Is Board Wax About to Become a Thing of the Past?

Is this what will replace wax on our surfboards?

Waxing the board for traction has long been the norm. Grip pads at the rear of the deck have become pretty standard, but alternatives for the front peg have come and gone, usually disappearing as quickly as they arrived. And the reason for their rapid vanishing act? The truth is that nothing really works as well as a good old block of wax from your friendly local surf shop. It can be liberally applied exactly where you need the grip most. If you’re in the habit of launching high into the sky from underneath the lip then you can improve your chances of sticking the air by waxing to the very tip of your board. If solid turns are more your thing then a thick coat can be applied firmly under the front foot. Wax is flexible, easy to use and convenient. But it’s not without its flaws. It melts, needs constantly reapplying, and is not particularly environmentally friendly. It’s also slowly getting more expensive, and the cost of a lifetime of wax adds up to a surprising total. Which is why now seems a good time to explore alternatives.

Simply apply the hexagons where you most need the grip.

Enter Van der Waal Surf Grip, the genuinely useable alternative to endlessly waxing your favourite board. The hexagonal grip pads don’t arrive in one fixed size pad, rather as lots of smaller pads so that you can decide exactly what size and location you most need your grip. You can build up the honeycomb pattern to guarantee regularly consistent grip. Which is great, so long as it works. Alternatives only catch on if they are genuine like for like replacements. Which this isn’t. In my time spent with the traction the available grip was actually better than that experienced with standard wax. Van der Waal’s hexagonal shapes turned out to not only be an alternative to the grip from traditional wax, but an improvement. Admittedly due to our far from tropical UK water I am yet to test these pads without wearing boots, but hopefully my summer experience will continue to be positive. And it’s not only the benefits of extra grip; your board will cease to gather sand, it won’t stain, and your surfboard will look fresher for longer. You can also confidently leave your board in the car without coming back to a runny pool of wax collecting in the footwell of your passenger seat.

It’ll be interesting to see how the grip lasts over time, but if it continues to perform well, then Van der Waal may have cracked the market for those looking for an alternative to waxing up.

For more info check out: Van der Waal

Tom Keyes

Recently returned to the UK after several years chasing waves in Asia, Tom takes inspiration from living on the doorstep of Cornwall's finest beaches to write articles and features on all thing surf related. Regularly featured on Surfing Sections and The Inertia his work has been viewed and shared by... Read more

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