How to Wax a Soft-Top Surfboard

How to Wax a Soft-Top Surfboard

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The spongy surface and relatively long length of soft-top surfboards offer a higher degree of traction, flotation and protection from injury compared to their harder, short-board counterparts. A soft-top board typically is less slippery than a traditional hard-top board, but you might still need additional traction, which you can get with fresh wax.

Items you will need

  • Wax comb or plastic paint scraper

  • Surfboard cleaner

  • Base coat surf wax

  • Top coat surf wax

Step 1

Soften the old coat of wax by leaving the board out in the sun for 30 minutes. Scrap off the old wax with the straight edge of a surf wax comb or plastic paint scraper. Work your way from top to bottom, rolling the old wax into a ball. Discard the wax. Clean off any excess wax from the board with surfboard cleaner.

Step 2

Apply a base coat wax to the board lengthwise first. Stroke the wax from the top and work your way down the board. Apply pressure when stroking, as base coat is the hardest surf wax. Apply the wax crosswise from rail to rail after applying it lengthwise. Continue rubbing the wax until you see bumps forming all over the board.

Step 3

Apply a top coat surf wax in the same manner as the base coat, only use less pressure as it is a softer wax. Use the correct wax type: cool, cold, warm or tropical, depending on the temperature of the water in which you are surfing.

Step 4

Keep your wax comb handy in a pocket of your board shorts. Use crosshatching strokes to roughen the surface of the wax if your wax becomes smooth.


  • Apply surf wax in the shade. Doing it out in the sun can lead to the wax melting and creating a mess.
  • Keep surf wax in a plastic baggie to prevent sand from getting in the wax. Store it out of the sun to prevent it from melting.
  • Tropical wax is for water temperatures 75 degrees Fahrenheit and above; warm wax is for temperatures of between 64 and 74 degrees; cool wax is for between 58 and 68 degrees; and cold wax is for 60 degrees and below.
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