There are currently a couple dozen production sandboard waxes available today and homemade versions out there as well. The best wax to use will vary depending on the type of sand you will be riding and the conditions of the sand at that time.
If you pick the most sandboard friendly sand and ride on a very wet day you may need no wax at all. A number of the base surfaces ( Super Race Base ) being made today require little or no wax also. For the majority of sand however, you will need a good sandboard wax and with out it you might not slide an inch. Sand is so abrasive that the grab of friction alone over powers the boards ability to slide over the surface. Much research has been done on this and the 3 main negative factors involved are:
1: The sharp edges of the grains of sand dig into the base surface creating a grab on the surface.
2: The friction of two surfaces passing over each other create static electricity and therefore static cling.
3: The natural dynamics of all physical particles to attract and cling together.
Raised by a nuclear physicist and chemical engineer, "Dad" ( not to mention our friends who were doctors of physics or chemistry ) and who also took a keen interest in sandboarding, allowed not only access to educated minds on the subject but also allowed the ability to test our theories. The final conclusion, that you need a lubricant between the sand and the base to reduce all three negative effects. Yeah so, tell me something I didn't already know...
There are many substances that will allow the board to break free from friction. Unfortunately, many of them will also increase the oxidation of your base, break down of molecules at the atomic level, ultimately leaving your board slower and sluggish or that contaminate the sand itself and hence the environment. Floor waxes and polishes are not made for sandboards. They are made to wax and polish floors. Don't use them!
Yes, they may work better than nothing at all but they will ultimately damage your base and the sand while faster, safer waxes are available for less money! Keep in mind, this is the type of misuse that will get dunes closed to sandboarding. Soaps and oils will cause similar damage and were not made to withstand the friction and excessive rise in temperature. Do not use them!
We have seen many home made lubricants and polishes scorch and stain the base of the board causing a dead spot ( radical break down of molecular structure ) that will not revive. They have no business on your sandboard. Do not use them!
The only way to really know which sandboard wax is the most effective for your type of sand is to try a variety of real sandboard waxes and determine for yourself which is the most effective at any given time. Since sand conditions c hange so rapidly ( moisture, heat, aeration ) it is always wise to have a few different types of sandboard waxes with you when you board. Ask the pros or regulars what they use and try it yourself.
We ride at a spot on the Pacific coast called Point Mugu and in a single day will use 3 different waxes depending on the fog, sun and wind. In the morning when the sand is still a bit damp and cool, soy based and Teflon based paraffin wax works the best allowing long smooth runs right down to the road. Once the fog burns off and the sand heats up just a little, the soy is useless and the Teflon bases wax does the job. As the heat increases with the angle of the sun directly on the dune graphite and petroleum based waxes are even better. Then as the sun starts to set and the sand cools down again the Teflonâ„¢ wax is excellent. Get the picture? You never know what the conditions will be or how they may change so BE PREPARED for anything.
Since I can not speak for any brands of sandboard wax other than those I personally helped develope, ( I know there are other good sandboard waxes out there ), I will stick to the facts I know with Dr.Dune's sandboard waxes. Below are some options:
Speed Wax: is an all around recreational sandboard wax with a high melting temperature and static blocker to give you a consistent ride. It allows a longer run out than most anything else we've tested. Speed Wax is the standard for the industry and and what most of the pros use. Regardless of what else you use you should always have a bar of Speed Wax with you since it works well on most types of sand and it's fairly inexpensive.
ECO: Dr.Dune's ECO Wax is a naturally occurring, plant based, sustainable, natural color, natural scented bio friendly wax that goes on easily and protects your base in harsh conditions. It is not a race wax for maximum speed runs but it is the most bio responsible sandboard wax on the market today.
Red Hot: This is a state of the art high temperature wax which incorporates hardeners and Teflon in a paraffin base. This blend has taken a decade to perfect and is the most effective for quick speed acceleration and extended runs even on high temperature sand. If you're not racing you really don't need this but it will give you the best runs on hot sand. On cold sand it is not the best and does not allow the longer run outs.
Blitz: As the most popular race wax on the market today. Blitz is about as fast as it gets and is affordable. Many of the pros have swapped out their collection of sandboard waxes and exclusively use Blitz even for just fun riding. Blitz is all white and smells like vanilla. It has a high melting point and heavy static block. I don't see Blitz performing any better than Speed Wax on cold sand but as it gets warmer it just keeps accelerating. Blitz is a softer wax so watch that you don't put it on too heavy.
Base Butter: Dr.Dune's 'Base Butter' is an exciting new sandboard wax that is effective in a broad range of conditions and allows quicker starts. 'Base Butter' is fast and priced right. A harder sandboard wax 'Base Butter' goes on fairly lightly and requires very little if any buffing. Just rub it on and go! 'Base Butter'is yellow in color and smells like pineapple. This is a great wax and easy to use.
Rocket Fuel: You're not going to be able to get any of this stuff unless you are a Venomous team pilot or you break in to Dr.Dune's lab but I will list it here because you may have already heard about it. Rocket fuel is a liquid lubricant that has an optimum blend of each ingredient as well as mineral gel. 'Rocket Fuel 'also has extended static blocker so nothing sticks to your board for a couple days.
We have found 'Rocket Fuel' to breath life into even older worn bases. It is purely for maximum speed and take off. Erik Johnson set his world speed record using Rocket Fuel on top of speed wax.
Some basic things to remember is that if the sand is hot you will find the high temp waxes more effective since the heat won't make your wax soft and sticky.
If the sand is damp the Teflon waxes are more effective because moisture actives Teflon for improved glide. Great for snowboards too!
If you're going to race then 'Blitz', 'Base Butter' or 'Board Candy' will give you the quickest starts and fastest acceleration.
What ever the type of riding you will be doing most any of these waxes will work but one will be much more effective than the others under the existing conditions.
Many uninformed boarders still use just plain candle wax ( paraffin, not bees wax ) and paraffin will work better than nothing at all. However, On hot days it will actually melt in your pocket, on cold days it will stick and plain paraffin will not condition and protect your boards base. Ultimately the microscopic pores on your base surface will become plugged with dirty wax build up and become sluggish with excessive wear.
It's always wise to condition your base before it ever even touches the sand AND strip and condition it routinely with use. But then... that's another article.