Do I Need To Wax A New Snowboard Before Riding It?

If you’ve just got your new snowboard, are eagerly awaiting one, or are excitedly browsing new ones – then doubtless you’ll also be looking forward to the day you’ll get to take it out and put it through its paces! After all, you’re not just buying it to hang on the wall – no, this new board is going to see a lot of action, and a lot of snow!

Therefore, you might well be wondering about wax too. Will your new board come with any wax applied? If so, how good will it be? And do you need to wax your board before you take it out for a session?

Do I Need To Wax A New Snowboard Before Riding It (3)

Well, don’t worry, because we’ve got the answers to these questions for you right here! You’ll learn everything you need to know about how wax makes your riding better, and keeps your board in good condition!

What Does Waxing a Snowboard Do?

Waxing a snowboard is an essential part of keeping it in the best condition. It should be part of the maintenance routine of every snowboard, as a good coating of wax is not only key to a good ride, but also to ensuring the longevity of your board.

A waxed base will make it much easier to glide over the riding surface, giving you more speed and control. You’ll be able to go faster, move your board better, and have more overall control and fun with a properly waxed board!

It also provides protection from your board drying up. The base of your snowboard is full of tiny pores that absorb the wax – they’re actually a key part of holding the wax onto your board too. When the wax wears off, the snowboard can dry up a little, which can make riding harder and even cause damage in the long run.

Applying wax to your snowboard helps to keep the board hydrated, meaning that your rides will stay smooth and agile – and that your board is going to stay in good condition for much longer.

The wax also stops water from getting into the core of the snowboard. Many snowboards have a core that’s made out of wood. If wood gets wet, it can bend, warp, and even rot! This is another reason why it’s a really good idea to make sure that your board is alway swaxed properly.

EVery snowboarder should learn how to do it, and get used to doing it to their board. Depending on how often you ride, and for how long, you might need to wax your board more or less often – but everyone should wax their board with some regularity.

At the very least, if waxing the board yourself isn’t something you can do easily, and you’d prefer to have a pro do it for you, you should at least make sure to get it done regularly at the store.

Do New Snowboards Already Have Wax?

Yes, they do! It’s a standard part of the manufacturing procedure to wax a snowboard before it leaves the factory. Therefore, whenever you buy a new board, it’ll have some sort of wax protection already applied to it.

However, the application of this wax can vary from factory to factory. Some manufacturers are just better at applying it than others. Also, the amount of time that a snowboard spends between the factory and being bought by you can affect the state of the wax.

The factory wax can of course be used for riding if it’s in good enough condition, but it’s primarily applied to protect the board before it gets bought. After all, it could well be sitting in storage for a while – so it needs a wax coat to protect it, and keep it in good condition!

This means that the wax might well not be at its best by the time it gets to you. It’ll have done its job of keeping the board in the best condition from the time it left the factory to the time that it reached your hands – but its job might well be done from here on out!

Can I Ride Using Just The Factory Wax?

Yes, you can, provided that the wax is in good enough condition. If, after an inspection of your board, you find that the wax looks fine and you feel like it’s OK to ride, then you can of course do so.

That is, of course, only if the wax is in a good state to ride. As previously stated, the wax from the factory is mostly intended to keep the board in good condition in shipping and storage before it reaches the hands of the customer.

Therefore, there’s no guarantee that your board will actually be fine to ride with the factory wax. Always inspect your board before riding anyway – and of course, do so when you’re purchasing a new board. If your wax looks like it needs to be reapplied, then you’re not going to go wrong doing it!

You needn’t worry about overwaxing your board – you basically can’t possibly put too much on! But you can certainly have too little, which is why it’s pretty much always a good idea to wax your snowboard, even if it does have the factory wax.

It’s up to you, of course, and if your factory wax is fine, then you can definitely ride it. However, waxing it before riding, no matter the state of the factory wax, is probably the best option in most cases.

Can I Use My Snowboard Without Any Wax At All?

You can, but you probably really shouldn’t!

First of all – riding without wax is going to be a lot less fun than riding with a properly waxed board will be. You simply won’t be able to go as fast, you won’t have the agility that you’re used to having, and you’ll find yourself getting stuck a lot more often.

You won’t be able to simply glide across the snow anymore – you’ll instead feel more like you’re lumbering with a plank of timber strapped to your feet.

Your board also won’t have the protection that it needs! The elements will be free to attack your board, and they’re very good at doing it. Your base can dry out, and your core can get too wet – as there won’t be any wax to protect either of those things from happening.

In the long term, this isn’t going to do your board any good at all. You’ll more than likely find yourself replacing it a lot sooner than you would do if you’d kept it waxed.

Overall, if you’re riding without wax, you’re doing both yourself and your board a disservice. You’re making it harder for yourself to ride, and you’re shortening the lifespan of your board needlessly too. Take the time and the bit of money it costs to wax your board, and you’ll agree that it’s totally worth it.


How Can I Tell If I Need To Wax My Snowboard?

Once the wax on your snowboard needs to be redone, you’ll be able to spot a few telltale signs. As the baseboard dries out, and the wax wears off, you’ll be able to notice patches where the color of the base looks different.

There will be areas that are whiter than others – chalky looking patches and sections where there isn’t any wax anymore.

These waxless sections will start forming along the edges of your snowboard, and then spread into the middle. If the wax on your board is in good condition, you won’t have any of these patches. Instead, the surface will have a much more uniform appearance.

You can also tell by touch whether the wax on your board needs to be reapplied. If you touch a well waxed board, you’ll notice that it has a really smooth feel to it. You can imagine how it’ll feel when you’re riding across the snow on it! However, a snowboard that doesn’t have a good wax coating will feel much rougher and drier than one that’s well maintained with wax.

You’ll also be able to tell by the way your board performs when you’re riding on it. If you find your speeds dropping, and your board seems to be sticking to the snow more, then it’s another sign that it’s time to get the wax redone.

What Sort Of Base?

There are two types of base that are used on snowboards – extruded and sintered.

Sintered bases need to be waxed more often – and you’ll be able to notice a big difference in the way a well waxed sintered board performs, compared to one that’s not as well waxed. If the wax on this base starts to wear, it’ll be a lot more noticeable than it would be if you’re on an extruded base – especially when you’re on the snow.

An extruded base, on the other hand, will be a lot smoother overall than a sintered base to start with. This means that the smoothness difference between a freshly waxed surface and one where the wax has been ridden for a while won’t be quite as noticable.

Overall, if you’ve got a sintered base, you’re likely going to have to reapply wax more often to your board. You’re also more likely to need to apply wax to a new board, as the factory wax is more likely to be in the condition where you’ll really be better off not relying on it.


No matter how good the factory wax is, you’re unlikely to go wrong with a good application of wax on a new board. If nothing else, for the peace of mind that you’ll have knowing that the state of the wax on your board isn’t something you’ll have to worry about!

Keeping the wax on your board in good condition means you’re helping to preserve your board – and you’re making riding easier too!

About the author

Jesse Blaine

Jesse is the owner of, contributes to a lot of the material, and directs day-to-day operations. He lives in Colorado with his wife and kids and loves the outdoors. He’s an avid skier, hiker, kiteboarder, and adventure sports explorer. Jesse has also traveled the world and lived in five different countries. He speaks several languages and loves communicating with people

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