Cleaning your surfboard is one of the most important things you can do to make sure your board lasts a long time and continues to perform at its best.
But even if your board has been through some gnarly waves and has picked up some dents and scrapes, cleaning actually becomes more important as it can prevent further damage and help lengthen the lifespan of your board even if it’s seen better days.
In this guide we’re going to look at the best tactics and techniques to help you clean your board to a high standard, no matter if it’s brand new or an old faithful.
What you need
When cleaning your surfboard there are definitely a few things you can use to make things far easier for yourself and make the finish on the board much better.
While some traditionalists will tell you a lot of this stuff isn’t necessary, it’s definitely better to use it and help your board last longer in our opinion.
The essential tools you’ll need are a rag for wiping things down, a wax comb, surfboard cleaner, surf wax, and a towel for drying everything off when you’re finished.
Ideally a good surf comb has a few options on it, one side being smooth and flat with a keen edge, and the other edge being serrated.
Surfboard cleaner is quite easy to come by and can be found online or at your local surf shop, and is essentially a special cleaner that helps to break down residual surf wax so that you can apply a fresh coat more easily and keep things as clean as possible.
There are several wax removers that are quite good, including Pickle wax remover, Bluewater DeWaxit and Sticky Bumps Wax Remover, but feel free to choose whichever cleaner suits you.
How often do I need to clean my board?
Really, if you want to make sure your board is as well looked after as possible you should be making sure you rinse off your board and wipe it down after every single use, to make sure that there isn’t any trace of saltwater left on the board.
Salt water can take a huge toll on the board and is pretty rough on the hardest materials, so getting rid of this after every session is essential.
For a deep clean you should consider doing this after every few sessions. There are a lot of variables such as how much time you spent in the water, the place you were surfing and if your board got any damage so you can obviously take all of this into account and decide what’s best for you.
However your board will generally see the best results if you clean it properly after every other decent session to make sure the materials aren’t getting worn down or that no major issues are being missed or ignored.
How to clean your board
1. Place the board in direct sunlight
The most important first step of cleaning a board is to make sure that any old residual wax on the board is properly removed.
This is important because wax can obviously pick up and hold onto all sorts of unwanted stuff, from sand, to salt and dirt which can all take a toll on your board.
To make sure your board performs at its best it’s best to avoid layering on wax as this can lead to old wax and dirt getting trapped below successive layers of wax, making it harder and harder to clean properly as time goes on.
While it may seem like a lot of work, applying a fresh coat every other session and removing any old wax will make your life and your board much happier in the long run.
Placing the board in sunlight helps to soften old wax and make it easier to remove, however take care not to let the board get too hot as this can cause different issues and damage.
2. Create some Cuts
The next thing you need to do is use your wax combs serrated edge to make cuts in the wax that’s already on the board, cutting diagonally so that you’re drawing diamond patterns in the wax.
This makes the wax easier to remove as the comb will have cut through a larger amount of wax and loosened it up much more.
Once there are enough cuts in the wax, swap to the clean edge of the comb and begin scraping away the wax from the board.
If you’ve been diligent in your board maintenance this step should be quite quick and easy, but if you’ve left multiple coats on it can take a little longer to remove all the old wax.
3. Apply warm water
If there is any small amount of wax left on your board, simply get some warm water and pour it on these areas of the board to soften it up even more, then simply wipe it off with your rag.
4. Apply cleaning Solution
Now that the wax is removed and the board is properly exposed, it’s time to start actually cleaning the board.
There may be small amounts of wax left, but this is fine because if you’re using proper board cleaner, it can handle this very effectively.
Spray the board with an even layer of cleaning solution, and make sure you don’t miss any areas of the board.
Allow the solution to sit for as long as your specific cleaner states, then simply wipe the cleaning solution away!
5. Oil your board
This final step can be skipped if you’re happy to simply have a clean board. However, wiping down the board with coconut oil can condition the materials of the board and give it a beautiful finish that helps it look as good as new.
Once the coconut oil has dried thoroughly you can now apply a fresh coat of surf wax if you want, or if you prefer use a surfboard spray.