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You finally bought your very own snowboard and you're loving it! It's got the perfect flex, some great pop, and a profile that flies through whatever you want to do with ease. The only issue is that lately, it hasn't been doing so well. You know that waxed boards do a better job gliding, but you don't know how to wax your best snowboard!
It's cool. A lot of people who are new to the sport don't know how to hot wax a snowboard. Everyone as to start somewhere, and there's no shame in getting some advice on how to do a new skill. After all, you weren’t ace on the board your first time out, either. This article will teach you everything you need to know about snowboard wax.
Why Wax Your Board?
There are some great reasons to wax your board. A lot of people will turn their boards over to the shops because they don’t know how to wax a snowboard at home, but that can cost a lot of extra money. The supplies you need to attain a waxen best all mountain snowboard are actually pretty cheap and readily available.
A lot of people also ask, "How long does it take to wax a snowboard?" The truth is that once you've practiced a bit, it takes less time to wax at home than it will to drop it off at a shop. Between driving to the shop, waiting for them to get to your board in their lineup of things to do and boards to wax, and getting it back, you'll spend more time than you would just doing it yourself.
Finally, waxed boards glide so well. There’s a massive difference between waxed boards and unwaxed ones on the snow. Spins, butters, and jibbing are all a lot easier with a waxed board. It will also float over powder better when it’s waxed and smooth, and it will also move much quicker and offer a smoother ride.
How Often Should I Wax My Snowboard?
As a general rule of thumb, you should wax your board again after every 3 ride days. You may need to do this more or less often depending on things like base construction, riding conditions you’ve been through, and how often you ride.
Your base construction matters when it comes to waxing frequency. Sintered bases are more porous, so they absorb a lot more wax than otherwise. When sintered boards get regular wax treatments, they will be extremely smooth ad offer much more speed than extruded bases. Unwaxed sintered bases will also run slower by default than an unwaxed extruded base. This means you need to wax them much more regularly to keep your board gliding properly over the snow.
You can also usually tell whether you need to wax your board based on how it feels under your hands and how the base looks. If your board is riding slower than usual, especially over flat stretches of the snow, then you need to wax again. If your base looks white or dry, then it’s also time to give it some more wax.
What Will I Need to Wax My Snowboard?
If you don’t know how to wax a snowboard, you may be wondering how much you need to invest in tools and start-up. The truth is that you don't really need too much. You just need:
- an iron,
- a scraper,
- a structuring brush,
- a cloth.
Pick Your Wax
It’s important to choose the right wax. A lot of waxes are temperature specific, so you can have warm wax or cold wax, and this will relate directly to the temperature of the snow you're riding through. If you're not sure what to use, or you ride through mixed conditions, then pick an all-temperature wax for your board.
How to Wax a Snowboard
Now that you’ve got your tools and your wax, it’s time to learn how to apply it to your board like a professional.
Loosen and Remove the Bindings
Before you put an iron to your base (or anywhere close to it), you need to fully remove your bindings or loosen them. You don’t want your binding screws near the surface of the base, because these will conduct heat when they get hot and permanently damage your board.
Clean the Base of the Board
Then, you want to clean your base. Make sure that you remove old wax and dirt from your base so that it can fully absorb the new and fresh wax you will be applying. You can either use a cloth and base cleaner or use the hot scraping method to do this.
Hot scraping involves using an iron to apply a thin layer of wax and then scraping it off immediately, while the wax is still warm. This will remove any grime from the pores. Once you finish this, you wipe the base with a cloth to remove any remaining residue.
Melt the Wax
If you want to buy a special iron specifically for waxing, you can do that. If you don’t want to, then you can just grab the clothes iron you use instead… as long as you understand that you can’t use it on your clothes after using it on the board. Pick whichever one you’re comfortable with that fits your budget and you’ll be fine.
Warm your iron up to medium heat. Don’t make it too hot, or you’ll burn your board and the wax and damage it. Hold the wax against the warm iron until it starts to melt. You want it to be melting at a slow drip. Move the wax around the edges of the board as it drips down, then zig and zag it up the middle. You want the coating to be even all the way across the board. Your edges will be the driest parts of your board, to make sure to take care of them.
Iron the Base
Once you’ve got an even coat, go ahead and out your iron gently on your board. Move it in circular motions, covering the whole surface of your board’s base. You have to be sure that your iron is in constant motion so the base of your board doesn’t get too hot and burn. Leave your board or the iron in one place and you will permanently damage your snowboard.
Let the Wax Cool
Once you finish ironing and applying the wax, it needs to cool down and set. Leave the wax on your board for about 30 minutes, so it has time to cool down and set.
Get Scraping (and Mind Your Edges)
When your wax has set and had time to cool, you need to grab your plastic scraper. Hold it at a 45-degree angle and scrape off any excess wax. Start with the nose and move towards the tail. The longer and more continuous your strokes are, the smoother your base will be.
You need to make sure that you pay attention to your edges. If you have any wax at all left on your rails, your edges will be completely ineffective. Use the notch at the end of your scraper if you need to remove stray wax.
Structure the Base
The last step is to grab your structuring brush and work it from your nose to your tail. Brushing the base will remove the excess wax and expose your base structure. This will help your board run much smoother and quicker on the snow.
We also recommend reading how to put bindings on a snowboard and we hope to see you on the slopes this winter!