Surfboard wax (also known as surf wax) is a formulation of natural and/or synthetic wax for application to the deck or surface of a surfboard, bodyboard, or skimboard, to keep the rider from slipping off the board when paddling or riding a wave. Early on in the history of surfing, believe it or not, surfers made do with using candle wax. Today surf wax is generally composed of a mixture of paraffin, beeswax or other hard waxes, petroleum jelly can also be added to create a softer wax.
The most famous surf wax is Sex Wax, due to the product name, promotional materials such as bumper stickers and t-shirts became extremely popular, even among those who knew nothing about surfing or ever ridden a surfboard. Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax was first produced by Fredrick Herzog III (Mr. Zog) and chemist Nate Skinner in 1972.
There are 5 different types of surf wax used and they vary depending on the water temperature you will be surfing in.
Basecoat surfboard wax is a special undercoat that is used under the other types of surf wax. So when you get a new surfboard, or strip all the old wax off your current board, the first thing you are going to apply is some base wax. The basecoat will help the surfboard wax stick to your board better, and will also make it an easier task to apply.
Cold Water Surf Wax for most surfing wax companies is defined as under 15° C, or under 60° F. Also as a general rule the colder the water, the more wax you will have to apply.
Cool Water Surf Wax falls into the temperature range of 14-19° C, or 58-68° F. This type of surf wax contains lower melting paraffin and more softeners.
Warm Water Surf Wax is a unique surf wax formula for water temperatures of 19-23° C, or 66-78° F. These surfboard waxes contain harder base paraffin thus increasing the melting temperature of the surfing wax. The waxes also contain less softener and also less sticky agents.
Tropical Water Surf Wax is for very balmy 23+° C, or greater than 75° F water temperature. In very warm water, you will be able to get away with rubbing on less wax.