How To: Waxing Your Surfboard

Waxing your surfboard properly is essential to maximizing your surfing skill. A well waxed surfboard can be the difference between standing and slipping, glory and defeat, wellness and injury, and overall fun.

The first thing to consider is what kind of wax to buy. All of the leading brands are comparable. But while brand name isn’t important, whether or not you buy warm, tropical, cool, or cold water wax is important. Using wax intended for the opposite water temp can cause the wax to not work, and you will slide off the board, which is exactly what you will do if you don’t have any wax on your surfboard.

The cutoff between warm and cold water waxes varies slightly with brand name, but is always printed clearly on the outside of the package. Simply be aware of the water temperature where you will be surfing and the corresponding recommended temperatures on the package.

Once you have your wax, you need to get the old wax off your surfboard. (If this is the first time you are waxing your board, you are lucky. Don’t worry about this stuff.) The easiest method is to lay your board out in the sun so that the wax already on the board softens. One it softens, scrape it off gently with a wax scraper (plastic) made for just that task and sold at surf shops. If you don’t have one of these combs, a variety of things will work: any flat edged surface of soft plastic or hard rubber, the end of a swim fin, etc. Just try to avoid metal– it will scratch up your surfboard.

Once the old wax is gone, its time to start with the new wax. If the surface of the surfboard is still hot, cool it down with some cool water or move it into the shade and let it sit. Then, when the board is dry, apply the wax in a circular motion. You don’t need to put wax on the entire board– only where your hands and feet will come into contact with the surfboard (never on the rail where you leg will slide back and forth). That means anticipating where you will spring up, and where on the rails you will push up with your hands. Remember, there’s no harm in putting wax somewhere and ending up not needing it. Better too much wax than not enough.

Finally, be sure you don’t leave your waxed surfboard in the direct hot sun, or the wax will melt right off. Also, avoid getting your fresh wax sandy, because it will feel like sandpaper on your skin. If you put your surfboard on the hot sand in summer, it will become gritty and sandpaper like.

How to paddle your board into the lineup

Here’s how to paddle into the lineup. You now have your first surfboard and you need to get it out into the lineup so you can catch waves and surf. Here’s some valuable information that will help assist you in getting your surfboard into the ocean and through the surf.

First is to make you hand into a paddle shape like the paddle on the canoe. Reach forward towards the nose and push your hand down in the water and pull back along the rail. Midway the pulling motion will become a pushing motion to complete one paddle cycle. Repeat with the other hand many times to get the board moving. When encountering the whitewater flip your board upside down, (fin, or fins up) with the nose pointed directly into the whitewater (never let your board turn sideways)

After the wave or whitewater has dropped, flip the board over (deck up) and climb back onto the board and start paddling again. Repeat as often as need to get past the whitewater and waves. Never stop in front of the wave because it will clobber you and the board. Paddle as fast as possible to get out quickly also time it in between sets to eliminate being clobbered by the waves, whitewater, and board. If at all possible walk out to eliminate the long paddle out. Know the beach where you plan to surf and if ever in doubt, DON’T PADDLE OUT!!!

How to pack your surfboards for a surfing trip by airline

Packing your surfboards for surf trip is very important for airline flight. You go on a surf trip and the airline damages your favorite surfboard(s). Packing your surfboard(s) can make the difference between being ready for the first day’s surf trip or having to see the local ding repair specialist. Most surfers don’t understand that the airline baggage monkeys, who get paid a low wage, don’t care about your boards. I’ve heard stories about one traveler had his longboard being stood on so they could load the cargo hold on the plane.

Packing the board correctly for a surf trip is not as hard as it seems. I’ve packed many surfboards that went on a plane to some surf trip location, and packed for boards to be shipped after purchase at the local surf shops where I used to work.

First you can go to the local surf shop where they have gotten boards shipped in from China or Thailand. They will most like have bubble-pack, and a plastic bag that the board in the store came in.

Go and pick up packing tape. You can find it at a pack and ship store, Walmart, or just about any store that product.

Putting your surfboard into the plastic bag will help keep the tape glue off the bottom of your surfboard. Nothing makes your board go faster than tape glue. (Ha Ha). When you get the bag on your board you may need to cut off some excess bag so it will fit when you go to put into your board travel bag (a real important item for all flights). Leave yourself about 3-4 inches on both ends to ensure that you can fold it onto itself and have some extra nose and tail padding.

Tape it with the packing tape.(packing tape will pull off easily from the plastic when you want to unpack you board. Make some strips before getting started to help this go quickly and easily. Once the ends are taped, then wrap the nose, middle and rear sections of the board so the bag is tightly bound to the board.

Next take the foam noddles that you can get from Walmart (make sure the hole diameter is the large one). Take a razor knife or have someone who has those skills and cut only one side straight down the side leaving the other side intact. Take strips of tape and tape the noodles onto your rails from nose to tail (leaving a little more at the nose and tail where you can overlap some). Now take the bubble pack and wrap the board (make sure that the ends meet in the center of the bottom at the stringer (easier to tape). Fold the excess bubble pack on the nose and tail, but make sure that it’s not a big glob (you won’t get your board into the board bag) streamline for best usage.

With your board wrapped in this manner you are ready to put it into the board travel bag. Remember that you can add towels on both sides of your board to help pad it from damage as you head on your surf trip. When you get to your surf destination remember to systematically unpack your board. Don’t rip apart like it’s Christmas or your birthday. You’ll need to repack it just like before you left on your surf trip. Don’t forget to bring your tape with you. Once you’ve done this a few times it will get easier. This should help when the loaders and unloaders get hold of your new or favorite stick. Happy travels.

If you do get damage from an airline, you can call me for expert surfboard repairs at 321-956-3268 here in central Florida or you can email me at surfguys@surfguyssurf.com

Learning to Surf

So you are learning to surf? Got your first surfboard and nobody to teach you, or your current instructor did not teach you correctly? Here are a few tips and techniques that will help you with this endeavor and challenge that you will face, being new to the sport that made Kelly Slater Famous.

First thing is in learning to surf you have to make sure your surfboard is waxed correctly if you have a board that needs waxing in order to ride it. If you have purchased a soft-board, wax may not be needed to maintain traction or grip (this helps you stay on the board). Learning to surf requires a lot of practice, so if you only get the beach on occasion it will take longer to become efficient at this sport.

One thing that is easily overlooked in learning to surf is the importance of hopping up, or popping up from lying down on the surfboard and jumping into the proper surfing stance. You will need to lay face down on the ground, then in one quick movement you’ll go from that position into the stance of a surfer, wake-boarder, snowboarder, and skateboarder. It is very important that you do not go to your knees when doing this practice (going to ones knees slows down the process to completing this 1st skill).

If you have experience in other related fields where the stance is relatively the same, it will help with defining your natural stance (regular or goofy foot). Make sure that you practice this technique until you have your feet placed properly. If you go to your knees, you will likely end up to close to the nose of your surfboard. This will lead the board’s nose to dig into the water and you will fly off the front of the board into the water. Once in the water the surfboard will recoil (remember if are not standing on the surfboard the wave and board play a game called “let’s hit the surfer in the head with the surfboard”).

Now since you mastered the pop up drill, you’ll need to get your surfboard into the water so you can practice learning to surf for real. Read the article on How to Paddle out for more useful hints. Now you are out into the small surf (I mean small surf). No new surfer should be out in surf that is beyond their abilities, and yes I know what all new surfers are like. You are in small surf and out into the lineup in a less crowded place to practice this sport. How you approach learning to surf will determine whether you have fun or bust your ass trying to get into the lineup.

You will paddle your surfboard directly in the direction of the beach. Try riding whitewater first to lessen the chances of being hit in the head by falling in front of the board (if you fall off the board, stay under water for 5 seconds and put your hand in front of your face and head to help in case the board is recoiling). If you surface to early, you may pay for your decision by drawing blood.

Once you feel the whitewater moving the board, you will jump into the proper surfing stance in one quick motion (I repeat, do not go to your knees!). Keep your head up, aim your shoulder to the nose of the board, do not look down at the board, and BEND YOUR KNEES!! If you do not bend your knees, and you will not keep your balance and you will fall into the water. Remember the game the wave and surfboard wants to play. “Let’s Hit the Surfer in the Head with the Surfboard”™

Now after you have mastered the pop up in the whitewater you now want to challenge what the ocean has to deal you. In small surf you paddle out into the lineup, in a less crowded spot for safety. You see the wave coming in before it breaks and you align your surfboard directly to the beach and begin paddling. You feel the board starting to move a little faster than your paddle speed, then you jump into the proper surfing stance before the board drops down the face of the wave. If you get up to late, the board will dig the nose under water and you will fly off the surfboard (remember to stay under water for safety). Try again until you can get the feel of the boards position into the wave. Rinse and repeat often until you get comfortable with this exercise. If you don’t get it, give us a call at 321-956-3268 for professional instruction where we will make a positive difference.

How to pop up correctly for surfing

Since surfing has been around, surfer’s have been doing the pop up or hop up. The pop up or hop up is a full range motion that takes a person from lying down in a prone position (face down) to standing erect (upright) in a surfer’s stance over top of your feet. More and more surfer’s who learn on their own, and many younger surfers practice the incorrect technique for getting up on their boards (owned or rented). If you go to your knees and then to your feet, you’ll be to close to the middle, front on the board and it will allow the nose to dig water and you to fly off the board. If your pop up continues, you will allow the surfboard to eventually hit you in the head (It’s the law of averages).

In order to limit being hit in the head a surfer has to make one quick pop up motion into the proper surfing stance. Most of the younger students can’t comprehend the right techniques due to an inability to understand what the movement is. Older (over 35 years of age), new surfers may not have the right amount of upper body strength to make it up into the correct position. Whatever the reason is, it’s very important to learn the correct technique for this maneuver. I’ve seen different techniques on TV and in person,  but they have not worked at all for the persons learning surfing.

The first thing to do is get prepared by increasing your upper body strength. Do some push-ups to increase your shoulder and tricep strength. If you are in good physical shape this is not as necessary, but will help train the muscles to get ready. Do as many pushups as possible, if you can do only ten, then try to do twelve the next time. Add more reps each time to help with increasing your upper body ability to thrust you into stance.

To pop up start from a lying, face down position you will need to make like you’re in the push-up setting. In one quick movement to standing in the surf stance. You will have to blast off the ground to complete this quickly placing your feet under your body. This is a one step process, not two, or three. When you practice this you will become more familiar and comfortable. If you go to your knees then to your feet, you will press down on the rear deck of the surfboard, upon unweighted to go to your feet the nose of the board will drop underwater and you’ll crash and burn. This is why it is very important to do this in one quick movement. It is very important to not hold on the rails of the surfboard when doing this maneuver. If you hold the rails of the surfboard it will cause a whipping affect with your arms flying over you head and making you fall backwards into the water.

The best system is to place your hands under your chest at your shoulders and spring up into either a regular foot stance (left shoulder is aligned to the nose of the surfboard), or a goofy foot stance (right shoulder is aligned to the nose of the surfboard). You must have your head up, shoulder pointed at the nose of the surfboard, and your knees have to be bent in this maneuver to have propper success. Any deviation from this will result in unfavorable near misses. Once you get hit in the head, you can not take it back. There is no returning to before it happened. Practice this at home, or wherever you can. When going to try this in the water make sure to use the whitewater (the foam that is a bi-product of the wave breaking and mixing with air) to make it safer for you.

Once you have got this down you will see better results more and often. Keep those feet under you body and in the center of the board. Pressure on one rail or the other will cause the surfboard to turn in the direction of the rail that’s under pressure. Use the right size surfboard, and also choose smaller waves that are less likely to get you into trouble. Practice, practice, practice. You want this to be like riding a bike, a no-brainer (it means that you don’t have to think about it).

If you find yourself having trouble, contact us and we will show you the proper style for popping up, and guide you into your surfing success making your time well spent. My system is the best for making you happier, and safer when working on riding your surfboard. Happy surfing!!