A few seasons back, I spent a small fortune getting my Burton Custom X waxed. It seemed like I was always in need of one. Averaged out it cost me $30 a visit to the board shop, and I’m ashamed to mention how many times I went. In Colorado it’s more expensive, but in Minneapolis that’s half the cost of a lift ticket. I hated spending the money on it, but like an oil change what can you do? Why not do it yourself, because putting wax on a snowboard isn’t difficult, and you can do it better, as long as you follow my tips.
After watching a couple of youtube videos. I decided to take the plunge and do it myself. What could go wrong right? So I went to my local snowboard shop, and spoke with some of the Snowboard techs who worked there. After getting some awesome advice, I decided to purchase a kit of my own. It cost me $100, and it had everything I needed to get started. Since then I’ve only replaced a couple scrapers and purchased more wax. The iron has done a couple hundred board waxings.
You can purchase a kit from EVO.Com by clicking here. Most of what you’ll need is inside it, and you can start once you open it up. I’ll explain in greater detail what you need and how easy waxing a snowboard really is.
Take a deep breath, and read the entire post before you begin.
Do I Need To Wax My Snowboard?
Depending on the type of snowboard, you’ll need to wax every 5-10 times you go. Also I’d like to add that it doesn’t carry over into next season. The wax will dry out the snowboard during the summer, and you’ll need a fresh coat in the winter. For fun my friends and I throw a waxing party every October, in preparation for the coming of winter.
I tend to forget that most people don’t spend 50+ days on the mountain. Most of you will only need to do this once or twice a season. I have to wax my Snowboards every couple of weeks (depending on which board I’m riding the most on).
The main trick you’ll need to learn involves getting the feel of your snowboard. You’ll notice it slow down, and you’ll have less control if you’re in need of a wax. Skidded turns become a bit more difficult, and less precise. It’s hard to describe, but easy to feel.
A good rule of thumb for waxing a snowboard; if you can’t remember the last wax. You should probably get it done.
Should I Wax My New Snowboard?
Yes, although some people will say no, but I think that’s crazy. Snowboards come with a factory coat of wax on them, but it’s a really sucky coat. It doesn’t hold long and it’s just easier to wax it before you shred the mountain for the first time.
Personally, I always want my first run on my new snowboard to feel memorable. Why not make sure everything is in good working condition?
Do I Need Base Cleaner When Waxing A Snowboard?
Yes, Yes, A Thousand Time Yes. You ride over a ton of crap when shredding, if you put wax on the board without cleaning it, you’ll risk sucking some of that junk right into the board. That’ll make it harder to clean next time, and if it builds up, that could change the control surfaces. You don’t want that.
Dakine makes a good base cleaner, but other companies can make something just as awesome. I only added the picture so you know what to look for.
Getting Started; How To Wax A Snowboard
When you’re waxing a snowboard, find a way to lay it flat, bindings down at the height of your waist or lower. Keep in mind, height isn’t a huge issue. Just make sure you’re comfortable when working on the board. I use boxes and a coffee table.
***Word of Advice. Make Sure The Platform Is Sturdy And If Possible Support Both Bindings., and NEVER wax on carpet. It’s hard to cleanup afterwards.
What Items Do You Need?
Most of the items you’ll need can be found in a kit that you can purchase from your local board shop. Click the link here if you’d like to purchase one.
You’ll need the following items:
Washcloth or papertowels
Edge Sharpeners (Optional)
An iron (has a flat base with NO holes picture below)
Block Of Wax
A Soft Cloth To Finish Buffing
Step 1. Clean The Snowboard Base
When you’re shredding, you’re mostly riding on snow, but sometimes you’ll ride over rocks, branches, metal rails etc. Those items leave residue and gouges on your base. When waxing a snowboard I always advise giving the base a good cleaning prior to sharpening edges or waxing the board.
Grab some paper towels or a washcloth, and the base cleaner. Give the board a good rub down, and look at the entire base when you do. Look for scratches, dings, and scars. See if any area is in need of repair. During this step, I like to run my fingers along the edges to see if any spurs have developed on the edges.
Also look over the base and see if any gouges or scratches have appeared. I’ll be doing another post soon about base repair, so I hope you will tune in for that one.
***A Spur Happens When The Edge Isn’t Straight And Something Has Gouged Out A Chunk Of The Metal.
Step 2. Sharpening The Snowboard (Optional)
The reason I say this step is optional comes from two different thoughts. If you’re a park shredder, you’ll want to keep your edges dull. Or if you’ve sharpened them at the start of the season (which I recommend), they should be fine. I only sharpen mine once or twice a season, so if you’re doing a preseason wax, sharpen the edges.
2.1 Grab The Edge sharpening tool, and run it along the length of the bottom edge of the snowboard. 3-4 times max.
2.2 Then, you’ll want to switch it up, and run the sharpener along the side edge of the snowboard. This will give your edge a 90 degree when it contacts the snow, giving you some epic controls.
Step 3. Applying The Wax
When Waxing A Snowboard less is more. What you want is a thin layer of wax covering the entire base. If the wax starts to smoke, the iron is too hot.
***Caution!!! NEVER leave the iron in one place for long, it can damage the snowboard base.***
3.1 First you’ll want the iron to be turned on and heated up. Make sure the wax isn’t smoking.
3.2 Hold the iron and the wax over the snowboard. Touch the wax to the iron so it begins to melt. The wax should be falling onto the snowboard. Be careful not to burn yourself. Adjust iron temperature if necessary.
3.4 The wax drops that fall onto the Snowboard should be the size of a nickel or dime. Move the wax/iron around the snowboard so they are spaced an inch apart. Cover the entire base with these droplets (an inch apart) Focus on the edges that contact the snow, but don’t forget the tip/tail either.
3.5 Begin to iron the snowboard. Place the iron onto the snowboard, and use a front to back motion. You’re wanting to melt the wax droplets into a solid sheet hopefully thin covering. Take caution not to leave the iron in one place for long as it can damage the snowboard.
The first couple of times you wax, you’ll most likely use too much, and it might be a mess. As you do it more often, you’ll know how much you need.
3.6 Once the wax is melted into a complete sheet covering the base of the snowboard. Turn the iron off, and take a break.
Step 4. Take A 30 Minute Break
You need at least 30 minutes between wax completion and step 5. During this time the wax will cool on your base, and will be pulled/absorbed into the Snowboard. Sometimes I wax at night and scrape in the morning, but I haven’t noticed any increased performance from waiting overnight. It’s just more convenient to my laziness.
Step 5. Begin Scraping
There are two types of scrapers, metal and plastic. I’ve read articles promoting one over the other, but they all use the same reasoning. I think it’s a personal preference, and I use both, depending on the moment.
When you’re scraping your snowboard, I like to start in the middle and work my way out to the nose and tail.
***Use caution when scraping, You Don’t Want Damage To The Base.
5.1 Start out holding the scraper in your left or right hand. and place the edge of the scraper onto the base at a 45 degree angle.
5.2 Start moving the scraper in a forward/back motion towards the tip/tail of the Snowboard. At this point you should see wax come off the base. If Wax isn’t coming off the board, apply more pressure.
5.3 Continue Scraping until you’ve cleaned the entire snowboard. Make sure you get the nose/tail that you waxed earlier, and give the edges an extra scraping as well.
Once you’ve completed scraping, you can move onto the next and important last step. Polishing.
Step 5. Polishing
You’ll notice when you finish the last step, the base still looks a little rough. Scraping removes the large chunks of wax, while polishing removes the small pieces. This makes it nice, shiny, and fast.
You only need on item here to complete the polishing, but I like to do a 3 step process.
5.1 Start out by grabbing the sponge from your snowboard kit. It might have a different name, but it’s something you probably have in the kitchen already.
5.2 Begin by giving the base a good rub down with the sponge. Start at the nose/tail and work your way up/down the Snowboard. This helps distribute the wax evenly, and reduces drag. By the time you’re done, the board should feel smooth and you’ll be ready to shred.
Once you’ve completed 5.2, you could drop into a run with no problems, however I have two bonus tips that I use, and believe they help me shred faster.
5.3 Bonus Tip Once you complete 5.2, grab a soft cloth, and repeat the previous step. This will give it additional smoothness and reduce drag even more. When you rub your hand on the base after completion you’ll feel the difference.
5.4 Bonus Tip: Cross Hatching Once I finish that step, I grab the sponge again. This time I make 45 degree angle marks down the snowboard from nose to tail. Once I complete them, I go back to the beginning, and start again. The end result looks like the outfield in a baseball stadium.
Cross hatching helps because it breaks the surface tension. When riding in spring conditions it will help keep your board from getting suctioned to the ground. It’s also the exact same premise that golf balls use.
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