Best Wax for Surfboards: Temperature, Accessories & Questions

by Candice Land
candi and ollie on campeche beach

No one is immune to the slippery risk of not applying surf wax before paddling out. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a hopeful rookie, there’s a good chance that you’ve jumped up on your board and slipped right off at some point.

However, more frustrating than knowing you’ve neglected an important step is to follow the correct procedure and still bail hard. A stick of surf wax is the perfect surfing gift to yourself or a loved one who loves the ocean, making sure that you stay on your board. Here’s a guide to the best wax for surfboards.

ollie waxing his surfboard

Surf wax brands are a dime a dozen, but there are only a select few that make us proud. Depending on which surf haven you’re visiting there may be local brands that we encourage you to support, but the following products are some of the best wax for surfboards.

* Just to let you know that this article contains affiliate links. If you click on them we might receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

Sticky Bumps: Cold Water Wax

Being based in Cape Town, we’re both well acquainted with the various gear that’s needed to take advantage of the winter swell. When you can’t feel your feet (even with booties on) then your choice of wax becomes even more essential.

Sticky Bumps cold water wax has got stellar reviews and are known for their innovative manufacturing. In fact, they are the first traction-added wax that branched off from the use of paraffin-based wax. The product is easy to apply and offers all the grip with no slip.

Side note: Sticky Bumps isn’t readily available in South Africa and so our daily go-to is Mrs Palmers cold water wax. The wax lasts long, is affordable, and promises hours of endless fun. However, I have noticed that my wetsuit gets sticky in certain areas where my body moves around a lot (I do a lot of paddling and significantly less standing).

Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax: Cool Water Wax

The indulgent coconut scent of Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax is enough to pique your interest, and the excellent stickiness and affordable price seal the deal. The brand’s authority in the surf wax market is well-deserved and we can highly recommend Mr. Zog’s as one of the best cool water wax for surfboards.

Unlike many other cold and cool water waxes, you won’t end up with an arm on fire trying to transfer the sticky to your board, giving you more energy to paddle. As an added bonus, the wax can be used as both a base coat and a topcoat.

Fu Wax: Tropical Water Wax

Fu Wax is the Brazilian wax appropriate for all ages. We came across Fu Wax while living in Rio de Janeiro and in many ways, it ruined us as no other brand can live up to its performance.

Not only does Fu Wax stick like no other wax around, but it also smells incredible. The wax is soft enough to apply easily and feel good under your feet, but not so soft that it slides off your board after the first few get-ups.

If you’re lucky enough to be surfing topless in tropical waters then Fu Wax is our top recommendation!

Read more about surfing in Rio de Janeiro here.

Sticky Bumps: Warm Water Wax

Sticky Bumps features twice on this list – and for good reason. There’s little as annoying as wax that melts in the warm water, leaving your board slippery and your bare chest (or rashie) covered in questionable white clumps.

The unique bumps of wax that form on your board after using Sticky Bumps warm water wax hold their firm shape for a long time and give you the extra grip needed for performance. The only reason that you’ll need to return to shore is to rehydrate or give your body a rest.

Mrs Palmers Surf Wax: Base Coat Wax

The base coat is often overlooked but can make a world of difference to the stickiness of your board and how far your topcoat can go. We use Mrs Palmers base coat and the single stick has lasted us for ages.

As with most base coats, you need to use a bit of elbow grease to properly apply the wax but it’s easy enough to do and holds nicely.

variety of surf wax

Extra Surf Wax Accessories

You can get away with a simple stick of wax but there are other accessories that can make your life a lot easier.

Wax Bag

I’d go as far as saying that a wax bag (or wax box) is essential if you want to keep the rest of your surfing gear in tip-top shape. When wax rubs off on wetsuits, leashes, and other equipment it can be super frustrating.

A wax bag is unobtrusive and effective, making sure that the wax has a special place to call home. This makes it easy to find and the rest of your belongings wax-free.

Wax Comb

Once you’ve applied wax a good couple of times to your board you’ll need to clean off the old wax that had done its time or scruff up the existing wax to become less slippery. A wax comb fits perfectly in a wax bag and can have a big impact on your surf. Especially if you don’t have new wax to apply and can get away with roughing up the current wax on your board.

These wax combs by Sticky Bumps have a straight edge for scraping and a jagged edge for creating texture. They also come in a variety of different colors.


Frequently Asked Questions and Tips

Much like many other sports, the athlete is only as good as his tools and how he uses them. You may have purchased your surfboard wax but that’s only half the job done. Here are frequently asked questions on how to make the most of the nifty stick of wax.

candi surfing in rio

When Should I Wax My Surfboard?

There’s a common misconception that a board needs to be waxed before every session. This is a particularly popular habit among those of us that are OCD (pointing a finger at myself here). In reality, only a light coat of wax is needed before hitting the water – if at all.

It all boils down to applying the first coat correctly. From here, you’ll only need to wax your board if you feel that you are losing traction. The frequency of your surfing will also have an impact on how often you need to wax your board.

Where Should I Wax My Surfboard?

First and foremost – the area that you place your feet. This may seem like a no-brainer but you’d be surprised by how much of the board’s real estate your feet make contact with.

If you have a longboard, you may find yourself dancing to the front to hang ten. If you ride a shortboard then a steep get-up may force you to hunker down in a slightly different location. To be safe, we make sure that there’s a thin layer of wax on the whole board, with a more generous application where your feet usually go.

When Should I Remove My Wax?

You’ll notice that the wax on your board starts to lose traction, even after applying a new layer. While a wax comb can serve as a temporary solution, it may be in your best interest to remove all wax and freshly reapply it.

Do You Wax Foam Surfboards?

Short answer: no. Most foam boards are built with different materials that have more traction. However, if you’re feeling a bit wobbly on your feet then a little wax won’t hurt.

Ipanema beach

Surf Wax: The Unsung Hero of Shredding

You can do all the surfing training that you want, but without a well-prepared board, you’re selling yourself short. Investing in one of the best wax for surfboards depending on the water you’re in can make or break your session.

Each of the wax brands on this list come highly recommended by both ourselves and fellow surfers. If you have any local brands that are worthy of a shout out – please let us know by sending us a DM on Instagram!

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