wax in the same manner as the base coat, only use less pressure as it is a softer wax. Ensure you are using the correct wax type: cool, cold, warm or tropical, depending on the temperature of the water in which you are surfing. Tropical wax is for water temperatures 23.9 degrees Celsius and above; warm wax is for temperatures of between 17.8 and 23.3 degrees Celsius; cool wax is for between 14.4 and 20 degrees Celsius; and cold wax is for 15.6 degrees Celsius and below.

  4. Keep your wax comb handy in a pocket of your board shorts. If your wax gets smooth, use crosshatching strokes to roughen the surface of the wax.

  5. Tip

    Apply surf wax in the shade. Doing it out in the sun can lead to the wax melting and creating a mess. Keep surf wax in a plastic baggie to prevent sand from getting in the wax. Store it out of the sun to prevent it from melting.

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Things You'll Need

  • Wax comb or plastic paint scraper
  • Surfboard cleaner (optional)
  • Base coat surf wax
  • Top coat surf wax

About the Author

Alice Post began writing professionally in 1999. Her first job was writing for "The Baltic Times" in Tallinn, Estonia. She was a journalist for Reuters in New York City, and is now a copywriter for a nonprofit organization in her native Ohio. Post holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Ohio University.

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