If you’re looking to improve your bodyboarding experience, don’t underestimate what waxing your bodyboard can do for you.
As you become more adept with your bodyboarding skills, you may have now caught onto the fact that waxing your bodyboard may be an essential part of your bodyboarding experience.
You’ve always known that surfers wax their surf boards, but do we really need to wax the bodyboards?
Waxing your bodyboard has more to it then you’d expect, and we are here to show you everything you need to know about bodyboarding waxing.
Are You Supposed to Wax Your Bodyboard?
Let’s start from the beginning.
What is wax and why do you need to wax your bodyboard?
Wax, be it synthetic or natural, is literally a wax that you apply onto your bodyboard to keep you from sliding off.
It essentially provides you with more grip and in turn gives you greater control and you won’t be slipping and sliding all over the place.
Brand new bodyboards should definitely be waxed before you take them out into the waves for the first time.
New bodyboards tend to be quite slippery in the water. This is due to the coating that manufacturers apply to the deck to make the board look good in the store. This coating however has a negative effect in the water. It does wear off after a while, but the best solution is to correctly apply wax to the deck from day one.
Waxing Helps with Take-off
The biggest difference that wax makes to the deck of a bodyboard is during take-off.
When you are paddling out to catch a wave, not slipping around on the deck is very important. This is even more so if you are catching bigger waves or if you are using two hands to paddle rather than one paddling and one holding the board.
Nothing worse than spending ages to get out to the unbroken waves only to miss it because you fell off your bodyboard.
If you’re a beginner, waxing your bodyboard can help you when you’re learning how to catch a wave.
Waxing Gives You Greater Control
Good bodyboarding is about technique and control. It is almost impossible to do even the most basic manoeuvres on a wave if you are slipping around on the deck of your bodyboard.
Wax helps keep you on your bodyboard and thus gives you greater control during turns and other tricks.
Waxing Gives You Greater Grip
The grip that wax provides is important if you are riding big waves. The wax will help ensure that you don’t wipe out.
If you are bouncing and sliding all over the deck you will find staying on your bodyboard while riding serious waves that much harder particularly if your arms come off the rails.
What Is the Best Wax for Bodyboarding?
The biggest factor to consider when buying surf wax for your bodyboard is water temperature. The warmer the water the faster the surf wax will wear off.
Another thing to consider is the colour of your deck. Dark coloured decks will heat up much faster than lighter coloured decks and will also lose wax faster.
Waxes come in different compounds depending on the conditions that you will be bodyboarding in.
As a general rule, warm or tropical waxes tend to be harder as they break down faster in the warmer water. Cold water waxes tend to be softer as they are designed to stay tacky in cold water and not go hard and slick.
The ideal wax for a bodyboard is generally a cooler water wax as these tend to be softer and tackier.
Really hard waxes can damage your bodyboard if you apply them incorrectly. You want to be able to get the right amount of stickiness and it should be fairly easy to apply. I use the same wax all year round as I’m never in really warm water.
The colour of the wax doesn’t have too much effect on performance and is more a cosmetic or personal preference. I prefer to use neutral colours as I get wax on my wetsuit which is black and its less likely to stain.
Check out some of the wax formulas that are made specifically for bodyboards.
How Do You Apply Wax to A Bodyboard?
Good bodyboarding comes down to control of the board on the wave. Applying wax to the deck of your board in the right places will have a massive impact on your ability to stick to the board and allow sharper and more dynamic turns and manoeuvres.
Wax comes in bars and you will need to rub it onto your bodyboard in the right places. You want to build up the wax so that it is sticky and gives you grip when you are in the water. You don’t need a big slab of wax over the whole board.
It is a good idea to wax your board before you get to the beach or at least in the shade as the bodyboard will heat up in the sun and make the wax less likely to stick to the board properly.
Also, if you wax bar is melting, it won’t apply correctly and will be too soft to get a good coat. I like to start with a crisscross pattern first then build from there.
Where Should You Apply Wax on The Bodyboard?
The first thing to understand is where on the bodyboard you will need to apply the wax. Learn more about bodyboard parts in our ultimate guide.
The Nose of The Bodyboard
The first place that you should wax before you get out amongst the waves is the nose of the board.
This is where your hands hold the bodyboard when in the water. I generally wax the nose of my bodyboard along the deck side and then wax the underside a bit in each corner as my fingers grip under there as well.
The Rails of The Bodyboard
The next part of the bodyboard that you need to wax are the rails. These are sides of the board where your elbows and forearms will rest while you are riding the waves.
This is really important as a lot of your control comes from the rails and getting your arm position right can really help drive the turns.
If your arm slips off during a turn you will probably wipe out. You generally only need to wax the rails from half way point to the top along the sides of the board and about a hand span in width on the deck itself to get the right amount of coverage.
The Deck of The Bodyboard
The deck is the part of the board that you lie on while you are riding the wave. When you are waxing the deck, it is important to understand your body position on the bodyboard itself.
The ideal position while riding the wave is to get your belly button close to the centre of the deck. This means that the contact points on the deck itself are towards the back of the deck.
It is somewhat counter intuitive, but this area needs the least amount of wax on the board. I like to put a small amount of wax along the tail and bottom half of my board, so I get some grip, but I can still move up and down the deck as needed.
If you are a beginner, you might need a bit more was here as it will help keep you glued to the board while you are learning the basics.
If you are not sure the best thing to do is lie on your board and imagine you are riding a wave. Put your left arm along the left side of the deck and your right hand on the right corner of the nose.
You will need to wax where your arm is and where your hand is. Then swap and put your right arm on the deck and left hand on the nose and wax again.
How Much Wax Should Be Applied?
Wax is not permanent and can be removed if you are unhappy with how much wax you have rubbed on or where you applied it.
Additionally, this also means that you can apply extra wax on the sections of the board that you think are most important depending on the type of waves that you are riding and the level that you are at with your bodyboarding.
So, if you make a mistake, it is easy to fix. Over time you will develop the sweet spot for where and how much wax that works for you.
I don’t want too much wax on the deck of the board as I like to be able to slide around a little bit more. But I do like having a ton of wax on the nose and rails as that is where I grip the bodyboard and I need to have control.
If you don’ want to slip around too much, add more wax onto the deck as shown in the red areas below.
When to Reapply Wax
I always apply wax just before I head out for the first time that day. If I am bodyboarding the next day, I assess how much is left on the bodyboard and make a decision if I need more.
How much wax needs to be re-applied is really a personal thing and has a bit to do with how often you are bodyboarding and how long you are in the water.
The other factor to consider is the temperature of the water. In short if you think the wax layer is a bit thin or slick, then you should reapply.
I tend to reapply on the rails and nose regularly, particularly in the summer as the sun gets hot and the water warms up. Both of these things mean the wax will be coming off your bodyboard very quickly. If you are bodyboarding in late autumn or late spring for example, you may not need to reapply often.
How to Look After Your Wax
Always lie your bodyboard with the deck down when you are not using it. Try to also keep the sand off the deck as it will get into the wax and can cause a rash or wear out your wetsuit.
Store your wax bars in a snap lock bag and keep it sand off. I keep my wax bars in the esky/ice bin when I’m at the beach to keep it from melting.
How to Remove Wax From A Bodyboard?
The best way to get wax off your bodyboard is using hot water. If you have a thick layer along the rails and nose, it’s a good idea to use a surf comb to get some off first.
I would advise that you do this outside as the wax can get quite messy when it melts and is hard to get out of carpet and can leave stains.
Don’t use boiling water as this can damage and distort the bodyboard itself but heat water up until its almost too hot to touch then pour it over the wax on the deck so it starts to melt.
Use your surf comb, a plastic card or a tool with a thin flat surface to scrape the wax away initially then use a warm wet cloth to finish the job.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, they are the same although some companies are starting to create specific formulas for bodyboards.
Wax is essentially natural or synthetic wax of varying firmness. It can be made with paraffin, beeswax, petroleum jelly, coconut oil, amongst other things.
Wax is applied to the bodyboard to give you grip. As you’re trying to catch a wave, you can sometimes slip off or perhaps you weren’t able to hold onto the nose and rails properly. By applying some wax onto the problem areas, it stops you from sliding off.
If you don’t have access to hot water to remove the wax, you can use either your beach towel or some hot sand. The idea is to warm up the wax so that you can scrape it off. Rubbing your towel or hot sand against the wax creates friction and will eventually soften it. Grab a card out of your wallet and use it to scrape off the wax.
All surf shops will stock surf wax. You may even be able to grab some in convenience store if you’re in a surf town. Doesn’t hurt to grab an extra block so that you always have one on hand.
Don’t wait until you’re a better bodyboarder before you feel that you should be using it. In fact, you need it more as a beginner. That way you can concentrate on learning the technique instead of spending all your time trying to stay on your bodyboard.
Waxing your bodyboard is such a simple and cost-effective way to improve your skills that it doesn’t make sense not to use it.
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We’re Andrew & Amy and we are a small blended family that love to bodyboard! We’re here to share everything we know to help you with your bodyboarding adventure as a beginner, with your family or if you’re transitioning onto intermediate level. Let’s go!