Waxing your own snowboard is quick, easy, and surprisingly enjoyable. It's also a great way to protect your investment and ensure your board is able to perform at the highest level possible regardless of snow or weather conditions.
Time Required: 20 Minutes
- The first and possibly most important step to waxing your snowboard is gathering the proper tools. A good iron is a MUST. Resist the urge to use that old clothing iron sitting around gathering dust - proper temperature modulation is impossible with clothing irons, meaning you'll end up smoking the wax, ruining the wax and possibly your snowboard's base. Swix makes a line of moderately priced waxing irons that are both durable and easy to use. You'll also need a plastic or metal scraper, brush, and cork block for polishing. Your local snowboard shop should carry a good supply of these items.
- Your next decision is what type of wax to apply. Snowboard wax is temperature specific, meaning you'll want to use a different wax for spring weather (over 32 °F) than you would for a cold January day with temperatures below freezing. Again, talk to the guys at your local snowboard shop - they'll have a supply of the various types of waxes available.
"Paste" type waxes that require no ironing are also available, but those are generally only useful in warm weather and don't last more than a few runs, so we'll disregard them for now.
- Now you're ready to wax! First, rub a small amount of wax over the entire base of your snowboard (this will protect the base from the heat of the iron). Set your iron to the recommended temperature for the specific wax you're using (it will be listed on the packaging), hold the iron at a 45° angle, press the wax block to the iron, and begin to "drizzle" the melted wax across the base of your snowboard. Remember the wax will spread out once it's ironed in, so complete coverage at this point is not necessary - I like to drizzle lines spread about an inch apart up and down the length of the base.
- Now that the base of your snowboard is covered in melted wax, take your iron and begin spreading the wax evenly across the base. Be mindful not to keep the iron in one place too long, as this can burn the base of the snowboard. Iron in smooth strokes from edge to edge, tip to tail. After the base has been covered evenly, allow the wax five to ten minutes to harden before moving on to the next step.
- Snowboard bases are porous, and applying moderate heat opens up these pores so they can absorb the wax. The wax that's left over on the base needs to be scraped off for optimum sliding. With the wax now hardened, take your scraper (I lean towards plastic scrapers, as they are less harsh on the base of the board) and begin scraping off the excess wax from tip to tail. Pay special attention to the metal edges of the snowboard, knocking any stray wax off.
- You're just about done now. The final steps involve taking a medium to coarse wax brush and hitting the base with a few strokes, again moving in a tip to tail direction. This will impart a structure to the waxed base, which assists in breaking the suction effect of melted water underneath the board while sliding over the snow. After a quick brushing, polish the base of the snowboard with a cork block. You're done!
- Wax selection is crucial to performance. Be sure to stock your tuning kit with a selection of waxes to cover the various temperatures and weather conditions you plan on riding in.
- A smoking iron is a bad thing! Not only does it destroy the wax, it can also damage your snowboard's base to the point where it will no longer accept new wax. If your iron begins smoking, back off the temperature a few notches until it stops smoking, then begin waxing.
- In a pinch, a plastic pie cutter can be used as a scraper...just don't tell your mother or wife I said that. (I was in a real bind that time, honey!)
What You Need
- Waxing Iron
- Snowboard Wax
- Cork Block
- Snowboard Vise (optional)
- Apron to protect clothing (optional)