No Need For Surf Wax! All surfers need surf wax so we don’t slip off our boards and look like kooks, surely!
A lot of the waxes we’ve used in the past have a negative impact on our environment. So, my mission is to find an alternative to using toxic wax. Plus, I was getting fed up with the wax melting in the sun and staining my van, although it does smell nice!
I’ve tried a few eco waxes and none of them were any good. Things are improving and I still hold hope for a quality sustainable product that we can use for our beloved sticks.
Then I figured, what if I don’t actually need to use wax!! Then I could be in the water catching sets before my buddies even had time to get the wax out of the box!! Winner!!!
So I started exploring different options and one of them was actually a simple one. Grip tape for surfboards has become a thing now and there are a couple of companies that are exploring this option.
Whilst trawling the internet, I came across the brand RSPro, who have produced the Hexa Traction grip tape among a lot of other cool products. These guys are hailing from Barcelona and all the RSPro products are designed and made in Spain.
Gone are the melted wax stories, it’s clean looking, transparent so you can still see your board graphics, super light and not as abrasive as you might suspect. What I like about the website and the product is that they get straight to the point. They don’t chuck a bunch of fancy jargon down your throat to persuade you to buy their product!
So I’ll do you the same courtesy…..it does exactly what it says on the tin and is easy to install.
I tested the grip on 2 boards, my chubby small wave board, the Panda Doinker 5’5 and the Lost Short Round 5’8 which covers small to bigger surf.
Testing was done in France, Ireland, Scotland, Portugal and Morroco in a range of hip high to overhead waves. I was wearing a wetsuit and didn’t get to test in board shorts.
One pack only just about covered my 5’5, which doesn’t have a tail pad. One pack easily covered the 5’8 which did have a tail pad, so I had a few hexagons spare…which gave me room to make mistakes…I made 2. It’s really easy to install and once the 5’5 Panda board was clean, I managed to get the job done in 1 hour and ready to surf. It will be less if you have a tail pad on your board already.
Here’s a video to show you how it’s done(I didn’t actually use water to get the pads in place, but think I would try it next time)
Now, did it work for me!?
No, then yes………then no, then yes.
Psychologically it was weird to not wax up the board before surfing and at first touch, before the surface gets wet, it really doesn’t feel like it will grip! I didn’t have much confidence at the beginning and started very tentatively. I’ll be honest, it took some getting used to it.
The first thing I noticed was whilst paddling, if I didn’t maintain consistent and even pressure on the board, then the board would shift under me. Whilst catching the first wave, the board actually popped forward and I found my myself fairly far back on the tail. I did start to doubt the grip potential!!
I then actually found this a positive thing and it meant I had to focus on a more stable and fluid paddle technique. Once I had that dialled I was gliding smoothly and a lot more efficiently than before, without the board shifting under me.
On my second take off my front foot slipped off the front. This had me fine tuning my techniques and the same was said for my general surfing skills using the grip tape. I’d say it made me a better surfer and more aware of what I was doing in critical parts of my surfing, especially when it came to foot placement, weight distribution and shifting my feet position. The problems I faced weren’t the grip’s fault, it was my bad technique!!
Once I’d made these adjustments I’d say that it weirdly works really well, I was really pleasantly surprised and I’ll be keeping the pads on my boards. I really like the fact I don’t have to wax my board every time and that I don’t have the wax melt problem.
It will be interesting to see how they stand the test of time and how it will work when surfing in boardies.
It actually works and grips really well.
It’s a great alternative to wax.
It actually looks pretty cool.
No more wax and no more melted wax!
I’m a fan and I’ll keep using it for sure. I haven’t tested it in proper big surf and I might be hesitant, but for the smaller stuff I’m quids in.
I look forward to testing it in warmer surf whilst wearing boardshorts to test the chest/rash scenario.
I had a few questions for the guys at RSPro. Carles was very quick and kind to reply with the following…..
SB: How long do you think this grip tape will keep it’s traction for if you surf on a regular basis?
Carles: In laboratory conditions the durability is exceptional but it's difficult to correlate with real world. We have customers with more than 10 months on them and counting.
SB: You don’t claim to have a more eco and sustainable approach, but do you think this is a more viable product than wax?
Carles: Of course it is. As you don't need to constantly add wax that melts into the water, on the sand, air, etc ....
SB: It’s not the cheapest product, do you see the price coming down as popularity grows?
Carles: It would be easy for us to say yes, but I doubt so, as the manufacturing process is quite complex and time consuming and we'll never trade cost for quality.
SB: Is it hard is it to remove the pads?
Carles: Super easy, apply some gentle heat with a hairdryer and voilà: you have a new looking board.
SB: What is the best way to clean the pads when they get dirty over time?
Carles: Just with fresh water.
SB: Is there anything else you would like to add for our readers?
Carles: Less is more.
SB: A big thank you to Carles for taking the time to answer our questions and we wish you all the best.
If anyone out there has had any experience with RSPro or similar products, please feel free to share with us your thoughts.
Cheers and happy surfing.