July 23, 2024
How to choose the best surf wax

How to Choose the Best Surf Wax

When I first started surfing, I was surprised by how many surfing wax brands there were on the market. I didn’t know how to choose the best surf wax.

So – how to choose the best surf wax? Most importantly, you must choose a surf wax that matches the water temperature you are surfing in.

In the following post, I will share the best surf wax by water temperature. Additionally, I will reveal the most common surf wax brands, what surf wax the pros are using, and surf wax alternatives like traction pads and eco-friendly surf wax.

Basecoat vs Topcoat

Before choosing the appropriate surf wax corresponding to water temperature, you must apply a basecoat first. Basecoat surf wax is important because it lays the foundation before you apply a topcoat. As a result, basecoat will hold the topcoat in place longer and prevent it from rubbing off the deck of your surfboard. This means you will not have to wax your board with topcoat as often. More importantly, you won’t have to worry about your wax wearing away during a surf session.

In some cases, basecoat is sold as its own standalone wax. If you don’t have basecoat available, you can use a Tropical topcoat wax. This is because Tropical is the firmest of all the wax classes. In the next section, I will share the best surf wax by water temperature.

Stay tuned! I wrote an extensive post on ‘How to Wax your Surfboard’ which I suggest reading after this article. Before that, you may want to tune in for how to remove surfboard wax in under one minute!

Best surf wax by water temperature

Ok, this is the most important section of this post. Below, I will share exactly which topcoat surf wax is recommended based on the water temperature. It is important to use the correct surf wax according to the water temperature. Otherwise, you will not have the appropriate grip on your surfboard. This will result in slips and falls!

There are generally 4 classes of surf wax by water temperature:

Cold: Less than 58°F

Cool: 56°-68°F

Warm: 66°-78°F

Tropical: Above 76°F

Many of you reading this post are surfing in San Diego. In order to pair up the correct surf wax based on the time of year – read my post on the water temperature in San Diego by month. Typically, you can surf comfortably year-round in San Diego with Cool and Warm water wax alone. Use Warm water wax in the summer and coat your board with Cool water wax in winter months.

3 Most Common Brands of Surf Wax

There are about a zillion different surfing wax brands. In order to avoid confusion, I am going to list the three most commonly used surfing wax brands below. I would suggest choosing one of these. This is because the market for surfing wax is oversaturated. It’s important to get quality wax and these are some of the best brands out there!

Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax

Zog’s Sex Wax has been around since the 70s. They have quickly become a staple surf wax and one of the best surf waxes on the market. Personally, I love the coconut smell of Zog’s surf wax. More importantly, don’t confuse this as a bedtime lubricant 🙂

Our Pick
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/11/2024 07:34 am GMT

Sticky Bumps

Like Zog’s, Sticky Bumps surf wax has also been around since the early 70s. However, Sticky Bumps is probably the most well-known and commonly used surfing wax brand. Sticky Bumps is also based out of San Diego! If you are looking to buy local, go with Sticky Bumps.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/11/2024 09:29 am GMT

Bubble Gum

Bubble Gum surf wax is another staple in the surf wax industry. It’s also homegrown in San Diego like Sticky Bumps. They have been sticking to boards since 1984.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/11/2024 08:44 am GMT

In summary, these are the most common brands of surf wax. You can’t go wrong with a stick of one of these.

What is the best surf wax for pro surfers?

I’ve always wondered what surf wax the pro surfers are using. So, I went out and did a bit of research. I expected to find pro surfers using one of the three most common brands of surf wax listed above. On the contrary, they were using something else. In fact, pro surfers are surfing with a surf wax that I have never heard of. It’s called Fu Surf Wax. Fu Surf Wax is made in Brazil. I wasn’t surprised that Fu is made in Brazil due to the amount of surfing talent down there. Also, other pro surfers are using Fu surf wax such as Kelly Slater, Dane Reynolds, John John Florence, Koa Rothman and Kolohe Andino. Kolohe Andino was quoted saying – “It’s so good, it feels like it’s just goo’ing everywhere!”

It seems to me like Fu Surf Wax is used for high performance surfing. As a result, a block of Fu surf wax costs about $5 whereas a traditional block of surf wax costs about $1 a piece. Unless you are planning on doing aerial maneuvers, you will be fine with the most common brands of surf wax.

What is the best eco-friendly surf wax?

Toxic vs nontoxic surf wax is becoming more of a heated discussion in recent years. The common brands of surf wax typically contain toxic chemical ingredients. These chemicals found in toxic surf wax aren’t the best for the long-term health of your surfboard. Furthermore, their chemicals seep into the water which can harm sea creatures and coral. Finally, some people have skin allergies to the toxicities found in normal surf wax.

As a result, eco-friendly surf wax is becoming more and more popular. Eco-friendly surf wax is biodegradable, contains no skin irritants, and even lasts a long time. The only downside to eco-friendly surf is sometimes it’s too soft.

If you are looking to try an eco-friendly surf wax, I would suggest trying Rob Machado’s organic wax. He actually has a partnership with Bubblegum wax for an eco-friendly edition. Rob Machado is a local to North County San Diego and is well known for his environmental conservation efforts.

Why is surfing wax so important?

Ok, we have been talking about surf wax for ages. You might be wondering why all the discussion about a little thing like surf wax. Well, it’s easy. No surf wax equals no surfing. You will be slipping and sliding around your surfboard like a looney bird without applying surf wax.

Secondly, there is also a debate on surf wax vs traction pad. Some surfers use a large traction pad to cover their entire board instead of a traditional wax job. The downside of a full-size traction pad is they can become bulky and are not comfortable to lay on when on your board. Traction pads are best for the small area near the back of your board where your back foot needs that extra grip for maneuvering.

In my opinion, surf wax is your best option.

How much is surf wax?

You can typically buy a bar of surf wax at your local surf shop for a buck. If you are buying online, one bar will cost you a few dollars. We aren’t talking about expensive stuff here. Plus, a bar will last you at least a few weeks (depending on how much you surf). Unless you are buying Fu surf wax (see above); you won’t break the bank.

What is the best surf wax?

Finally, it’s my turn to vote for the best surf wax. Of course, there are a ton of opinions about which surf wax is the best surf wax. In my opinion, Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax is the best. It applies easily and offers a nice firm group. Additionally, it’s a good bang for your buck coming in at a $1 per bar (if buying at a retail surf store). Finally, I enjoy the coconut aroma and like the name 🙂

Now, you know how to choose the best surf wax. End of the day, the surfing wax brand you choose is not that important. Most importantly, make sure you are actually using surf wax and choose the correct surf wax based on water temperature. Now, go have fun sticking to your board!


  • Gavin Bechtold

    Gavin has been living and surfing in San Diego for over a decade. He loves the ocean and is lucky to call San Diego home. Frustrated with mainstream reviews, he set out to create the best source of surf reviews for San Diego beaches. Check the About page for more info!

    View all posts