Wax is often used to help you stick to your skimboard while flatland or wave skimming.
There are specific techniques for waxing a skimboard so that it sticks to your board, and so do you.
The surface of a skimboard is slippery, which is great for the side in contact with the water but not good for under your feet.
A good wax job creates bumps that give your feet something to grip to.
If you've never waxed a skimboard before or are just looking for tips to get a better wax job, here is a guide to waxing your stick.
Supplies You Will Need
To prepare for a good wax job, you will need a few supplies:
1. Base coat wax;
2. Top coat wax;
3. Wax comb;
If you're going to put wax on a used board or reapplying wax, you will also need some wax cleaner and a few paper towels.
See below for how to remove wax.
Putting On A Base Coat
The base coat is the most important step of waxing a skimboard.
The top coat of skimboard wax will get worn out and rub off as you skim, but the base coat will remain until the next time you completely re-wax your stick.
If a patch of base coat rubs off, you will have an area that is constantly without wax - even if you apply more top coat, it will rub off.
The goal of the base coat is to create a bump pattern that will last.
Base coat wax is harder and lasts longer but also makes it a bit more difficult to apply.
Make sure to push down on the wax so some will rub off.
If you press down too lightly, nothing will come off, and it will take you a long time to wax.
While waxing, your wax might skip along the surface, making a strange sound - that is OK.
It just means bumps are forming, and the wax is bouncing over them.
You will want to start by making broad strokes on the board and continuing until you see a bump pattern emerge.
There are many different techniques to apply wax, none is the correct way, and you should do whatever works for you.
As time goes on, you will figure out the method that best suits you.
Here are some of the techniques you might want to try:
Rub the wax in little circles, moving up and down the board.
Front to Back
Rub the wax in a straight line parallel to the rocker.
Go diagonal one way and then go perpendicular to that direction.
Go every direction, make spirals, do whatever you wish.
Once you see bumps begin to form, you will know you are doing it correctly.
Continue until you have created enough depth or have used up the recommended amount of wax from our guide below.
Applying the Top Coat
The top coat of wax is much softer than a base coat and allows it to be tacky and stick to your feet.
Top coats are much more affected by the temperature of the water than base coats.
As a result, you want to use a wax type that is good for the water temperature where you surf.
Surf wax comes in temperature ranges marked on the label and get softer when the water is warmer.
Different chemicals are added to the wax to make sure the wax is at an ideal level of softness for a specific water temperature.
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.
As a rule of thumb, you can always use a warmer wax in cold water, but don't use a colder wax in warm water.
The top coat of skimboard wax should be applied similarly to the base coat, but since it is softer, you will not need to push down as hard.
Most riders prefer to apply the top coat using big circular motions.
Like with the base coat, though, try a few things, and eventually, you will find something that works for you.
Waxing After Skimming
While you are skimming, a bit of the top coat will flake off - some of it might even stick to your wetsuit or boardshorts.
To account for this, you might want to add a bit of wax once in a while before you skim.
Sometimes the skimboard wax will get really squished and look flat.
If this happens, use the comb side of your wax comb to scratch diagonal lines into the wax, making a checkerboard pattern.
This will ensure you stick to your board for a few more sessions.
Where to Put Wax on Your Skimboard?
Most skimmers put wax on the entire surface of the board, staying about half an inch to an inch away from the edges.
Wave skimmers don't usually wax all the way to the nose of the board as their feet never touch there, so not only is it pointless, but it adds weight, and the nose needs to be light to glide over and through waves.
The idea is to make sure you have the most wax in the area where your feet land.
Of course, by doing tricks and other shenanigans, other parts of the board are used, so it is best just to cover the whole thing.
How Much Wax to Use?
There can be a lot of variance in how much wax you will need for a particular board. Like many things, this is mostly a preference.
Most skimmers generally prefer a mix of traction pads with wax on their foamie boards.
Riders of wooden skimboards will usually either have full traction pads covering the whole surface or a mix of traction pads and skimboard wax.
Some still prefer a full covering of skimboard wax and will often have a ton of wax.
Take a look at how much wax the best skimmers are using on their boards.
Chances are, if you think you have a lot on, you probably still don't have enough.
The whole board will often be covered with about half an inch of skimboard wax from nose to tail.
This does add a lot of weight to the board, but with wood, that is usually preferred, as it makes the board very grippy and durable.
How to Remove Wax
Warning - this can be messy. Do it somewhere that it's OK to get wax all over.
Things you'll need:
1. Paper towel and/or newspaper;
2. Scraper/spatula tool of some sort (Mr. Zog's Sex Wax comb works well);
3. Source of heat: for example, sun or hairdryer;
Start by leaving the board in the sun for a bit or use a hairdryer, but be careful not to burn your deck.
Once the wax is soft and melty, it can be removed easily.
Place newspaper or other covering under the board to collect the old wax.
Use your scraper tool along the board in long smooth strokes.
Collect the wax in a ball and put it in the trash can.
To get all the residue off, you can use a wax remover liquid, but if you're just going to re-wax, don't bother.
Don't want to use all that sticky wax? Try traction pads instead.
Keep a spare block of wax with you every time you go skimming.
Put it in a baggy to prevent it from melting all over your stuff and/or sand getting in it.
Also, keep a wax comb handy.
When not skimming, place your board wax side down and away from the sun.
Words by Nicole Rigler | Skimboarder