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If you’re a keen surfer, then you’ll already know that you can wax your board to increase traction and secure your footing.
However, those who are new to paddle boarding might be wondering: should you wax a paddle board?
In this article, I cover some key information you need to know about wax, so you can make an informed decision when it comes to taking your paddle board out on the water!
So, let’s get started.
Wax is a handy way of providing your board with more grip, and has been used by surfers for years!
That being said, you’re probably thinking that wax would surely be useful to use on a stand-up paddle board too, right?
Well, the answer is subject to change. Whether you wax your paddle board will depend on the type of paddle board that you have as well as the level of activity!
Generally speaking, making your paddle board more grippy can be achieved in three different ways. So, what grip helps you to stay on your paddle board?
Paddle-board grip options
- Built-in traction pad. A lot of paddle boards come with a handy traction pad that has already been fixed to the board.
- Adhesive traction pad. If you have a standard paddle board, a great way to make your board more grippy is to get your hands on an adhesive traction pad.
- Wax. Lastly, if you’d rather a board without a traction pad, then wax is also a good option.
Paddle boards that you should avoid waxing include:
- Paddle boards with built-in traction pads. There’s absolutely no need to wax these types of paddle boards, as the textured pads are grippy enough without wax.
- PVC inflatable paddle boards. Inflatable paddle boards tend to have a textured surface that is super grippy anyway, so waxing is futile.
- Yoga boards that have a yoga mat on top of them.
Hard-topped boards without traction pads are well served by a good waxing as they have a smooth surface that is similar to a surfboard and is essentially impossible to stand up on without wax as the surface is much too slippery.
However, when it comes to waxing soft boards or foam boards, very little is needed to give the traction that you’re looking for. This simply comes down to the fact that inflatable paddle boards and foam paddle boards have a texture that you can already stand up on comfortably whilst you’re out on the water.
Wax, in a sense, glues your feet to an otherwise slippery board. Even the most experienced individuals benefit from wax, as it aids you in keeping your feet in place when you’re stood up on the board.
Another big consideration when deciding whether to wax your paddle board, is the level of activity that you intend to be doing. As paddle boards are fairly versatile, the level of activity can range depending on the conditions of the water that you’re out on.
For instance, for a more experienced stand-up paddler who may want to spend their time in the sea tackling large waves in the swell, they’re naturally going to want more grip. However, on the other hand, if you are a beginner and just want a leisurely paddle down a calm river or on a lake, you won’t require as much grip.
So, how do you wax your board?
First off, you need to consider where you are going to stand on the board. For the majority of people, you will only be standing on the middle third of the board. Generally speaking, you’ll be far less likely to use either end of the board as this could unbalance you, so you’ll primarily remain in the middle.
You can use a base coat, and a top coat to ensure that the wax stays in position for longer. When it comes to waxing techniques, there are generally two options.
Firstly, you can move the wax in a circular motion, evenly covering the central third of the board.
Alternatively, for a more professional finish, draw diagonal lines across the board going in one direction, and then back over in the opposite direction to create a crisscross pattern. This simply ensures that your wax is more uniform.
However, how you wax your board is totally up to personal preference. It is also worth mentioning that you can extend the wax coating across the entire board as opposed to just the middle third, the option is up to you and what works best for your technique as you’re learning to paddle board.
To summarise: Yes, you can wax a paddle board, but whether you’ll need to will depend on the board that you’re using and the level of activity that you’ll be doing!
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I’m an Colorado native, who learned to surf in the Pacific Northwest, and SW Canada. I live inland near the mountains now, and love to get out on my SUP. It’s weird, but I love windy, choppy days as no-one is out and I like the challenge.