How to Clean and Re-wax a Surfboard




About: There's not much to say, I am mostly hair.

What's the matter? Got sand in your wax?

The main problem with surfing, apart from the fact that it is almost impossible, is that you get sand in your wax, which turns your board into a manually operated belt sander, especially as you duck dive under waves. This is not such a problem in cold places, because you wear a nice long wetsuit. But in warmer spots, your legs/knees with soon resemble a raw souvlaki column. This instructable tells you how to clean the old wax off, and put new stuff on!

Step 1: Start With Clean Board

This board has just been cleaned. There are a number of different ways you can clean the old wax off, but the best way, I think, is to leave it in the sun to let the wax soften, then scrape off with a board scraper (that I lost) or your driver's license (that I haven't lost). The license works better. You can remove the last of the wax by rubbing the board with a rag soaked in turps (turpentine). I've heard that Vaseline also works well for removing wax, but it's not as instant as turps and the fumes don't make you giggle as much as turps.

Step 2: Waxing

If you are doing this on concrete, put something like a towel under your board...

Choosing your wax!

There are all different kinds of board wax to suit different water temperatures. Where I live, the water is about 22C at the moment, so I use Sexwax 3x cold water soft "Quick Humps". I'll leave that there. There's a big difference in types of wax, in warm water you want thicker wax, in California you can just about dip your board in diesel and have it wax up. Ask the surly guy with his pants halfway round his arse in the surfshop what to use for your local area.

Now, rub the block of wax across your board, and then lengthways over the same area. Pay special attention to the rails - it's not considered 'cool' to have lots of wax on your rails because in theory it cuts down your speed on the wave. However, this is like worrying about the wall paper on the space shuttle. The only people who are good enough to notice a reduction in board speed have an army of groupies to wax their board for them. For regular surfing mortals, wax on the rails means you can hold and push the board down for duck diving - if your hands slip off during this process you cop a board in the face, 'Sticky rails to you, till we meet again' etc. So: sticky rails is nice rails.

A note on board wax: There are good places to keep board wax and bad places to keep board wax. The dashboard falls into the second category. See pic.

Step 3: The End

So this is what it should look like - you should have lumps of wax all over your board. It should resemble bad 70's wallpaper, but sticky. More lumpy is better.

Right, now go get wet!



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    10 Discussions


    8 years ago on Step 2

    Ah, thanks this is going to help me so much.I always hate sand in my wax.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Really the quickest way to remove old sandy wax is to take a pot of boiling water and just slowly pour it over your board with one side up so the wax runs off the down side. The wax jumps off the board and leaves it shinny clean in about 1 minute, best part, no scraping. I then dry it and do like mentioned above, wax in the microwave, (I make my own by mixing a really sticky soft cold water wax with grocery store paraffin wax which is really cheap. Play around with it until you find the right mix for your area and season and you'll save a lot of money on wax and still have a high quality wax that is tailor suited for you and your area.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    If you turn your board on its rail when you're letting the sun melt it, most of the wax will just run down the board, saving you some scraping.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I did this similarly to my skimboard a while ago. As you can imagine, skimboards get even more sand in them. It only took about 5 minutes in the sun for the wax to soften.

    1 reply

    11 years ago on Introduction

    Leaving your board in the sun is not very good for it. Also, when I wax my board I just heat up the wax in the microwave then spread the liquid wax on the board. Great instructable by the way

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    nah its fine for a few minutes, i mean your in the sun when your surfing anyway right? and who wants a white perfect board any way, i find that out of my 11 boards the newest sticks get wet the least. But mabey its cause i don wanna mess them up. Anywho....ahem...I think every one leaves their board in the sun to remove wax right? Yellow up that thing man go on ahead. and then put some nice dings in it and fix it with cheaper resin that turns yellow anyway. Muahah aha ha


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Hate it when sand gets in the wax... doesn't it just GRIND YOUR GEARS?!? Awesome Instructable, could help out a lop of people that get mad because of the same problem.