Do You Wax The Top Or Bottom Of A Surfboard? (Find Out Now)

Board wax is used in many sports where boards are used, such as surfing or snowboarding. The purpose of this wax differs immensely between various sports, though. That is why we’ll take a closer look at how to apply wax when it comes to surfing. So, do you wax the top or bottom of a surfboard?

Surf wax should only be applied to the topside of your surfboard. It depends on the type of surfboard, whether you need to wax the entire top or just a section. The bottom of a surfboard should be free of wax, as this can negatively affect performance.

You now know that only the top of a surfboard should be waxed, but why is this the case, and what area should I wax per type of surfboard? Find out the answers to all these questions in this article!

Do You Put Wax on The Top or Bottom of a Surfboard?

Wax is applied on the top of the surfboard and not on the bottom. This is due to the purpose the wax serves when it comes to surfing.

In surfing, wax is used to make your board stickier to prevent your feet from slipping away while you’re riding the waves.

Now it should be easy to understand why the wax should be applied to the top of the board rather than the bottom.

Surfing wax is an essential part of surfing and has been throughout surfing’s history. Surfboards are inherently incredibly slippery, which is a problematic property when riding waves.

This is why wax was invented to create a grippy layer to stand on and grip your board, hence why wax is applied to the top of the board rather than the bottom.

Where Do You Put Wax on a Surfboard?

Now that we have concluded on which side of the board the wax should go, it is time to dive into a little more detail on applying the wax.

Should you wax the entire top side of your board? Or just a specific area?

Wax should be applied only where your hands or feet come in contact with your board.

In general, this means that you have to wax the majority of your board, with the exception of the nose or the tail, if you choose to use a tail pad or ride a longer board.

If you want to, you can also wax your rails and the sides of your board, as you’ll be gripping this for duck dives or other maneuvers when navigating the waves.

There is no real right or wrong answer when it comes to where to put wax on your surfboard, as a lot of it depends on your personal surfing style and the board you use.

If you use a longer board and you know you only stand in the middle and the front of your board, there is no point in waxing the rear of your board, but if you prefer a shortboard to do radical tricks with, you’re better off waxing a little more than you might think. 

The golden rule when it comes to applying wax on your surfboard is better safe than sorry.

Nothing is worse than having a poor session as you slide everywhere on your board, wishing you’d paid more attention to waxing your board before the session.

Therefore you should always apply a little more wax than you think is necessary just to be sure!

Why Do You Only Wax The Top of a Surfboard?

We have now discovered that we should only wax the top of our surfboard, but why is this?

We already briefly looked at the reasoning behind this, but let’s take a closer look at how this practice came into existence.

Back in the early beginnings of surfing, people used logs from fallen trees as boards; this rough surface provided plenty of grip for the early pioneers of surfing to stand on without any issues.

Later, however, as technology advanced and surfing became more popular, this changed. Boards were no longer made from raw logs; they were being shaped into smooth aerodynamic boards.

With this increase in aerodynamic performance came a problem; the boards became slippery, too slippery to stand on.

As a solution to this issue, wax was invented; putting a sticky substance on the slippery boards solved the issue of a lack of grip.

Wax has come a long way since it was first used back in the early days of surfing development, and now it has become second nature to every surfer to apply wax to the top of their surfboard to make it stickier.

There have been experiments in the past with waxing the bottom of a surfboard, but this didn't have much of an effect due to the low friction nature of water.

This is why we only wax the top of a surfboard!

What if You Apply Wax to The Bottom of Your Surfboard?

I think the point should be clear by now, that wax should be applied to the top of your surfboard.

But let’s say you got confused and made the classic mistake; you accidentally applied the wax to the bottom of your board.

What to do next? Is your board ruined? How will it affect your surfing performance?

If you apply the wax on the wrong side of your board and choose to go surfing, you shouldn’t notice too much when you’re a beginner surfer.

As an advanced surfer, it might feel a little bit slower due to the aerodynamic chaos caused by the wax being applied on the wrong side of the board.

Because you made a mistake and applied the wax on the bottom instead of the top, you will find that the top of your board is very slippery and difficult to stay on your feet.

If you accidentally applied wax to the wrong side of your board, don’t throw it out just yet!

Use a surf wax comb, scraper, or any other object that will do the job, and gently scrape the wax from the bottom of the board. You can use a blow drier to melt the wax if you have a hard time with this.

Once you cleared the wax and applied it to the right side, you should be good to go!


All in all, wax should be applied to the top side of your surfboard as it helps increase your board's grip.

It has been this way since the dawn of surfing, and it is an opposing concept to many other board sports such as snowboarding.

If you do apply wax to the bottom of your board, it is best to scrape it off and reapply it on the right side to fix the issue!

Marcus Campbell

Surfing is the biggest passion in my life. Transferring my knowledge about surfing to others is what I love doing most! I do this through my own surf school and through my articles on this website. This is how I hope to get everyone excited about this amazing sport!
July 22, 2022
Published: July 22, 2022