3 Easy Steps on Removing Wax from a Surfboard: 2022

Flo Farmer
Written by
Last update:

How to Remove Wax from a Surfboard

Most experienced surfers will already know how to remove wax from a surfboard but it's a craft that should be passed on to every new surfer. Not only does removing wax from a surfboard ensure a better surf, it also makes your board look more aesthetically pleasing. First of all, lets talk a little about what wax is. Wax, which can be purchased at any surf shop, is a paste type substance that is spread evenly across your board and when dries, hardens to make your board smooth and fast. That's why it's important to remove wax from a surfboard regularly, it reduces friction and allows you to glide through the water more easily. Surfing has never been easier!

Below we've created a step-by-step guide on how to remove wax from a surfboard.

Step 1: Using a soft cloth and some warm water, wipe away as much wax as possible from around the rails of the board. Although it's not necessary to remove the wax from the deck, doing so will leave your surfboard looking clean and shiny.

Step 2: After wiping away the excess wax with your cloth, take a soft toothbrush (the soft toothbrush pictured in the images below) and begin to lightly scrub away the remaining wax. Be careful, do not scrub too hard or you will end up scratching and damaging your board.

#1. Prepare all the needed materials.

When trying to clean your surfboard of wax, many people overlook the preparations they need to do before they even begin. There are a few materials that you should have on hand before you get started. You should have a bucket with water, a towel, a razor, an iron and wax remover, and a wax scraper. Prep time should take about 15 minutes.

#2. Continue rubbing until every bit of wax is removed.

Remove all wax if possible.

#3. Do the final clean-up.

You're almost done! Make sure the board is fully dry and then go over it with the wax remover. Still rubbing hard? If so, then you should take a break, as it's been a long process.

Once you're ready, start waxing the board in a vertical motion. You can apply the wax as thin or thick as you want, but I'd suggest you take a thicker approach on the last coat, to build a shield over the board.

Keep applying the wax until you can't see any more water being absorbed.

Take your time, as there will be another coat or two to go on. It's a bit of a paper chase at this stage.

Lastly, for that extra special finish, sprinkle a little baby powder into your hand, and brush it over the wax. This makes the board all smooth and shiny.

Why Do You Need to Remove and Replace Your Surf Wax Regularly?

Your surfboard needs to be waxed regularly so that it can surf better and last longer. To surf well, a surfboard needs to have traction on the water. The ideal traction is when the water can’t sit on the board or it slides off the board.

If there is wax on the surfboard, it prevents water from being able to sit on the board. So the water just slides off the board. This creates traction and the board will surf well.

If there isn’t wax, water is able to sit on the board and that’s when it becomes rough. So you get a bad surfboarding experience.

Surfboard wax needs to be replaced after every couple of weeks, or so to avoid bad surfboarding experiences.

#1. It improves your grip.

Wax isn’t the only thing in your garage that collects dust. It’s also your surfboard. Keeping a detailed eye on it will help you prevent some major accidents from happening. A dirty waxed surfboard not only restricts your grip but also adds drag to your runs.

What This Means: If you’ve forgotten to wax your surfboard during a while, it’s time to take it out of the garage and get it cleaned as soon as possible. The more damage it has, the longer it will take to clean it.

#2. You can identify the necessary fixes.

For surfers it is a good idea to study about their equipment’s materials. Learning about the type of material that coats your surfboard will help you identify problems like wax build-up.

By using the wax applicator the concentric circles or rings of hot and cold wax will show up. The cold wax may indicate that the wax build-up has already formed a film over the surface.

Another indication of a form of protection or wax build-up is when the wax in the application is not well melted when the wax is applied due to the cold temperature. The uneven application of wax can result to some amount of wax build-up.

The main cause of this type of wax build-up will only form when the process of applying wax is improper. Improper wax application includes using wax that is too hard with excess amounts that are not melted much. Doing this can create strings and lumps of excess wax that can easily bond to the wax on the surfboard.

To avoid the aforementioned problems, you should be able to have some knowledge about the wax that you are using. You should recognize the different types of wax melting capabilities. Some waxes need to be heated up to one hundred and fifty degrees while some other kinds only need to be heated up to one hundred degrees.

Expert Tips

Though it may sound simple, restoring your surfboard back to brand new surface is no mean feat. It is often overlooked, but being self-aware about the causes of your wax buildup is tantamount to avoiding future complications. It is of more importance to properly eliminate wax buildup than to restore it back to perfection.

The first tip is that you can never get the board wet. Even a quick dip to prevent drag will not work as the steamy water is sure to damage the polyethylene.

Not all wax removers are the same. They can take up to three applications to get the job done. Cheap, quick solutions like automotive polishing agents require vigorous scrubbing to remove the wax and have the potential for causing damage to your precious surfboard. This is why it is always better to rely on some tried and tested surfboard wax removers. They are formulated specifically to effectively remove wax and such compounds without leaving any streaks.

With some patience and finesse you will get the wax buildup off in no time.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can use the method below for removing wax from a surfboard, or you can see the step-by-step picture tutorial above for a full visual of the process. Either way here are some questions and answers.

How can I remove wax from my surfboard without putting tons of wax back on the board the next time I go out?

The wax that wax remover will remove is not going to be melted into the base. So if you put wax on right after you run wax remover across the deck it’s going to bond with the old wax and be exactly where you want it. You’re not going to want to put as much wax on your board, but that’s why you’re doing it.

Do I need to wax my board before wax removal?

It depends on how much wax/wax residue you have on your surfboard, and also how long ago you last waxed it.

I waited a couple days after my last good wax before I removed the wax residue but it didn’t seem to be enough.

Q: Is it okay to apply wax without removing the old one?

Perhaps I should’ve said to clean the board before applying new wax in the very first sentence.

Ah, who am I fooling?

This is a hard one!

You don’t want to leave old wax as is, as the grip of the wax wears out and the old wax mixes with the new, gunking up the surface of the board.

You also don’t want to go through the too much trouble of cleaning the board, then noticing you’ve shot an entire layer of wax all over yourself!

One way to make sure you do it right, is to just try it out or watch some tutorials.

The method I use for cleaning waxy boards is just to apply a layer of wax to the board, let it sit for a minute while wiping the surface, and then pull it off with a cloth. The wax is just a thin layer so I don’t need to be extremely thorough.

And if you have a nice testing area in your house, this would be a great way to learn how to clean a surfboard–> Wax on right side of board, rub in, let sit, wipe off, scrub, wipe off, buff.

Q: What will happen if I don’t apply surf wax on my board?

A: If you don’t wax your board, you’ll lose speed. A surfboard with wax on it actually increases friction by approximately 15-20%.

The wax creates a barrier between the water and the board. This barrier enables you to slide on the water and will increase your ability to control the surfboard.

Q: How can I remove the surfboard wax from my clothes?

  • A:
  • Wax stains can be very annoying and may make you want to retire your clothes, but there are easy ways to remove wax from your surf clothes. Just try the following three steps: