How to Properly Clean Your Surfboard

clean surfboard

Cleaning a surfboard is absolutely imperative for you to keep your surfboard in great shape and to lengthen the life of it. Cleaning can also help to prevent further damage done by dings and other gashes to the glassing.

Throughout this article, we’ll delve into some of the better practices and techniques that can effectively clean your surfboard. No matter what environmental conditions it’s been subject to.

But first, are there any specific types of cleaners that are needed, or does fresh water do the trick? Also, what types of materials help to provide the best cleaning for your board?

Do I Need to Purchase Any Surfboard Cleaning Materials?

The answer isn’t completely straight forward, but it’s advised that you purchase a wax comb, special surfboard cleanerrag, and a towel for drying.

The comb ideally should have two different sides to it, one being a serrated side, while the other a flat, yet sharp edge. You can buy a surfboard cleaner from your local surf shop or online order. Surfboard cleaner contains a compound spray that breakdowns and removes the leftover, residual wax.

I recommend using Sticky Bumps Wax Remover, which comes in an 8-ounce bottle. And it’s really affordable at less than ten dollars, usually. If you wanted to add an additional layer or coating, coconut oil can also be applied after the spray and wipe down has been completed. These are essentially all you will need to make sure your board gets a proper and thorough cleaning.

How Often Should I Clean My Surfboard?

In a perfect world, you should be at least rinsing and wiping down your surfboard after each use, as the salt water can really take a toll on the integrity of the board. Think of it like a boat.

Once the boat comes out from the saltwater, it’s immediately rinsed off to keep scaling and degradation from happening. This is no different with your surfboard, especially if it has sustained any type of damage including, but not limited to, dings, gashes, cracks, or any other compromise that penetrates the fiberglass coating.

surfer cleaning a surfboard with a cloth

At the very least, however, your board needs a deep cleaning every few sessions. Obviously, the duration of your time in the water, as well as, where you were surfing does make a difference, but a good rule of thumb is to clean it after every other session.

The more you clean it, the better. Now, are there specific steps and instructions for cleaning the board? Yes, yes there are. And listed below are the steps you should take every time.

Surfboard Cleaning Procedures and Tips

Cleaning a surfboard starts with the appropriate cleaning tools and accessories. You’ll also need some spare time to clean your surfboard. Here are the tools and accessories that are used in this guide:

1. Place Your Surfboard Near Sunlight

The first step to cleaning your surfboard involves removing all the old, sandy, and dirty wax that has accumulated over time. Hopefully, you have not allowed for this to happen, but it’s easy to get lazy with it and leave on coat after coat without replacing a fresh layer. Fear not, though! To start, you’ll want to put your board somewhere with sunlight.

surfboard near sunlight

This will help to soften the wax. If it’s a cloudy or rainy day, you can opt to use a hairdryer. Just make sure to not apply too much heat whether from the sunlight or an artificial source, as you can incur unwanted damage.

2. Create Diagonal Cuts with Wax Comb

Next, take the wax comb with the serrated edge and create diagonal cuts in the wax going both ways so that you end up drawing diamond patterns. This technique makes it easier to remove the wax, as the comb has touched and cut through a higher surface area.

Once you’ve adequately made cuts through the wax, flip the comb around and use the sharp and straight end to scrape away the wax. Depending on the number of coats used, this could take a few attempts to get most of the wax removed.

3. Apply Warm Water to the Surfboard

In the event that there is still some very light, spotting portions of wax on your board, get some warm water and pour it over the remaining wax. This should soften it to the point that it can be wiped away with a warm, damp cloth.

4. Apply Surfboard Cleaning Spray

You’ll want to make sure that you’ve removed all the noticeable wax. There will still be some residual amounts that aren’t noticeable, however. This is where the surfboard cleaning spray comes into play.

Provide an even, but thorough coating of the spray across the whole board. It’s important to do this because the wax has been known to adhere to places all over the board, especially when stored with surfboards. Instructions will vary based on the spray but follow the what is said for how long it must sit without being wiped away. When the proper amount of time has transpired, you’re ready to wipe away.

5. Wipe Down Surfboard with Coconut Oil

The last step is to provide one more thorough wipe down of the whole surfboard. As previously mentioned, you can apply a coat of coconut oil if desired. This gives some additional conditioning and a nice, glossy coat. Let it adequately dry. After it’s finished drying, your board will now be ready with a fresh coat of wax or finishing spray.

coconut oil used for cleaning

Damage Repair Disclaimer and Important Information

If your surfboard did sustain damage that has created openings to the foam blank, this is the stage at which you will need to make the repairs. Surfboard repair kits can be purchased online and through your local surf shop at an affordable price.

They are a must to prevent any further damage that might occur to the board through waterlogging and the overall degradation through exposure to salt water. When deciding on the right repair kit, make sure to either consult your local surf shop or someone knowledgeable about the composition of your board. Choosing the wrong kit can result in subsequent damage and it can cause a hole-burning within the foam blank.

Nonetheless, if you can stay consistent with cleaning your surfboard, while also making the necessary repairs then you’ll significantly stretch the life of your board so that you can use it for years and years to come.


Recent Posts