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Snowboarding Wax: What Should Be Done!

by Alex Rider [January 29, 2007]

Have you ever been cruising your way down a mountain just enjoying the ride, the scenery and everything else, when suddenly along comes a nasty wide open expanse of flat. Do you ever wonder why it is that there always seems to be a whole load of people, some on the worst rental boards you can imagine, that manage to overtake you with ease, just managing to maintain enough speed to get over the ridge and carry on down the mountain? At times like these, which all of us have experienced, you may wonder what you are doing that is not quite right. Well, this darn unfortunate occurrence may be due to you either having poorly waxed your board, of worse still, not having waxed it at all! This brief article looks at the why's and how's of waxing your snowboard.

Why bother?!

Simply put, if you don't wax your board you are missing out on a smoother, faster and therefore more responsive/ enjoyable ride. Wax can make a huge difference, if done properly. Waxing is one of the easiest ways to improve board performance adding the benefits of less tiresome riding and extending the useful life of the base of you board. Waxing is best done in combination with other board enhancing procedures e.g. edge tuning.
How to wax your board

Equipment you need (buy or borrow it!):
- Waxing iron (flat with no steam holes!). An old iron works just as well - Plastic wax scraper to remove excess wax - Ideally a good, level bench with two level stands or clamps (plastic or metal) - Good range of waxes for different temperatures - Soft and a hard brush for polishing - Ideally a well ventilated dry room, or garage, or simply outside if you have to - Ideally an old sheet for the wax to drip on to

Waxing method

If you're lazy and slightly loaded, with time on your hands you could abort this article right now and wax your board the easy way, by getting someone else to do it. Today it is very easy to either post it or hand it to either a local snowboard shop or specialist service that can do a multitude of waxing and other board enhancement procedures.
If you feel the need to gain an extra, very useful, skill read on. Choose the appropriate wax for the temperature of the snow. Hard wax is typically used for cold conditions, is harder to administer and lasts least. Warmer conditions use softer wax that is far easier to put on you boards base. If unsure of what the temperature is outside you could use a general snowboarding wax suitable in most conditions.

Lay the board upside down, in a sturdy position. If there is old wax you would like to get rid of then use a wax removing solvent spray on the base. This stuff stinks, so use a very well ventilated area. Absorb and wipe off the wax with a cloth. Ideally this is done the night before the waxing proper. Removing the old wax is done mainly so that the correct wax for the conditions will end up on the board. Melt wax droplets with the iron in a snake fashion from tip to tail, slowly and methodically. Gaps of about 1-2cm between drops work fine for me. It helps to drip the wax off a corner of the wax block. Remember not to let the iron get so hot that smoke is produced.
After having applied the drops of wax you must next proceed in a wax on wax off style from tip to tail, nice and slowly with the iron. Spread a thin, almost un-noticeable layer across the board. A great method for embedding the wax evenly and deep into the base of the board is to use roughly circular, real slow motions from side to side and along the base. Don't spend too long on one area of the base or the base may get a little damaged.

Leave the base to cool for as long as possible e.g. 12 hours is fine. Cooling for only a few hours will work, if you have to. This gives the base time to really absorb and retain the wax through the resultant cooling/ hardening.
Next you must scrape the base of the board in a tip to tail direction only with a firm, straight plastic or metal edged scraper. Try to remove all wax to create a perfectly smooth flat base. This part is the most tiring, but also very important. To remove particularly stubborn sections of wax you can momentarily bend the scraper a little to focus your energies on a smaller area.
When the excess wax has been removed its then time to polish the base with a soft bush in the same fashion as when ironing. Afterwards sternly use the harsh brush (often have metal protrusions) in a tip to tail only fashion to add structure to the base.

There you go, its ready to ride!

Generally it's a good idea to wax your board once every 3 days of use. Waxing should be more frequent if you ride really hard or enjoy ice or hard-packed snow conditions. To reduce the board damaging effects of oxidation of the base from UV radiation/ other influences from the environment why not wax the base for transport and long snowless summers.

About the Author
If you want to know more information on night snowboarding visit http://www.snowboardwax.info/Snowboarding-At-Night.php .