Wakesurf Board: Wax vs Traction

Posted by Brock Dumoit on

Wax or traction? Pick your poison - or grip.

It’s a big question in the wakesurf community and there are strong opinions on both sides. One is messy, but the other doesn’t allow for maximum flexibility attempting tricks. Which is best?

Below, we’ve given you some pros and cons of both, and you can decide which works best for you.


(Related: Learn the differences in Surf Style, Hybrid, and Skim Style boards)

Wakesurf Board Wax

Wax has been around far longer and has a proven track record among pros. Purchased as a “block,” it’s the wakesurfer's discretion how it's applied. Two of our favorites are Sticky Bumps, and Viskus


  1. You better feel the vibrations of the board helping you respond your movement to counter or work with the board.
  2. It’s cheaper. Wax generally costs less than traction over time.
  3. Get a cleaner look. With wax, the gorgeous design of your wakesurf board shines through.
  4. You can cover the entire board. A wakesurfer has the ability to really move around on the board without worrying about where the traction pads are.


  1. It’s a bit messy. Wax inevitably gets on your feet and can track into the boat. The board can get messy, too and needs to be stored so the wax stays where it belongs. A board bag is helpful. 
  2. If you're a traveling wakesurfer, you"ll need to change waxes based on the climate. In hot climates/warm water, use warm weather wax. When in cold climates/cool water, cold wax is necessary. If you use cool wax in a warm climate, the wax will be very smushy. Contrarily, warm wax in a cool climate will be hard as a rock!


Wakesurf Board Traction

Traction may be the better choice if you are a beginner wakesurfer or a little on the OCD side! It’s great for gripping the board in certain places and provides extra cushion. You can purchase traction is several sizes to cover more or less of the wakesurf board. 


  1. Traction works in every climate! No need to switch like you would with wax.
  2. It’s neat, not messy. No worrying about ruining boat decks or upholstery.
  3. Apply traction less often. Applying traction can be a task the first time you do it. However, a set can last quite a while as long as it’s put on correctly.


  1. Less flexibility on the board when doing tricks. The traction pads may not cover the entire board which can lead to slipping if you step off of it.
  2. Less “feel” from the board because of the thickness of the pads.
  3. More expensive than wax.
  4. They will cover the design of your board.  


Wax AND Traction

Some wakesurfers are learning that a combination of wax and traction works best. Wax at the front of the board and traction at the back is a popular combination. Again, it’s all up to the wakesurfer! Find what works best for you on the water.

What do you think? Traction or wax? It will likely come down to your unique experience on a wakesurf board. 

Don't be shy to give us your opinion in the comments!

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