Waxes get softer when the water is warm. A tropical temperature wax will be the ideal level of tackiness in warm water. A cold temperature bar of wax will be tacky even in cold water where most wax will have frozen up. However, if you take a cold temperature wax to warm water, it will be too soft. You can use a warmer wax in cold water as a base-coat, but it will never be tacky due to it being too hard from the cold.
Cleaning the Surfboard
It is important to first clean the deck and remove any old wax. You want to make sure that the base-coat is applied directly to a clean surface, otherwise all your hard work will rub off easily. To remove old wax, first scrape off the wax with the straight edge of the wax comb. Make sure to get any wax off of the rails by using the curved edge of the comb. Next, use whichever cleaning product you have to remove any excess wax. I recommend Isopropyl Alcohol to dissolve the thin layer of excess wax and wipe it clean. Make sure to run your hand over the deck, there should be no tackiness to it, otherwise wipe off the excess again.
The reason for the base-coat is to make a bumpy pattern that will give an area for the top-coat to hold on and be tacky. The base-coat wax should be the hardest wax you can get. Since I surf in the northern east coast, I have a couple of bars of tropical wax that I use for a base-coat it’s always hard since the water temperature never gets warm enough to soften it, otherwise get the proper base-coat wax, which is slightly harder.
Criss Cross Pattern
There are many ways to apply wax, my personal favorite is a diagonal grid pattern that criss crosses. The way to create this pattern is by using the edge of the base-coat wax brick and draw a line diagonally from one corner of the deck to the other, until you start to connect from rail to rail diagonally. Don't worry if the lines aren't perfectly straight. Eventually you’ll get up mid-way up the deck where you want to stop, you should go about eight inches past where you place your front foot, unless you are on a long board, in which case continue to the nose. Next, draw the same pattern but in the opposite direction. Again, don't worry if the lines aren't perfectly straight. By this point you should start to see a diamond pattern.
Once you are done drawing the base lines, run the wax brick back and forth vertically from rail to rail. You should start to see the wax begin to catch and build the lines and also fill in the bare parts of the deck. Lastly, repeat the same thing, but in a horizontal or circular motion.
The top coat of wax is much softer than a base-coat which allows it to be tacky and give a grip for your feet. Since the top coat is softer, you won’t need to push down as hard to apply it. At this point you can wax on the top coat using long strokes. I like to go in a circular pattern when applying it, because I like to see bumps catch the bottom coat. But any direction you apply it in should work.
When to comb your wax
After surfing some of the top coat might rub off, be stuck on your wetsuit, board shorts or get scratched off. If the wax looks squished or flat and you don’t have extra wax to apply, use the barbed side of the wax comb to scratch diagonal lines into the wax, making a diamond pattern. If you can, always make sure to add some of wax before each surf session especially during winter time otherwise you’ll be kissing the deck more often then you know. Don’t forget to Wax The Rails!
It's winter up here in the east coast and surfing can be a bit of a bear with the recent Polar Vortex blowing in. Recently, I was talking to a friend about their winter surf session. The take away from their story, their hand slipped when gripping the rail to pop up and busted their face on the deck. Lucky no trip to the doctor, but some bruising to the ego.
It's cold and wearing mitten or gloves while keeping you warm, can be slippery on an unwaxed portion of the board. Do yourself a favor and wax those rails. It's also helpfuling during the summer, unless you're a pro, wax those rails.
Oh in case you wonder what it's like to nail your head on the deck of a board, Check out Sunny Garcia slipping off his board.
Winter time means it's bitter cold in the north east of the united states. But on the bright side, it also means pumping waves. Sometimes there will be a swell that lasts for a few days and there is nothing worse then starting your session getting into a cold damp wetsuit. After surfing in the winter for a few seasons, I've figured out a quick way to make sure my wet suit was as dry as possible for the next day surf session.
Hopefully you've rinsed your wetsuit with fresh water and ready to hang dry. I recommend getting a closet rod and install it over the bathtub. A rod similar to: Adjustable Closet Rod 30 to 48-Inch should do the trick. The reason for having the rod is to let your gear hang and drip dry into the tub.
First thing to do is to make sure the wetsuit is turned inside out and do the same with the gloves or mitts. It's pretty difficult to turn boots inside out, but I recommend at least rolling down the top of the boots. Lastly, hand squeeze some of the water out of the wetsuit and additional gear. It's impressive how much water neoprene can hold. Less water means it will dry quicker.
The simplest solution is to have a fan blowing on everything, any fan will do. As you can see from the photo all my gear is relatively close to each other, but with enough space to let the air flow freely around. It's important to make sure to the fan points directly at the boots. They take the longest to dry and if damp tend to stink due to bacteria on your feet. It's a pretty nasty smell, so making sure they dry pretty quickly, usually keeps the stench at bay for some time.
I've never completely timed this, but usually I hang everything at night; by morning, all the gear is nice and dry, including the inside of the boots. I'm sure everything can dry within 3 to 4 hours depending on how warm the room is and the fan is blowing and circulating the air.
Hopefully this will help you stay warm for your next winter surf session.