With the snow season fast approaching, it’s time to dig your stick out of the attic and get it in shape for winter.
It can be all too easy to turn your board over to your local snowboard shop for a waxing session, but doing it yourself is actually incredibly simple to do, and done properly you can get the same, if not better, results. While you might have to splash out on the odd piece of equipment, it’s all relatively cheap to buy and in the long run you’ll save on shop costs.
How often should I wax my snowboard?
While some recommend that you should wax your board after every three days of riding, the frequency of waxing will depend on a few factors, including the construction of your base, the conditions you’ll be riding in and of course how often you ride.
There are two main types of base construction – sintered and extruded. A sintered base is more porous and therefore able to absorb more wax. Because of this, when a sintered board is waxed well it will run faster and smoother than an extruded base. However, an unwaxed sintered base will run slower than an unwaxed extruded base and therefore requires more waxing attention to keep it running fast.
You can tell when your snowboard needs to be waxed simply by how it feels, as well as how the base looks. If you notice that your board is slowing down, particularly on flat sections, or that the base is looking white and dry then it’s probably time to give it the wax treatment.
What will I need?
- Structuring brush
1. Loosen/remove the bindings
Before the iron goes anywhere near your base, make sure to loosen off or fully remove your bindings. This is so the binding screws aren’t near to the surface of the base, which when hot can conduct heat and cause permanent damage.
2. Clean the base
Make sure that any old wax and dirt is removed from the base so that the fresh wax can be absorbed properly. This can either be done by using a base cleaner and cloth, or by the hot scrape method. A hot scrape involves using an iron to apply a thin layer of hot wax and then immediately scraping it off while the wax is still warm in order to get rid of any grime from the pores. Once finished, wipe over the base with a cloth to remove any remaining residue.
3. Pick your wax
Some waxes are temperature specific – warm wax and cold wax – which relate to the temperature of the snow you’ll be riding. If in doubt, or you’re going to be riding in mixed conditions, pick an all-temperature wax.
4. Melt the wax
While you can buy a specific waxing iron, a normal clothes iron is more than capable of the job – just don’t plan on using it again on your clothes.
Warm up the iron to a medium heat and then hold the wax against the iron until it starts to melt the wax at a slow drip. As the wax drips down onto the board, move it around the edges of the board before zigzagging up the middle – you’re aiming for an even coating of wax across the board. Pay particular attention to the edges as they’ll be the driest.
5. Iron the base
Next, place the iron on the base of the board and move it around in a circular motion. Cover the whole surface of the base, making sure to keep the iron moving so that the base of the board doesn’t get too hot. Leaving the board in one place is how you can end up damaging your base permanently
6. Let the wax cool
Leave the wax on the board for approx 20-30 minutes, until it has cooled down and set.
7. Get scraping
Once the wax has cooled, hold your plastic scraper at a 45 degree angle and carefully work from nose to tail, scraping off any excess wax. Long, continuous strokes are key for a smooth base.
8. Check your edges
Any wax left on your rails will render your edges pretty ineffective, so make sure to use the notch at the end of your scraper to remove any stray wax.
9. Structure the base
Finally, use a structuring brush to firmly brush the base from nose to tail. This removes any excess wax and exposes the structure of the base, which ultimately allows your board to run smoother and faster.