Updated July 2nd, 2023
Getting a new snowboard is one of the happiest days for any snowboarder. There is nothing like picking up a new snowboard and heading to the slopes. You may be asking yourself, do I need to wax a new snowboard before riding it the first time?
Do snowboards come waxed from the factory? Will you hurt it by not waxing it? Are the edges sharpened or do they need a full tune before you ride it the first time?
The quick answer is that you should get your snowboard waxed before using it. It does come with a wax and tune from the factory so you won’t hurt it by riding on it right away.
Do I Need To Wax A New Snowboard?
All new snowboards are waxed and tuned at the factory before being shipped. The main purpose of this wax is to protect the snowboard base during shipping. This wax is the cheapest wax the snowboard manufacturer could find and they apply it as quickly and cheaply as possible.
The wax seals the base of the snowboard and keeps water from getting into the core. Many snowboards have wood cores and wood doesn’t like water. The wax also provides a slippery surface to glide over the snow. Wax protects your snowboard and makes it perform better.
Some snowboard manufacturers put more care into their factory wax than others. If you read snowboarding forums or Reddit you will see a thousand answers for which snowboards come waxed good and which don’t. For every post saying one manufacturer is good, there is another who said the opposite.
The best thing to do is either have your snowboard waxed at a ski shop or wax your snowboard yourself (it’s easy). This way you will have fresh wax that is correct for your snow conditions.
You can’t overdo snowboard waxing. There is no such thing as getting too much wax into your bases.
Do new snowboards come waxed?
All snowboards are waxed as part of the manufacturing process. This is called the “factory wax”. You will never get a new snowboard from any manufacturer that has no wax on it. It may not be the best wax job in the world. It is good for riding at least a few times before the snowboard really needs waxed.
How do you wax a brand new snowboard?
The easiest way to wax a new snowboard is to take it to a snowboard shop. The next easiest way is to wax it yourself. Snowboards aren’t cheap so a few extras dollars for wax when you buy that snowboard is a small price to protect it from water intrusion and make it perform better.
If you want to wax a snowboard yourself, it’s easy. The essentials are an iron (a clothes iron without steam works), a scraper, and wax. Swix makes really good wax and tools for snowboard tuning. The below video gives a quick lesson on how to wax a snowboard. They mention using a specific waxing iron. It can be done with a clothes iron. I waxed mine with one for years growing up. As long as the temperature can be adjusted low and there aren’t a ton of steam holes on the iron you are good.
☆ Recommended Gear
- WAXING IRON – 110V/800W iron with adjustable temperature and thick metal sole. The adjustable temperature range is 100℃/ 212℉ to 170℃/338℉.
- CLEANING AND WAXING TOOLS – We have a complete waxing kit, including cleaning tools, which include sandpaper (for polishing the edge), fibertex pad, metal scraper, wax scraper (230mm/9.06inch length), and Nylon/Brass/Horsehair Brushes.
- UNIVERSAL WAX – Includes all temperature wax that is simple and efficient to use.
- SHARPEN EDGES AND BASE REPAIRS – 7cm and 20cm files for edge sharpening and detuning and a Side Edge Sharpener which can be set at 86°, 87°, 88°, or 89°
- STORAGE BAG, APRON, AND ACCESSORIES – Includes a handy storage bag that can store all the tools and an apron. As a bonus, there are 2 ski brake retainer bands and a set of snowboard binding screws.
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Do you need to tune a new snowboard?
Snowboards are sharpened at the factory as part of the assembly process. The edges will have a basic tune on them. Many advanced snowboarders prefer some bevel and shape to their edges. They will tune new snowboards before skiing them to get their preferred edge profile. As a beginner to an intermediate snowboarder, you won’t notice the difference if your edges have a bevel or not. If you have to ask whether a new snowboard needs its edges sharpened than the answer is no.
What to do to a new snowboard before riding?
You don’t really need to do anything to a new snowboard before riding it because it will come waxed. Factory edges will be sharpened. However some people like to fine tune their boards a bit before riding them. If you want to supercharge your new board you can do the following:
- Remove all the extra warning stickers and other junk form the board
- Detune the tips and edges near the tips using a gummy stone. You can dull the first few inches of the tip and tail so they won’t catch which can make the board feel better on the snow. You will be less likely to catch an edge.
- Wax the bottom of the board. A few coats of wax can fully seal the bottom of the board. Use wax that is appropriate to your snow conditions instead of all temperature universal wax.
Snowboards need to be waxed when the base dries out and has no wax in it anymore. You will see areas of white chalky appearance in the base where it has no wax. These areas form along the edges and spread into the middle. When there is no wax your snowboard bottom will feel rough and dry. When they have wax they will feel smooth and slick. You might notice that your snowboard also starts sticking to the snow when it needs to be waxed.
How to tell if a snowboard needs wax?
There is no overdoing wax on your snowboard. There is no such thing as waxing it too much. Not enough wax can damage a snowboard when water gets into the wood cores. When in doubt, add more wax. You’ll never be wrong.
How often should I wax my snowboard?
There is a giant range of opinions on this. Some people say you should wax your snowboard after every 6 to 8 hours of snowboarding. That is 1 long day of riding. Most people do not wax their snowboard that often. Every 5 to 10 days snowboarding during the winter is a good interval.
Many people get a wax and tune at the start of the season and don’t touch their snowboard for the rest of the winter. If your someone who only snowboards a few days a winter that can be enough.
Once you get to spring boarding where sap and other junk start floating up in the melting snow you need to wax more often. If you snowboard somewhere with high junk content in the snow you might need to scrape and wax after every session. If the snow is cleaner with less tree sap then you can do it every few snowboarding days. Look at your snowboard at the end of the day and see if there is sap or other residue building up on the bottom.
Can you try out a new snowboard before buying?
Yes you can. Many ski resorts have demo boards available in addition to normal rentals. Demos will be the latest hot model snowboards. If you are looking to demo a particular board, call around to different ski resorts to find out what they have. All of them do not have every board available for demo.
Congratulations on getting a new snowboard. If you are wondering do I need to wax a new snowboard? Yes, you should so go get it the wax job it deserves. Your snowboard will perform better with the correct wax for your snow conditions. It will have a solid layer of wax soaked into the bases to protect it from water. If you are in a super hurry and can’t make it before your next snowboarding day, go ahead and ride it once and take it afterward. I hope you have fun with your new snowboard.
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Co-Founder & Chief Editor
I grew up back east in Pennsylvania and learned to ski on a family trip to Killington, Vermont when I was 6. I immediately fell in love with the mountains and outdoors and have been skiing across the US and Canada ever since. I went to school for Mechanical Engineering, and have a Master’s Degree in Material Science and Reliability.
I am a total gear nerd and love learning how things work and thinking about how they could be improved. Nothing excites me more than trying out new gear. I’d rather spend 3 hours taking my bike apart and learning how to change something than go to a bike shop. These days I reside in Michigan by the Great Lakes and go skiing, biking, and boating as much as possible.