Surfboard wax is so ingrained into surfing culture that many of us can’t imagine living without it. Beyond the functional aspect, surfboard wax stimulates all the senses: the tropical aroma, the sound as it rubs onto the surfboard surface, watching the gradual emergence of sticky bumps.
Unfortunately, most surf wax is manufactured using paraffin and petroleum jelly – both oil derivatives with dubious health, safety and environmental impact.
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Why use wax?
Wax is so 1900s. Surfers of the future will think it strange that their predecessors rubbed mountains of perfumed solid oil extract onto our surfboards, only to scrape it off intermittently and start all over again.
What a strange and environmentally reckless practice. All credit to our surfing forefathers who realised that dripping candle wax over the deck of their boards provided a way to increase grip but surely we’ve moved on? Do Mrs Palmer (and her five daughters) and Mr Zog have a place in the 21st century and beyond? Do we really need products steeped in innuendo (mostly about self-pleasure) to improve our surfing performance?
A surfboard wax alternative
If you’ve ever tried full deck traction pads you’ll have noticed that they’re not too comfortable, especially when directly in contact with skin. Traction pads are a necessity for the back foot and enable much of the radical shortboard surfing we witness today. But front pads can be uncomfortable and liable to cause major belly rash.
Consumers looking for a wax alternative without having to apply a front deck traction pad will be delighted with a series of products created by a company called RSPro, who are based in Barcelona, Spain.
This is a wax replacement that is thin enough to feel natural, is made of cork, and offers a real and lasting grip.
Benefits of RSPro Grip
No wax marks in the car or on clothes
Even and reliable grip
Super thin surface area, comparable to a fresh wax
Sustainably produced cork
Honeycomb-shaped cells that offer good impact resistance
General dimensions: 39×52 cm (15.3″x20.1″).
4 pieces of 9×41.3cm (3.5″x16.3″).
Net weight: 100 grams (3.5 ounces)
White application paper on top.
Made from cork.
Identical shape angles with HexaTraction for a perfect match.
While applying the RSPro Front Deck Grip to my new Firewire Moonbeam I honestly didn’t expect much. When the grip is dry it doesn’t seem like it will be particularly effective. Perhaps I was just missing the smell of fresh wax (as strong a ritual as the smell of fresh coffee).
However, once the grip got wet it turned into an immensely reliable front foot surface. It is not sticky but it holds tight to your foot through turns.
Not once did I wish for wax. In fact, I really loved the entire experience, from home to surf and back again. Not worrying about wax in the car was particularly enjoyable.
Next step is to try out RSPro’s HexaTraction, which can be used alone or with the Front Deck Grip.
Anything that makes surfing a more environmentally sustainable sport is an important evolution. We can only imagine how much wax ends up in the ocean and in landfill each year. The statistics, if we could find them, would no-doubt be horrifying.
RSPro said, “We want to disrupt grip and traction for watersports. We already started doing it with the launch of the HexaTraction early 2016, but this is only the beginning. Our vision is to completely get rid of wax and embrace the waxless surfing revolution.”
We like this mission. Stick a teeny layer of cork on your new board and never worry about wax on, wax off again.