Best Surfboard Wax: A simple buyer’s guide

Last updated on: January 30, 2023
Buyer's Guide To The Best Surf Wax For Your Board

Surfboard Wax explained

Back in the early days of surfing, new surfboards were shiny, gleaming works of art, and they were sanded and polished to a fine finish. Unfortunately, this left these works of art incredibly slippery, and surfers discovered that melting a candle and letting the wax drip off helped prevent slipping.

Over the years, this candle wax was perfected to become an essential element of surfing. Every surfer invested in a few bars of surfboard wax whenever needed.

The surfing wax of today is easy to put onto your surfboard and easy to take off. It comes in many different forms, from cold water wax to tropical wax and everything in between. Many people use traction pads on their board, but very few people use only traction. It is usually a mix of traction for your back foot and wax for your front foot. The front grip isn’t that cool, but many aerial pundits choose it instead of surf wax for extra traction.

There are many different types of surf wax, and it is a hotly contested market, but we will take a closer look at what is the best surf wax shortly.

Warm vs. Cold Water Surf Wax

Surfboard wax is categorized according to the temperature of the water that you surf in. As the water gets colder, your wax will get harder along with the temperature drop of the water. To combat this, surf wax manufacturers have made cold water surf wax slightly softer to compensate for this.

Similarly, when the water is extremely warm when surfing in the tropics or in Indonesia, where the water can get to 82 °F (28°C), the wax tends to go softer with the warmth. To compensate for this, surfboard wax manufacturers make warm water wax slightly harder than the others to not get too soft and shift underfoot.

People who surf in the Arctic Circle, for example, will need the softest wax possible. This will ensure that the wax stays tacky in water temperates that can get down to the low single figures. If the water is 43-45°F (6-7°C), when you’re going down for a surf, and there is snow on the ground, you will need soft surf wax.

When you are in the tropics, however, and surfing in your boardshorts or bikini all day long in the blazing sun, then your wax needs to be firmer. This ensures, to makes sure that it doesn’t dislodge when you stand on it or move underneath you because the water has made it so pliable. Tropical or warm water wax is the hardest wax you can buy, and it stays tacky in bath-warm water.

Surf Wax Water Temperature Chart

Surf Wax TypeWater Temperature
Base CoatApplied in all temperatures
Cold 58°F & Below (14°C & Below)
Cool58°F - 68°F (14°C -20°C)
Warm 68°F - 75°F (20°C -24°C)
Tropical75°F & Above (24°C & Above)

Basecoat Surf Wax And Top Coat Wax

The time has come for you to go surfing on that new board. But, first, you need to wax it and get ready to go surfing. Many people use a base coat before using a top coat, the coat on which you stand.

The surf wax base coat is the first coat of wax that you put onto your board to remove the basic slippiness of the board. The base coast is usually a medium kind of wax, not cold water and not tropical, that goes across the entire waxable area.

When you put a top coat on, it sticks to the base coat. The top coat is more specific temperature-wise as it is the wax that you will be standing on.

Your base coat application needs to be thin, and it is usually just a light application. However, the top coat needs to be more specific. For example, some people like to make humps, while others just wax up and let the application process make the bumps for them. You then apply a wax comb to your top coat, making it that much tackier.

The 7 Best Surf Wax Brands To Choose From

There are so many good wax brands out there that it does come down to your personal choice. However, here are a few surfboard wax brands that we really like.

Sticky Bumps surf wax has a wide selection of wax, and it is tacky on first application and stays tacky. It is one of the easier waxes to make humps out of, and it seems to last a long time. Sticky Bumps also has an excellent range of accessories.

The original wax after candles, Mr Zogs, has been around forever – since 1972 to be exact. They have consistently evolved their wax with the times, brought out innovative formulas, and tried new versions. They also have some accessories, and they have wax for every different temperature there is out there. The smell of coconut sex wax was part of every grom’s life in the ’80s and ’90s.

Bubble gum wax comes in three formats, premium, original, and Rob Machado organic. It is a famous wax brand and has also been around for a long time since 1984 actually.

Bubble Gum marketing wax is all about the colour and the scent, making it unique in the world of surfboard wax. They also have a fantastic range of accessories, including scented candles for the home and a popular apparel range.

Bubble Gum is popular because it is grippy and stays grippy forever.

FCS is a brand known for its high-quality surfboard accessories. It is one of our go-to brands when it comes to leashes and surfboard fins and their surf wax lives up to the company’s reputation.

The FCS Surf Wax is developed with the focus on ultimate tackiness and high-quality bead building for the best grip. Their selection includes a base coat, cold- cool- warm- and tropical surf wax. The FCS Surf Wax gets sold at a really fair price point of 3$. (3€)

If you’re an Aussie, you probably know Mrs. Palmers. It is a well-known brand in Australia and has gained huge popularity among surfers due to its high quality and good grip.

Mrs Palmers was founded back in 1988 and later sold to Billabong in 2004. Mrs Palmers still don’t have a website to this day, but you can find their products at any surf stores near you (or online).

The latest entry to the wax party, Fu Wax, has something about it that has attracted some of the top surfers in the world. It has also been around for a long time, but it only became one of the top-rated waxes recently. Top professional surfers love Fu Wax, and for a while, it was pretty hard to get any of it, as it kept on selling out. It is extra tacky and stays grippy forever, never smoothing out or becoming slippery over time.

BCN Wax is a great option for the European surfer, as it is a brand from Barcelona, Spain.

The company is completely focused around surf wax and offer some high-quality products, well designed to imitate the famous cobblestones from the streets of Barcelona.

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