Whether you’re in the midst of a snowboarding season or summer, you should always take good care of your board. It means waxing it regularly so it stays in good shape.
You’ve probably read dozens of articles, blogs, forums, or tutorials on snowboard waxing. Most likely, you’ve searched for board waxes in both online and brick-and-mortar stores. And still, you’re not sure what makes the good board wax and what kind of wax you should actually use.
It’s simple – if you’re not sure about the right wax and on the top of it, or if you’re confused by ads and recommendations, just buy ski wax. Ski and snowboard wax are exactly the same. Once you purchase the wax, you need to know how to use it properly and what type of wax suits your personal type of snowboarding.
But what about hockey wax? It’s ice and snow, right? It should be the same.
If you wonder whether a hockey wax can work on your snowboard, most sources you can find seem to be treating them like they’re the same. Some boarders use Howies Hockey wax, as it is almost identical to snowboard wax. For them, the hockey wax works just fine. There’s no difference, except stick wax is softer and smells better.
To learn about the subtle details of both snowboard waxes and hockey waxes and more about the fine art of snowboard waxing, we recommend reading this article.
Table of Contents
Why Do You Need Snowboard Wax?
The main reason you need to wax your snowboard is – you want to go faster. How does it work? The wax on the base of the board melts the snow and creates a thin layer of water between the snow and the board. By taking away some of the friction, it enables the board to go faster. And it also protects your equipment.
Even if you are an average border, applying any universal wax will make your ride considerably better.
How to Wax Your Equipment
If you’re don’t mind the price of it, you can take your board to the board shop and get it waxed by a professional. However, you can opt for a less expensive alternative and do it on your own. There are many ways you can wax your board, including hot waxing and rub-on waxing, each with its own level of effectiveness.
Block Wax is the most common style of wax. If you’re using block wax (hot-waxing), you’ll need about 12-15 grams of wax. The best way to do it is to flip the board over so the base is facing upward. Use a base cleaner to remove any dirt from the base before you apply the wax. Then use an iron to melt the wax over the board.
Once you’ve finished dripping the wax onto the board, rub the iron around to melt the wax drips into a liquid form. Make sure to move the iron constantly, so that the layers of the board do not get separated. The best way to do it is to maintain moderate heat while melting the wax.
Wait at least 8 hours for the wax to dry and scrape all of the wax off the board with a board scraper and you’re ready to ride.
Alternatively, you can rub on the wax if hot waxing sounds too complicated and cork it in. This way, you’ll be able to use the stick longer, but it will wear your base off much faster.
This is a great on-the-go quick wax. You can find it in a block or in a roll-on container. This wax is not a replacement for hot wax but can be a great help when you start feeling a little sticky in the middle of the ride.
If you’re using liquid wax, you’ll need a cloth or an applicator to apply it on the board base. Basic liquid wax typically lasts 24 hours. It stays in a liquid form longer than hot wax, thereby penetrating the base better. Liquid wax is often blended with different levels of fluorocarbon waxes for better glide.
This quick wax can be found in a universal temperature range and is considered the most economical type. All you need is a piece of cloth/applicator to apply it easily. You can use it once, but it may be really handy in a pinch, or as an overlay for extra glide.
You can only apply this wax after layers of block wax. Just sprinkle it onto your board and polish it in thoroughly with a cork. Powder waxes tend to be expensive because of a large amount of fluorocarbon.
You need several layers of high-end block wax to apply spray wax. For best results, you should spray the wax on the board base and allow it to absorb and dry for at least five minutes. Same as with powder wax, you can use a cork to buff it thoroughly.
The interesting thing about the different applications of waxes is that you can mix and match them to achieve desired results. If you are waxing your board on your own, you are free to experiment with different waxes to see what works best for you.
Types of Wax
Ski and snowboard wax are practically the same, but there are different types of wax you can use depending on weather conditions and temperatures.
- Hydrocarbon Wax: This is a standard-type wax you can find in any snowboard shop if you’re looking for a normal bar of wax.
- Fluorocarbon Wax: This is the more expensive wax that most professionals prefer to use. Many waxes come with different amounts of fluorocarbon added. They may be a bit pricey, but they will repel much more water and therefore guaranteed to make you ride faster.
This type of wax is used by most racers. Depending on the amount of fluorocarbon, there are four types of this wax: low, high, pure, and hybrid. While most amateurs use low fluorocarbon and hybrids. High and pure fluorocarbons are better for professional borders. More fluorocarbon means they’re more difficult to apply, and they’ll be more expensive
Other Types of Wax
- Base Prep Wax. This is a super-absorbent soft wax. It absorbs deep into your base. You can apply it before any kind of wax you usually use as a top layer to protect your gear for a longer period.
- Plant-Based Wax. Ideal for eco-conscious boarders and skiers, this wax is made from a mix of naturally occurring waxes. There is no significant difference between plant-based waxes and standard hydrocarbon, but they are a bit more expensive.
- Recycled Wax. This wax is made from all the wax remnants that get remelted into a whole new product. It is typically limited to all temp, and a bit cheaper than non-recycled waxes.
- Graphite Wax. Graphite wax does not provide much protection to your base, which is why you need to mix it with standard hydrocarbon wax or fluorocarbons. The graphite helps to reduce static friction.
Waxes by Temperature
- All temp wax. This is perfect for boarders who need one wax formula for different temperatures and snow conditions. All temp wax can be found as a traditional melt-on or rub-on wax.
- Cool temp wax. Designed to perform best in moderate winter conditions, cool wax provides the best glide in 28° to 21° F temperatures.
- Cold temp wax. If you ride in freezing conditions, cold temperature wax is a perfect choice. Cold wax formulas perform best in 23° to 12° F temperatures.
- Warm temp wax. A great choice for riding in warmer temperatures and slushy snow. Designed for temperatures 26° to 32° F +.
Depending on ice quality in different rinks, players face the issue of snow building up on their blades. That’s why many manufacturers have started designing hockey waxes to help prevent ice and snow build-up. For better glide and better puck control. Even though the tape doesn’t need it, stick wax may be used to prolong the tape job.
Some players use hockey stick wax to enhance their control of the puck. They apply it in a thin layer to the tape on the stick blade to provide a stickier grip for the tape. It is also effective against moisture from the ice that reduces the effectiveness of hockey tape and may damage the stick blade.
Typically made of a combination of moldable wax substances, hockey stick waxes are similar to the wax used in candles. They can be found in different colors and are usually scented and in a disc shape.
You should use the wax abundantly but if you apply too much, it may become bumpy on the tape. The goal is to maintain the flat natural style of the tape, or else the puck may feel slippery on the tape. We recommend waxing the edge of the toe of the blade if you tape your stick over the toe. This way you’re likely to strengthen the tape job.
The benefits of using stick wax notwithstanding, very few NHL players actually use it because they have a rack of sticks with new tape and fresh ice each period.
Can You Use Hockey Wax on Snowboards?
Hockey stick waxes as there are designed to prevent ice and snow build-up on the tape and prevent the tape from getting soggy. Board wax is typically much harder than stick/sex wax which is designed to increase grip. On the other hand, board wax should increase glide.
Obviously, there’s no specific limitation to using hockey stick wax on your board. The fact that stick waxes are similar to the wax used in candles, doesn’t mean you should use candle wax on a snowboard, though. Candle wax can ruin your board and make your ride slower. You can also try with skateboard wax but it doesn’t mean you’ll achieve the same results. Yet, it’s another story altogether.