As a beginner surfer, you still have to learn everything—the surfing itself, but also the use of equipment and tools. A useful tool to use as a surfer is the wax comb. But what is a surf wax comb used for?
A surf wax comb is a tool used to remove surfboard wax from a surfboard. A wax comb has a long sharp edge, a short sharp edge, and an edge with jagged edges. These can be used to scrape excess wax from your surfboard.
You now know what a surf wax comb is used for, but it's also important to know when and how to use it. You'll find out in this article!
A surfboard wax comb does exactly what you think it does; it ‘combs’ the leftover wax from the top of your surfboard.
Each time you go out for a surfing session, you have to apply a layer of surf wax to the top of your surfboard to make your board sticky enough to ride the waves, but over time these layers of wax start to add up.
This is where a wax comb comes into play, as surfers use this useful tool to easily remove the wax from your board.
Wax is quite a sticky substance, which is perfect when you need it, but horrible when you want to get rid of it.
Clearing your board of excess surf wax has long been a nightmare job for many surfers, but the introduction of the wax comb has made this annoying task a little more doable.
The wax comb is a solid piece of plastic with a jagged edge and a sharp edge; by using both edges, we can clear our board of wax in no time, without much effort.
So, why use a wax comb on a surfboard?
Now that we know what a wax comb is and what it does, it is time to look at why we even want to clear our board of excess wax.
As we mentioned before, wax layers can quickly pile up, which has several disadvantages for your surfing.
Firstly, a purely cosmetic problem, the top layers of wax can quickly adopt a dirty brown color caused by your feet, the sand, and the seawater. Especially on white surfboards, this can look rather unpleasant.
Besides the cosmetics, this dirty top layer of wax is also rather unhygienic.
Another problem with having too much wax applied on your board is the performance of your wax.
When you apply too many layers, at some point, the wax will start to become less effective, as the layers themselves will begin to move.
To avoid the previously mentioned issues, it is recommended to use a wax comb on your surfboard every once in a while.
As we have seen in the previous paragraph, a wax comb has many advantages, but it is not an absolutely necessary tool for your surfing.
You can be a great surfer and maintain your boards perfectly well without a wax comb.
As you can imagine, though, using a wax comb can save you a lot of time, effort, and primarily frustration when it comes to removing wax from your surfboard.
There are plenty of other tools you can use instead of a wax comb, but more on that later.
Of course, using other tools not meant for the job will not perform nearly as well as a purpose-made wax comb, but they will do the job nonetheless.
Contrary to what some people say, it is not necessary to comb your board after every couple of sessions; once every couple of months should do the job just fine, so a wax comb isn’t a tool you’ll be using all too often in your surfing career.
If you really need to clear your board of all wax, there is also a substance known as ‘wax remover’ available in surf shops. This acidic substance will burn off the excess wax without needing a wax comb.
Since the sport of surfing has such a connected community, you probably don’t even need to own your own wax comb to use one, as your local surf shop or another surfer will likely be able to lend you one without hesitation.
As I’ve mentioned, plenty of household items can be used as solid alternatives to a wax comb. Let’s look at a few examples.
First, any plastic card, such as a bank card or driver's license, will do. Be sure to use a strong card, as the wax can put up quite a bit of resistance, and you might break a flexible card.
Also, remember that the card you use will get quite dirty, so using a driver’s license or debit card might not be the best idea.
Carefully scrape off the excess wax with the card and then clean the card.
If you don’t want to risk damaging your important items, kitchen utensils such as a spatula will also do the job. An iron spatula is best since it is a little sharp and stronger than its plastic counterpart.
If you own a soft top board, be careful with sharp objects, as the foam on top of your board is easily damaged.
If you own a hard top, on the other hand, use the sharpest object you can find, as this will make your life a lot easier when cutting your way through the layers of wax.
If you can’t find a spatula, a knife can also work; depending on the board you have, it might be better to use the blunt side of the blade to prevent unwanted damage.
Regardless of your tool, using a blow dryer to melt the wax is a life-saving trick when cleaning your board.
Gently blow the hot air over your board until the wax goes from rock solid to slightly mouldable, and then proceed to scrape it off using your tool of choice.
This will make it a lot easier to clean the wax, and the result will be much cleaner.
Even if you do own a wax comb, using a blow dryer alongside is still the recommended way to go.
Once again, you should be careful not to damage your board, especially soft tops, so don’t place the blow dryer too close to the board and stick to a low setting for the best results.
Finally, let’s take a closer look at how to actually use a surf wax comb to clean the wax from your surfboard.
You’ll notice that your wax comb has three main sides, a long sharp side, a short sharp side, and a side with jagged edges.
The use of a wax comb is straightforward and self-explanatory.
The long sharp side is used to scrape most of the wax from the top of your board. Using simple scraping motions, preferably long scrapes at a time, you will see most wax come off in no time.
The short sharp edge can be used for the more precise parts of your board, such as your board's rails, nose, and tail. The same motion of long scrapes should be used here.
If you face a particularly sticky piece of wax, you can use the jagged edge to remove it from your board.
After each scrape, you should throw the excess wax in the bin, or at least clear it from your comb, as too much wax can impact your comb’s performance.
If you use the previously mentioned blow dryer technique, using just the two sharp sides should be more than sufficient to properly rid your board of all wax.
All in all, a surf wax comb is an incredibly useful tool in a surfer’s arsenal. It is used to clear the build-up of excess wax on your surfboards to keep things clean and performing well.
A wax comb isn’t necessary, as many other everyday tools such as a spatula or a knife can be used, but it sure does make your life a lot easier.
Using long scraping motions and a blow dryer, you should have your board cleaned up in no time!