cleaned surfboard

How to Clean a Surfboard?

Surfboards are beautiful pieces of equipment. Besides aesthetics, they have a specific purpose they’re designed for – to surf a specific wave. Whether you own a fiberglass or an epoxy surfboard – they do need regular “maintenance” every now and then.

Surfboard maintenance consists of:

  • Rinse the board with clear water after each use.
    Saltwater has its pros and cons, but they do weaken the outer resin over longer periods of time. It’s a fact.
  • Remove all the wax and replace it with a new layer periodically.
    Here’s a personal preference on how often one likes to keep their wax and surfboard up-to-date. 
  • Check for bumps and bruises.
    To prevent any saltwater from entering the core – examine the surfboard all-around when you’ve cleaned off the old wax. Repair if needed.
  • Check fin screws & leash.
    To maximize your effort on each session, make sure that the leash hasn’t got any damage, and the fin screws are tightened properly. Surfboard fins tend to work loose over time (Make sure not to over-tightened the fins).
  • Use a cover bag or a sock regularly.
    This will protect the board from damages and UV rays.
epoxy vs fiberglass board
They do need a good clean-up

Read more about the benefits of cleaning your surfboard down below!



How To Clean a Surfboard?

1. Rinse the board with clean water, and let it dry.

It is recommended to clean the surfboard (and a wetsuit) with fresh water after each use. Some beach breaks have a designated shower for that.

showers at beach
Beach showers – an overlooked luxury

As saltwater has the tendency to ‘stick’ on the board, and microscopically dry up the outer layer, make sure to clean the surfboard every time. We all know that saltwater consists of tiny particles of actual salt, and that kind of rubs the outer layer. There’s also sand in the mix!

If there are no showers nearby you can clean your surfboard in your backyard, or under the shower at home.




2. Let it sit under the sun for 15-20 minutes.

This will loosen up the wax making it easy to scrape off later.

*Bear in mind that it is not recommended to leave a surfboard under the sun for extended periods of time. UV rays are quite damaging!

surfboard on the sun
Let it sit under the sun for 15-30 minutes.


You can also use a specific surfboard wax removable spray which is a liquid designed exactly for that. Leave it on for 10 minutes and you’ll see miracles happening.

wetsuit removal detergent

MSRP: $15

*Make sure to rinse/wipe off the residue later on as the wax removal liquid tends to prevent the new layer from sticking.




3. Grab your wax comb and get to the fun part.

Here’s something for all the OCD surfers – the most satisfying part of this whole process.

cleaning surfboard

There are no strict recommendations on how to use the surfboard wax comb properly. I’ve used the smooth edge of the wax comb to remove a majority of old wax in a side-to-side motion, and the round bit to get inside bumps. Although wax combs are rubbery – make sure not to be too harsh on the board.




4. Collect the old wax

Now we’re talking.

By the way, any ideas on where to re-use the old surfboard wax?

removing surfboard wax




5. Examine the board

Once the board is cleaned by softening the wax under the sun or by a wax-removal detergent, examine the board for dings and dents. Damages tend to happen out of nowhere and they can be hard to spot under a layer of wax. Although wax prevents water from entering the board to some degree, it is better to be safe than sorry.

cleaned surfboard




6. Now’s the point you regret not buying a wax-removal detergent.

If you don’t have a wax-removal spray, you are going to have a hard time getting the board fully clean. Having a properly cleaned surfboard for sale earns a few extra points and the price won’t have a reason to negotiate as well.

Do you know an alternative way to clean off the residue?

semi cleaned surfboard
Specific wax-remover works wonders for finishing touches, without that your board will look like this.

It is obviously not crucial to clean the board each time as you are going to re-apply a new layer. Although if you use a wax-removing detergent, make sure to wipe it off with clean water afterward.




What are the Benefits of Cleaning Your Surfboard Regularly?

  1. Pleasing aesthetics.
  2. Your wetsuit won’t get as dirty.
  3. You can keep your eye out for damages.
  4. Your board will last longer if you rinse the saltwater off regularly.
  5. The board stays stronger.
  6. Increased longevity.
  7. Better re-sell value.
broken surfboard
It was probably long dead before it snapped in half


Read next

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Find what you can use to surf a wave.

7 Electrical Devices for Surfers
At a sport with literally no electrical assistance.

44 Best Surf Brands
Clothing, surfboards, wetsuits.

best surf brands

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I created Nulltuul to share my experience, research and analysis with other surf enthusiasts out there. If I'm not surfing on my travels - I like to photograph waves, surfers, and the surf lifestyle in general.

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