Snowboard Waxing Guide

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by vlad vlad

July 5, 2019

How to wax your snowboard

Whether you are a beginner or an expert boarder investing in maintenance gear, waxing is essential for a smooth and quick glide. Did you know that waxing can even increase the lifespan of your board? For enjoying these benefits, it is essential to know how to wax a snowboard. Read on…

Why It Is Vital to Wax Your Snowboard?

There are two straightforward reasons that justify waxing a snowboard. First is a smooth and swift riding experience. When a snowboard comes in contact with the snow or ice, a thin sheet of water is formed.

When the snowboard surface has wax, that wax facilitates a smooth and more efficient glide on the snow, which simply accelerates your ride. At the same time, the waxed base also contributes to suppleness due to which it becomes simpler to make sharper turns.

A better glide on the snowy surface means reduced time in being stuck in flat sections. Waxing also reduces the risk of one foot. If you wax regularly, say once a week, the probability of riding faster will always be high for the upcoming ride.

The second reason is board protection. When you strike on a rough icy surface, a waxed surface works like a small buffer for keeping scratches at bay. The applied wax also keeps dryness and cracking away by playing the role of a lubricant. The pores of the P-tex base will now not dry up.

Waxing the snowboard regularly will also retain its fresh look. Thus, a freshly waxed board is an essential factor for a joyful and safe ride on the slopes.

Prerequisites: Right Wax and Prepared Board

Before you even look for the procedure of how to wax a snowboard, there are two vital tasks to perform. First is selecting the right wax for your snowboard and second is preparing the snowboard for waxing.

Selecting the Wax

It is essential to select the wax that is suitable considering the weather/temperature in which you will be riding. The destination’s temperature can be hot, warm, freezing, or cold.

So, if it is cold, cold wax is what you need. You cannot apply hot wax on a snowboard that will be used in hot weather. A cold wax will facilitate the board to move more rapidly in cold riding conditions than the wax meant for warm weather.

If you are unsure of the temperature or weather conditions, it is wise to choose an all-temperature wax. Here are the types of waxes to consider:

  • Temperature-specific: Are designed to function in outdoors and the supported temperature range is revealed on the packaging. Most waxes belong to this category and are applied using a snowboard-specific waxing iron. In case of cusp temperatures, consider using a mix of two distinct waxes, for example, one for below freezing temperature and one for above freezing temperature. To come to the right wax, you may have to experiment using different waxes.
  • Universal: Are meant for decent functioning in almost all temperatures. Choose it if you are a recreational user who needs quick outcomes with less hassle.
  • Rub-On: Are applied using a sponge instead of a waxing iron and are ideal for recreational users. You can use it for giving a final touch in between two riding sessions. Just keep in mind that they cannot replace a regular hot wax such as fluorocarbons.
  • Fluorocarbons: Are full of fluorocarbons due to which your board can glide faster. However, these hot waxes are costly. The more the fluorocarbons, the pricier the wax is. Waxes with high fluorocarbons, although expensive, are for racers looking for the greatest glide. Go for a low-fluorocarbon wax for stepping up in glide.
  • Hydrocarbons: Are basic waxes for recreational boarders and are highly economical.
  • Eco-friendly: Are made using soy and are bio-degradable. Consider this kind of wax for waxing when kids are with you.

Preparing the Snowboard for Waxing

Clean your snowboard by moving a cloth across it. Using a clean cloth dampened with a bit of alcohol, remove all dust or debris. Prior to applying the alcohol, clean the dirty-looking base using a wire brush and then let it dry for 20 minutes.

Finally, put the board at rest atop the vise that is designed to secure anything that is placed on it. In its absence, just make a few stacks of books.

Waxing the Snowboard

Now, you need to gather the tools and supplies for waxing, which are:

  • Wax scraper
  • Wax iron
  • Wax as per the predicted temperature
  • Cloth
  • Structuring brush

Once these are collected, perform the following steps:

  1. Remove or simply loosen all bindings using a screwdriver or else the temperature change can result in dimples warping.
  2. Remove any debris of old wax from the base to give way to the fresh wax for being absorbed quickly. To do so, simply use a cloth dampened with a non-flammable base cleaner.
  3. Melt the chosen wax. To do so, warm up the wax iron up to the temperature mentioned on its package and hold it against the wax until the melting starts at a slow drip onto the board. While dripping, move it over the edges and then crisscross to the center for having an even layer of wax.
  4. Iron the base by placing the iron on it and moving it in a round manner. Keep the iron moving to avoid heat damage.
  5. Allow cooling the base and wax for at least half an hour.
  6. After cooling, scrape off any surplus wax by moving the plastic scraper at the right angle from tip to tail. Continuous and long strokes are required for a leveled base.
  7. Look at the edges for any extra wax and remove it, as wax left on rails will make the edges feeble.
  8. Strongly brush the base using a structuring brush from tip to tail to remove any surplus wax and reveal the base’s structure for a swifter and faster glide.

Waxing Tips and Tricks

  • Apply only a little wax over the tip and tail, as it is difficult to scrape and they do not wear as much as the middle portion of the board. Applying a significant amount of wax will simply accumulate it as junk and will make the board appear dirty.
  • You should wax only in an airy space such as outside of your home.
  • The temperature of the iron in use should be such that it melts the wax, and does not smoke.
  • Choose the wax designed for the snow type on which you will be riding to get the best results.
  • You should brush, wax, and scrape from tip to tail.
  • Do not apply excess wax, as it can result in more friction and decelerate your speed on the mountain. Just a thin layer is fine.
  • Keep scraping until your fingernail does not extract any wax from across the base.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. How frequently should I apply wax to my snowboard?

A few users suggest waxing the board after three days of riding. However, practically, it depends on a few factors such as riding conditions, the base’s build, and riding frequency. Different snowboard bases require a different level of maintenance.

In terms of base construction, two types of base exist namely, sintered and extruded. The former base is more permeable due to which it soaks up more wax. Thus, when waxed properly, a sintered board will operate more swiftly and softer than an extruded base.

Nevertheless, a sintered base that is not waxed will function slower than an extruded base without wax. As a result, a sintered base would need more waxing care.

Some indicators that waxing is required are slowing down on snowy flat areas while riding, noticing white and dry base anytime, and giving a sticky feel on the mountain.

Q2. What kind of iron should I use?

It is better to use a snowboard-specific waxing iron than a clothing one. This is because the former one features a fully flat surface for dispersing the wax across the base more evenly than the latter one. In case you go with a clothing iron, ensure that you do not then use it on clothes!

The temperature range of wax irons is quite narrow and retains temperature more consistently than the clothing one. They do not emit more heat unlike a clothing iron, which is why the risk of damaging the base is nil. Wax is typically applied within the range of 120 to 140 degree Celsius.

Q3. What wax should I use?

Ideally, to start with, consider choosing an all-temperature wax. This is because it will do its job regardless of how the weather is. Alternatively, there are specific waxes available for different temperatures. However, this means you need to wax whenever there is a change in the weather.

Snowboard waxes will always have a label showing temperature rating. So, if you are going to a cooler nation, cold wax is the best bet. You can even go for an assorted wax if you travel frequently.

Conclusion

For waxing your snowboard, you start by choosing the right wax and preparing the board. Then, you remove the bindings, melt the wax and iron it evenly in the right way, and remove any extra wax.

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