I wrote a more recent post with a great video on how to make organic surf wax here.
Sourcing your own surf wax is without a doubt the most ecologically friendly way to wax your surfboard. When you make surf wax yourself you cut down the need to truck it around (how Patagonia accounts for the ecological effect of making things.) Shipping of materials and products is without a doubt the most ecologically taxing aspect of our economy. If you make your surf wax at home, you do the earth a favor.
I recommend starting with a small batch and developing your process. Once you get a great recipe for the best surf wax, then expand into greater production. If you could cut the delivery of petroleum based surf wax from being trucked down to your little surf town, you would be doing mother ocean a favor.
Essential ingredients for your Eco Wax:
- 4 parts bees wax
- 1 part fragrant oil
- 1 part sap
6 parts all together. It could be 6 oz., 6 gallons or 6 tons. Depends on how big you want to go!
First you need to harvest some sap from a local sappy tree. Pine trees work great from my experience. If you want to get cutting edge, you can develop your own sap based waxes. You might have the next best thing oozing out one of the trees in your backyard.
To harvest sap from pine trees you can use a strategy utilized by Chico Mendez and the rubber tappers of the Amazonian rainforest. These are the guys that harvested rubber from trees before it was synthesized and made into a petroleum product (read about it here and learn about the destruction in the Amazon Rain Forest.)
Now to make the best surf wax you need to go about getting the best sap. To harvest sap you want to carve a small sap drainage ditch into the bark of the best sap tree you can find. You want this little ditch to be about .5-1 inch deep. Make this cut in a loop around the tree as if a lasso was hanging on the trunk. Start the ditch high and work your way lower and lower as you go. Have the ditches meet at the opposite side of the tree from the high point. The whole sap drainage ditch should flow down to a single point. At this point you want to set up a container to collect the sap at a single source. It will take somewhere between 1 and 4 days to collect a good amount of sap to make your surf wax. It really depends on how big a batch your going for.
Second, you want to source some bees wax. This can be a difficult mission on your own so I really recommend you get a bee keeper around to help you get the stuff. You will hopefully be getting some really good organic wax. This stuff will have lots of old dead bee parts in it. You will want to heat the wax up to a liquid state and then run it through a cheese cloth to get all of these materials out. Your hippie friends might think it’s a cool thing to have your surf wax be littered with dead bee parts, but most people will be put off by it. To heat the bees wax, you will want to use the same system as explained below for mixing the ingredients together.
Your third ingredient will be a fragrant oil of some sort. This could range from the ever popular coconut oil to some more exotic oils like macadamia nut oil. You can explore the different options yourself and develop your own greatest surf wax in the world. It would be really interesting to see some surfboard wax made of lavender oil or teatree oil.
Now that you have your four ingredients for your surfboard wax you want to measure out the correct parts (4 parts wax, 1 part oil, 1 part sap.) Break these ingredients down into the smallest physical parts possible and place them in a cook top safe container.
Place the container with your ingredients in another stove top safe container with water in it. Make sure the water in the outer container won’t be able to easily enter your interior wax container. Heat the surfboard wax mixture until it is completely liquid.
After you liquify your ingredients you will want to stir them really well. All you need to do at this point is pour the liquid into some disposable containers. You want your containers to represent the final product shape that you desire. The wax must be able to exit the containers like water is able to exit ice trays. The liquid wax will solidify and be difficult to remove from the containers if they aren’t shaped well for molds. Plus, good molding will be part of good branding.
With the liquid wax in the containers you only have to wait about an hour and the wax will solidify beautifully. Remove the wax and label it. It’s important to label all your early waxes so that you can test what makes the best wax. With proper labeling, you can further develop your recipe to perfection.
All your attempts are worth documenting. Keep diligent notes about each batch. Keep expanding on the strengths of each wax and phase out unneeded parts. If you can make a really great long lasting wax, you could change the industry forever!
If you do make the best wax yet, make sure to send us a bar at best surf wax dot com. We can tell you what we think.
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Thanks for reading!