Ski*go Ski Wax    

Swedish for Fast Skiing
Suèdoise pour le Fast Ski

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Waxing Ice Boats and Canoes with Ski Wax

During the winter months we regularly get requests for help and suggestions for applying ski wax to ice boats. In the summer we get similar requests for canoes and kayaks. The reasons for applying wax to the surface of the boat, canoe or kayak is to go faster in the water. For ice boats the wax is also to help the boat slide over the ice floes faster too.

Selection of wax

The ice boats face the most harsh conditions and as such we recommend that a hard wax be applied. For this we recommend Graphite, Ultima/Violet and Green as good choices. Further we will recommend at least the LF version of these waxes be used and the HF to provide more performance.

Conditions are less harsh for summer races with canoes and kayaks. We recommend Ski*go Yellow/C242 LF or HF be applied. The Yellow/C242 is the most water sheering of the waxes. This soft wax can be used because hard ice is not a factor for durabilty. However, if the canoe or kayak may face abrasive conditions such as sand (suspended or beach) you may want to use a harder wax.

Tools required

  • Your boat, canoe or kayak
  • A warm workspace (garage or basement)
  • Your Ski*go wax selection
  • A waxing iron
  • A hot air gun (sometimes called a paint stripping gun)
  • A silicon spatula (found with kitchen utencils: the silicon grade can withstand the high temperatures it will face without melting onto the boat or canoe)
  • A synthetic cork
  • A soft nylon brush
  • A radio or a loaded MP3 player because this is going to take a while...

Application of Ski Wax to Boat or Canoe

Note: DO NOT use this technique if your boat contains High Modulus (HM) carbonfibre. HM carbonfibre's resin is very sensitive to excess heat, such as from a heat gun, and the structure will be destroyed.

Note: We recommend that you work a small section of the boat, canoe or kayak to get your technique worked out first before going at the whole surface. Always be cautious when applying heat: you do not want to cause a delamination of the hull's layers (fiberglass or carbonfiber).

Set your boat, canoe or kayak in your workspace and let it warm to room temperature first. It should be dry before you start to work. Have good lighting around it so you can easily and clearly see what you are doing. You should clean the hull of any dirt or other foreign material.

With this technique there should be little scraping of excess wax. While ski bases absorb ski wax (well, the good skis do) the hull will not. This means that you are applying the ski wax on the surface only. Since the wax will only be on the surface you will be spreading it thin. When in doubt it is always safe to back-away and let things cool. You can always come back later to make corrections to the wax job.

Turn the waxing iron on and let it warm up. You will not use the iron directly on the hull. Set the iron temperature to the suggestion on the ski wax box. For Graphite or Green this will be 145°C while for C242/Yellow this will be 125°C.

Dab (briefly touch) the wax bar to the iron and then crayon the warmed tip of the wax bar across the hull. The intent of dabbing is to warm the wax enough that it can be spread or crayoned on the hull. If the room is warm enough then Ski*go C242/Yellow may not need the iron to warm it. You are looking for just general coverage at this time. Do not worry about gaps in your crayoning -- the next step will cover this.

Once you have crayoned enough wax onto the hull then you are ready to spread the wax into a more even and thin layer across the hull. You will likely prefer to work in small sections rather than going at the hull in one go.

Warm the wax on the hull with the hot air gun. Have the hot air gun about 6"/10cm from the surface and keep it constantly waving over the hull's surface so you do not heat one area excessively. When the wax becomes very soft or runny spread it using the silicon spatula. Remember to use a silicon spatula to take the heat. A plastic spatula may melt and can stick to the hull (not a good plan). Excess wax on the silicon spatula can be re-used elsewhere on the hull or saved for future use.

Once the wax cools, but remains somewhat warm, you can use the synthetic cork to smooth the wax to a thin layer. This will take out any ridges left from the silicon spatula.

When the wax is cold you can use the soft nylon brush to polish the wax on the hull. A shiny finish is good. A shiny finish is smooth. A smooth finish will last longer because the ice and snow (for an ice boat) will have less chance to get a purchase on the wax and remove it.

Final comments

The dab method has been used with ski teams using waxes for years. More often is is done with the more expensive waxes and when working in a warm waxroom and when time permits. When cold and lack of time happens the method is less used for practical reasons.

If you have a waxing tip please share it with us. We are always happy to receive waxing tips to help improve everyone's skis.

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