How To Remove Old Wax from a Surfboard

A proper wax coating on your surfboard is important for safety reasons as well as for preserving your board for many years of surfing enjoyment. An old wax build up can make your board slippery, whereas a new, thin wax coating can give your board good traction. Removing the old wax from your board is not difficult; it just takes time and patience. You will find many specialty tools and wax removal chemicals to buy at your local surf shop. However, any straight-edge tool and the sun is all that is required to accomplish the same thing without adding extra expense to your wallet or additional chemicals to our environment.

Step 1

Set up an area in the direct sun. Pick a day that is warm and sunny. Use sawhorses or some other type of prop that allows your board to be in the sun, yet protects the fins from damage. Allow the board wax to soften in the sun for approximately seven or ten minutes. Check the wax every few minutes for consistency. You will want a soft, gooey wax for easy removal.

Step 2

Gently scrape off the old wax. Use a rubber spatula, old credit card or that special wax comb the surf shop talked you into buying. Place your tool of choice at the edge of the area on your surfboard where wax is applied. While holding the credit card at a 45-degree angle, scrape up the old wax by pushing it about seven to eight inches per stroke. Then, pull up, scooping up the old wax. Remove and discarded the wax shavings appropriately. Repeat the process until most of the wax is gone from your board.

Step 3

Wipe remaining wax off of the board. Take a clean, dry rag and wipe any remaining wax off of your surfboard. Be sure to use a circular motion so that it doesn't simply smear and spread the old wax. Once you are sure you've removed all the wax, clean your board with another clean rag and warm water. Allow it to dry before applying new wax.

Step 4

Bring your board in out of the sun and allow it to cool. You don't want the new wax to melt as you are applying it. Some surfers actually refrigerate the boards before applying a new coat of wax, but I don't believe this is necessary. Bring your board into an air-conditioned room and, again, set your board on props to protect the fins. After about 30 minutes, your board will be ready for you to apply the new wax.

Step 5

Apply new wax. New wax is applied to your surfboard by rubbing the wax on in a circular motion. Start at the nose of your board; rub the new wax from side to side in a small circular pattern, finishing at the tail end of your board. After doing a few light, very thin layers, add a final coat using the same small circular rubbing pattern. However, don't over do it with the wax–-more is not better. Your end result should be a nice, even waxing.


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