If you have been around snowboarding for some time then you know that you should wax your board periodically but what you may not know is that most boards come with wax from the factory. In fact, many people often ride their new boards without waxing them one bit. You may be asking yourself “Do you need to wax a new snowboard?”
Snowboard companies manufacture their boards and put a light coat of wax on them so it is generally not necessary to wax a new snowboard. Keep in mind this is a light coat of wax and will only last 5-7 days of normal riding.
If you want to have your board much smoother on your first ride then it is recommended that you go ahead and apply some of your own wax to the board to ensure you get the best performance out of your new ride. A snowboard with little to no wax will go much slower than a board that is properly waxed so if you are a beginner, factory wax will be fine for the first week or so.
There are all kinds of great waxes over at Amazon if you want to check them out and put some fresh wax on your new board before you hit the slopes.
If you want to ensure your board has maximum performance and life then you most definitely do need to wax your new snowboard. The fact that it comes with a THIN coat of wax from the factory does not mean you should neglect waxing it. This thin coat of wax is just like the thin coat of lubrication that car parts get coming from the factory. It is meant to protect during shipping and handling and you should lubricate them before installing them in your car. The same goes for a factory wax job on a snowboard.
The main reason that snowboard manufacturers put wax on the boards is to protect the bottom of the board during shipping and handling and to keep the base of it from dying out.
REI says there are 2 reasons you need to wax skiis or a snowboard and they are for:
Speedier gear: Even if you’re a beginner, you’ll enjoy a smoother slope experience if you wax; you’ll also appreciate some extra speed when you’re ready to graduate from snowplow turns to parallel turns—or from skidding turns to carving turns on a snowboard.
Healthier gear: Wax can’t save you from gouges caused by exposed rocks, but it will seal bases to prevent them from drying out—kind of like applying a moisturizer to your skin. Dried out bases are prone to delaminating.
Factory wax is generally an all purpose (temperature) wax that is meant to protect the board until you, the customer, buys it and gets it ready for the slopes. Good quality snowboard wax is more friendly and better for different temperatures because not every mountain is the same. These snowboard waxes are designed to work best in their set temperature range so make sure you figure out which is best for you.
However, you can go all season or for a couple of seasons without waxing the board at all. Be aware that this will decrease performance and decrease the life of your board. Some people buy new boards every year or so and don't even bother waxing their boards while I have seen others say that they wax their board at least every 2 trips to the slopes.
If you want to protect your board and save a little bit of money at the same time, the cheap all temperature waxes do a good enough job to protect your board if you are a casual to semi casual snowboarder.
If you still aren't sure what you prefer then take your new board with its factory wax out for a few sessions. Before your third session, go get your board professionally waxed with a good quality snowboard wax and you will be able to tell a big difference in performance between the 2 types of waxes.
You may be asking yourself when you should wax a new snowboard and that can vary, mostly in preference. I have a few general guidelines on when to wax a new snowboard that can help you figure out when the best time to wax is for you.
Since you have no real way of knowing when your board was produced, it is a good idea to get some new wax on your board. Chances are that your new snowboard has been standing in the shop for quite some time and has aged and gotten a little bit dry. The plastic opens up and your board loses performance as the wax pages and deteriorates.
Snowboard companies put a thin layer of factory wax on their boards so there is really no need to wax your board immediately. This usually only lasts for about a week worth of boarding before it is time to put some new wax on.
Wax repels water and makes it so that when you are sliding across snow, you are actually melting some of the snow due to friction between it and the board.This helps the base of the snowboard glide across the snow much easier than without the wax.
Over time, the wax gets rubbed off and the dry base does not repel water as well which causes you to slow down.
You will be able to tell when you need to wax your board when the base of it starts to turn white around the edges, since this is the primary area where the snowboard is utilized.
If you are starting to venture into doing tricks and rail slides or if you are already a freestyle type of rider, then you may want to go ahead and beef up your factory wax job before you head out to the slopes.
You are going to be sliding over metal and wooden rails instead of snow so you are most definitely going to cheer through that factory wax job fairly quick. Not only will adding a fresh thick coat of wax help you go faster, it will help protect the base of your board from scratches and gouges.
Let's be honest here, we don't always have the best terrain to ride on due to the weather but we normally go out and ride anyway because it is so much fun. Hard packed snow or ice can have a similar effect as doing rail slides by gouging and scratching the board and wax can help to protect from this.
Almost all wax that snowboard manufacturers put on their boards lasts about 5-7 days of normal riding on decently packed or powdery snow. It can last a few days more if it is a hot wax versus a rub on wax.
If you like to hit the park and the rails, your factory wax will only last about 2-3 days at the most. When in doubt, just go ahead and wax up your new snowboard.
If you only ride a few times a season, less than 10 sessions, then you will probably only require a wax job on your snowboard once a year. If you ride 50 plus days a season, chances are you will need to wax your board 5-7 sessions depending on terrain, snow conditions, and type of riding.
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