Should I Wax My Bodyboard? When and Where to Wax


Should you wax your bodyboard?

Is your new bodyboard slippery? That’s because you need to wax your board before you go out.

You should wax your bodyboard before the first use and whenever you find that the wax has rubbed off. The foam gets very slippery when it’s wet and you will slip off the board if you don’t use wax.  

Now let’s take a look at the specifics. You’ll learn where to apply the wax, how to choose the right wax and more…

Where to Apply Wax to Your Board

Here are the areas where you should apply wax to your bodyboard. Basically, you should wax anywhere your body will frequently touch the board. This includes small areas on the bottom of the nose.

These diagrams will make it easier to understand where to wax your board. The areas that you wax can also differ slightly, depending on how you ride your board.

Waxing the Bottom of a Bodyboard

If you are going to ride prone or dropknee, you should wax the bottom of a bodyboard. But not the entire bottom.

Just in the corners of the nose where your fingertips come in contact with the bottom. The shaded portion in this picture shows where to apply the wax.

Where to wax bottom of bodyboard

Waxing for Prone Riding

Now let’s flip the board over and wax the top or the deck.

Prone riding is when you ride your board on your stomach.

For prone riders it’s important to wax the top corners of the board, so you have a good grip on the board. Then wax the middle of the board, where you body will go.

Some online tutorials I’ve seen say not to wax the middle. They have obviously never been on a bodyboard.

Also put some wax where your elbows naturally land when gripping the front corners of the board. Finally, put a little wax on the side edges of the board, where your other hand naturally grabs. 

As you can see from this diagram, it doesn’t have to look pretty. Whatever gets the job done.

Wax on top of bodyboard prone

Waxing for Dropknee Riding

If you are primarily going to ride dropknee, then you should wax your board a little differently. You should still wax the top corners of the board because you will be gripping there quite a bit.

However, you will primarily need wax only where your front fin and knee/leg are going to be on the board. You can also put a little wax between the two areas to give you a little more grip while padding.

This is how the top of the wax would look for a regular foot (left foot forward) rider. If you are a goofy footer (right foot forward), then just switch the areas where you apply wax, so they correspond with where your front foot and knee/leg will land.

Top of bodyboard wax dropknee

Waxing for Standup Riding

Finally if you are only going to be riding standup, then you’ll primarily need wax in the center of the board, where your body and feet will be in contact with the board.

You should also put some wax on the sides, where you will grip the board, before standing up.

It’s not necessary to put wax on the bottom of the board, because you won’t be grabbing that area.

Top of bodyboard wax standup

When in Doubt…

If you don’t know how you will be riding your board yet, then just put wax everywhere on the top of the board. Most of the first coat will rub off anyway, so you will have a chance to try out different things.

How to Choose the Right Wax

You don’t need bodyboard-specific wax. Bodyboarders use regular surf wax.

Anyone who tells you different is probably trying to sell you overpriced wax. 😉

However what you do need to consider is the temperature of the water that you will be bodyboarding in.

There are basically two types of wax:

  1. Warm water wax (Above 70° F / 20° C )
  2. Cold water wax (Below 70° F / 20° C)

The various wax manufacturers have different formulas and may target a narrower range of water temperatures. But it’s not necessary to get it exactly perfect.

Keep it simple…is the water warm or cold? 

If you use warm water wax in cold water, it will be more slippery because the wax will get really hard. Using cold water wax in warm water will melt the wax and you’ll lose traction because the wax will rub off quickly.

Beyond that, the brand doesn’t really matter that much. You can see my favorite wax brand on the recommended products page.

How to Wax Your Board for the First Time

When you wax your board for the first time, put on two light coats of wax, in the areas shown at the top of this page. Since the surface of the foam will be more slippery when the board is new, it will need a little more wax than usual.

After the wax has had a chance to bond with the surface of the board, you won’t need as much wax.

How Frequently Should You Wax?

Bodyboards generally only need to be waxed every other time you go out. Wax sticks to bodyboards better, so you don’t have to wax as often, compared to surfboards.

But if you have a new board, you should probably wax every time, for the first few sessions.

It will need a little extra wax in the beginning.

Can You Over-Wax a Bodyboard?

Oh yeah you can.

Remember, more is not better.

There should only be a thin layer of wax on the bodyboard. Too much wax will just create a mess and get stuck on your car, clothes and hands. 

Bodyboards don’t need a ton of wax, like some surfboards. Keep it light and you’ll be just fine.

Is a Base Coat Necessary on a Bodyboard?

No, you don’t need a wax base coat on a bodyboard. The surface of the foam on a bodyboard is rough enough that the wax will stick to it easily.

The only time you should use a wax base coat is on fiberglass or epoxy surfboard. The surface of those boards is so smooth that sometimes regular wax has a hard time sticking to the board.

So the base coat acts as an intermediate layer between the surfboard and the surf wax.

How to Remove Wax From a Bodyboard

As you have seen, waxing a bodyboard is pretty straightforward. However, removing wax from a board can be a little trickier.

Bodyboarders remove wax from a board if they want to apply a different type of wax, or if they are going to sell the board and want to make it look pretty.

The best way to remove wax is to use a hair dryer.

Some sites recommend using hot water, but that’s not a good idea. It’s harder to control the temperature of the board’s surface with hot water.

Don’t get too close to the board with the hair dryer, if you haven’t done this before.

If the surface of the board gets too hot, the surface material will start to separate from the core of the board and form air bubbles. This degrades the integrity of the board and makes it more likely that the board will crease or get waterlogged.

So start slow.

Carefully move the hair dryer closer to the board until you notice that the wax is starting to melt.

Then wipe off the wax with an old rag.

You may not be able to get all of the wax off because some of it can bond to the deck material over time. It just depends on what the board is made out of and how long the wax has been there.

All of the wax probably won’t come off in one try. You’ll most likely have to repeat the process a couple of times to get all of it off.

Final Thoughts on Waxing a Bodyboard

Waxing a bodyboard is essential to enjoying your surf session. Sliding off your board is really frustrating. 

…and in bigger surf, it can be downright dangerous. 

I know a guy who didn’t use wax on his bodyboard and went out in Sandy Beach shorebreak, and slid face first into the sand. When we saw him the next day, his nose and forehead were all messed up.

He was like that for a few weeks. We felt bad for the guy.

Not all situations will have such severe consequences, obviously. But it pays to be prepared to have the best session possible.

Wax is not expensive, so keep a couple of bars handy.

Hugh Kimura

I grew up in Hawaii and I've been surfing since I was 9 years old. Since then, I've learned to ride all types of boards from bodyboards to standup paddle boards. I started Stoketopia to share the stoke of being in the water.

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