Surfing Montauk with Debra Rose: July 2022

Rejuvenate your Surfing

Summer is here, the few months of sun we have waited for all year long.  By this time the spring suits and boardshorts come out, booties and gloves are put away.  Buying new boards and repairing old ones are off-season projects, otherwise it will likely wait until the fall.  In the meantime, keeping what you have fresh and functional is a quick way to feel brand new when paddling into a new season.

Remember when you first bought any of your boards? How clean, colorful, perfect they all were, waiting to be chosen and taken home.  Once you apply the base coat, wax and use your board consistently, you may forget how pristine it was before it was yours.  Sometimes years go by with the same wax, sand and dirt caked on.  While that may signal longevity and status to the pecking order in the lineup, there are several good reasons to refresh your boards.

Old wax is not only and aesthetic issue, it weighs down your board.  Once there is enough layered wax it actually becomes useless, so it looks unappealing and performs poorly.  Keeping your equipment in order and showing respect and care for your things is a reflection upon the respect and care you display for the activity and yourself.

The best part about refreshing your board is enjoying (what will look like) a brand-new board.  Most methods involve leaving the board in the sun so the wax melts, and scraping the old wax off with a wax comb or credit card.  This will produce drippy, dirty wax, so if it is not in a grassy area you will have to be careful.  Another favorite method is using flour to bind to the melting wax, polishing your board simultaneously when you remove the wax and flour concoction with tissue paper.  The debris that falls off the board will resemble dust rather than slime.

On that same warm sunny day, you can take your cleaned board to the beach, and use hot sand on the front and back of the board to catch and remove all of those stubborn little wax spots.  By exfoliating your board, the surface will be completely smooth.  Some surfers will apply a layer of coconut oil for extra shine.  This is also your chance to inspect your board for any little dings or chips hidden under the old layers of wax.

Once you apply your fresh basecoat, and eventually new layer of wax your board will have a new adhesive feel and look a lot better.  This ritual allows you to apply the appropriate cold or warm weather wax, which is why you should clean your board a few times a year.

The best part of this process beyond a better functioning board is bringing back the excitement of why you bought the board in the first place.  Maybe you designed it, specifically picked out the colors, or it caught your eye for a particular reason.  The bottom of the board is likely faded, and what has been protected by wax is close to preserved in the original state.  Now you are ready for summer with a (sort-of) brand new board.  Happy surfing!