I’ve been snowboarding for quite a while now. And having met ‘boarders from many states, I’ve found that we’re lively but sometimes lazy.
Most boarders would take the simplest route and pay $30 – $40 to get their snowboards waxed (or tuned), even though it’s incredibly easy to do it on our own.
Sure, the person in the shop is a professional with a bunch of experience. But the irony is that waxing, as an activity, doesn’t require “professional experience.” You just need a bit of practice to nail DIY snowboard waxing. And who knows, you might just take care of YOUR snowboard better than a stranger.
This guide will walk you through how to hot wax a snowboard with the best waxing kits in the market (my honest recommendation, of course).
What is the purpose of waxing snowboards?
If you’re new to snowboarding, let’s quickly clear your doubts first. I’m often asked, “Why do you even need to wax a snowboard? Isn’t it already slippery? And more importantly, isn’t snow already slippery?” All good points, but…
Generally, every snowboards need to be hot-waxed (or tuned) regularly. Snowboarding works by decreasing the friction between the board and the ground, but it doesn’t make it zero. The lingering friction can easily harm the board with a protective layer of wax.
Frequent waxing not only protects the base of your board from harm, but it’ll also enhances your snowboarding experience. An adequately waxed snowboard will slide smoother and much faster because of controlled friction.
So, how to hot wax your snowboard? Let’s find out.
How to wax a snowboard at home?
You’ll either need a snowboard wax kit from a good company, or you can piece together your own waxing kit yourself. Here are the required tools: iron, wax, scraper, piece of cloth, and a structuring brush.
Step 1: Remove The Bindings
Ideally, you can loosen the bindings before using the hot iron. Though you should remove them entirely to be safe, especially for the first few times. The real issue are the binding screws, which can conduct heat and cause structural damage to the board.
Step 2: Clean The Board
The next step is to clean your board thoroughly regardless of whether it was recently used or stored in the attic until the snowboarding season. This is to remove the dirt and old wax (or gunk) before applying a fresh coat, just as you would clean a bike chain before greasing it. You can do it in one of the two ways:
- Using scraper: Use your iron and apply a thin coat of hot wax on the base so that it sticks to the old gunk. And then quickly remove it using a scraper.
- Using a base cleaner: Apply some base cleaning solution on the base that would act as a degreaser.
Finally, clean (or wipe) the board with the cloth. Ideally, you can use either of the two methods, but you might wanna use both depending on the amount and kind of gunk and how hard it’s stuck.
Step 3: Preparing The Wax
Preparing the wax just means melting it before it’s used. It’s called the hot wax method, after all.
I recommend not buying into the marketing gimmicks and just buy a “waxing iron” because the iron at your home is perfectly capable. The only caveat is that it won’t be usable for clothes anymore. In short, only get a new iron if you don’t have an old one at home. Of course, you won’t have this problem if you buy a waxing kit.
Heat the iron to its mean setting and hold the wax near it (and above the board). Hold it still until the wax starts dripping slowly, after which you can move your hands around the board. Cover the corners in a straight line and then zigzag to cover the middle of the board.
Pro Tip: Make sure you get the farthest edges because they suffer from the friction the most.
Step 4: Iron The Base
Let the ironing begin. Ensure the iron isn’t too hot (unless you have one of those fancy automatic irons). Use it in a circular motion on your board without applying too much pressure. Don’t leave the iron on the surface even if it’s “almost” not hot anymore. Keep it moving at all times or put it aside.
Now, let the wax cool off.
Step 5: Finishing Touches
Finally, apply the finishing touches – use your scraper from the nose to the tail of your snowboard in a straight line and in constant motion to get a smooth coat. The idea is to remove extra (non-absorbed), so it doesn’t attract gunk and even out your coating.
Again, pay extra attention to the edges while scraping.
Step 6: Structure Your Base
Use a structuring brush in the same straight line constant motion from nose to tail. It’ll remove the remainder of the excess wax and enhance your board’s performance and lifecycle.
Best Snowboard Wax Kits in 2021
Now, let’s talk about the part you’ve been waiting for – the best kits in 2021. Here are my top choices:
1. Demon Hyper Snowboard Tuning Kit – Editor’s Pick
At a whopping $160, Demon Hyper Snowboard Tuning Kit doesn’t come cheap. But if you have the money to spare, it’s the premium and most self-sufficient snowboard wax kit I have ever used.
It comes with a good-quality base cleaner, edge tuner, a wax iron, and a multi-tool with three diamond files. You can either go with the 1lb wax option or the 2lb one ($200).
This kit is perfect for every scenario, regardless of whether you’re leisurely waxing at home or tuning your board on a trip.
Another excellent kit in this price range is RaceWax Elite Snowboard Waxing Kit. I recommend buying whichever one you can get for a lower price because they are equally good.
2. Demon Complete Basic Tune Kit – Compact & Economical
Complete Basic Tune Kit from Demon is the best compact waxing kit you’ll ever use in the hundred-dollar range. At a price of just $90, it gives you all the waxing essentials – from cloth and base cleaner to edge tuner and wax iron.
You’ll only get about 0.3lbs of wax with this kit. Still, the fantastic price to performance ratio makes it a better and relatively cost-effective choice compared to others. You can always buy Demon’s snowboard wax later.
Another good kit in the same price range is the Winterial Wax Kit.
3. Grayne Snowboard Tuning and Wax Kit – Best For Travel
I usually don’t go for smaller kits because of the inadequate performance, but Grayne’s Snowboard Tuning and Wax Kit surprised me.
At just under $40, this waxing kit is your best travel companion that comes with a six-piece screwdriver, ultra-durable scraper, other tools, and a reasonably good amount of wax for traveling.
Pair it with Demon’s Complete Basic Tune Kit for home, and you’ll have a fantastic wax set for $130.
4. Demon Complete Plus Snowboard Wax Kit – All-Rounder
Demon Complete Plus Wax Kit has everything that the Complete Basic had and more at a price of about $105. The $15 difference ensures you don’t leave any premium features on the table.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. How often should I hot wax my snowboard?
Snowboards should be hot-waxed after every 3-4 rides. It moslty depends on your snowboarding frequency and the type of snow. Because a hot wax on suitable snow terrain would work much better than a cold wax would on the same.
2. What happens if I don’t wax my snowboard?
If you never wax your snowboard, the increased friction will damage the structural integrity of the snowboard until it can’t be used at all. The quality of your snowboarding will also keep degrading over time.
3. Can you use any wax to wax a snowboard?
You can’t use just any wax for your snowboard or ski waxing. Candle wax, for example, would either damage the base of your board or be completely ineffective. Only use a wax that’s exclusively engineered for waxing snowboards and skis.
Yes, you’ll find that all-temperature wax is made of paraffin wax – the same material used in making candles. But you shouldn’t use paraffin wax or the processed form. Find out why and also how to make your own kit in our article: How to make your own Snowboard Waxing Kit?