Wax Typing the Easy Way DIY

This time of year in Florida the waves can be hit or miss, and the water temperature can be as well. I’ve got a stockpile of cold/cool water wax from the last two winters around here when we all thought the next Little Ice Age was upon us. This year (knock on Balsa wood) we’ve been fortunate to have mild temperatures and bearable water temps for most of us who only own 3/2’s or springsuits.
One of the things that annoys me, though, is that most of my wax looks the exact same even though they’re for different temperatures. I know, I know, the wax has a certain hardness associated with the temperature range it’s for. But, when I’m heading out the door, and the water temp dropped quite a bit from last week, I don’t turn into a Sommelier of Wax Types.
Usually, I try to keep the wrapping with the wax somehow, but of course, that gets ugly after while since the wrapping’s only paper, and starts to shred more than Ke11y. Here’s a sample of my system now:

I don’t even know what the one in the middle is,
I found it on the floor next to my funshape…must be tropical, maybe.

So, I wanted a way to remove the labels, mark the type of wax, but still be able to use the wax while it’s marked, without it coming off or discoloring my board.
I went to the office supply store and picked up a colored rubber band ball on clearance for a buck. It had 4 colors on it, perfect for my wax types. If you already have rubber bands, you can do this with those wide rubber bands and a sharpie.

Lots of rubber bands in a nice neat ball premade!

Next, since I had four colors, I laid them out, green, blue, red, purple. This would be my coding for basecoat, cool, warm, and tropical in that order. I didn’t include cold, because, at that point, it’s time for the Total Gym to get some use.

Basecoat, Cool, Warm, Tropical

So now, instead of all those silly wrappers to take around (DON’T throw them away- they can be used for other projects!!!) I’ve got a nice system that doesn’t get in the way of using my wax, doesn’t damage the board, and is cheap:

The rubber bands will even wrap around a little nugget of wax, check this nubbin out:

It’s a good way of using up your wax without having to ditch it because you can’t remember what it is. But if you need to ditch it, consider doing this project.
The best thing is, when a buddy asks to borrow some wax- AGAIN- you have a rubber band weapon at your disposal to unleash on the freakin’ moocher anytime.

Leashes…I NEED my Leashes!

Ok, as you may have guessed by now, I love to organize. But, I must confess, the hardest thing to keep neat are leashes. They are about as easy to keep organized as a stack of fitted bed sheets.
I never keep my leashes wrapped around my boards, since I tend to use different leashes on the same board quite often. However, when I’m finished surfing, I can never get the leash into something resembling an organized coil to put away, and if I do, it comes apart into the pile anyway, and ends up like this:

What a mess!

Now I know some people may have one leash, some may have many more, and can distinguish them by color, brand, etc. I can’t. I just have too many other things I’m forced to remember. And it gets really frustrating when I’m trying to determine the leash I need. NOW.
So, instead of trying to guess at which one is which, I’m going to label mine using some plastic duct type tape from the hardware store (or your garage). Electrical tape works well too.
I used two colors for mine: blue and yellow. Blue is for my “shortboard” leash (7 footer), and the yellow tape is for the longboard leashes. Now, I also have two longboard leashes that I can use for my SUP’s. Those I marked with yellow tape with a narrow cut of blue in the center. I have the tape wrapped around the leash just below the swivel where the leash attached to the board. I kind of like thinking of it as marking them like a resistor- you can get really creative with banding if you want, but I want to keep this simplified!

Tape wrapped around each leash base for marking
Closer view

In addition, I may want to know a little more detail about the leash, so I put a little marking on each one with a sharpie, indicating the foot length, and even my “knee” leash:

Good to know…

At least now, I can pull out the right leash- now if it’s tangled like a ball of Christmas lights, that’s my own fault.
This labeling is not only useful for leashes, but I find that it’s helpful for labeling things like sunscreen as well. Sunscreen loses a lot of effectiveness after 6 months- 1 year of opening, so I mark my bottles with a label to tell me how long I’ve had it, so I know when it’s time to chuck it.

Which one of these needs to go??? Hmmm……

Hope this helps out! Enjoy!

Fin Covers

I have a bad habit of bumping my delicate, expensive, fiberglass or carbon fins into the wall, car, or some other standing or moving objects (sorry about the cat….) when putting my boards away, resulting in some repair work down the road. Some of my fins came with fin covers, some didn’t. Even the ones that came with the fin are ill-fitting and not really my style. To motivate me to use fin covers more, I decided to make some fun, bright, well fitting covers that will stay on the fin while driving, and will tell me which fin is which easily. This project takes less than 10 minutes on a machine- easy!!
Like the last craft, I used foam sheets again, like they sell in the craft stores, usually in the kid’s crafts section. This project requires sewing, but you can sew them by hand if you don’t have a machine.
Basically, I found it was easiest to trace the outline of your fin directly onto a piece of foam with a pencil. Sorry about the quality of the pictures- the light wasn’t working with me today. Trace a line across the base of the fin, but don’t draw it longer than the fin that sticks above your board. That way, you can have the fin cover on while the fin’s in the board. This bottom straight line WILL NOT BE SEWN!!

Tracing the fin outline onto foam

I put another piece of foam underneath, and instead of using pins, I stapled the pieces together a good distance from the edge of the trace line. I stapled upside down so I wouldn’t scratch the heck out of my sewing machine plate as I sewed.

Stapling the two pieces of foam together

To sew this on a machine, I used regular polyester thread and a stitch length of 4.5. If you make the stitch length too small, the stitching line will create a perforation tear in the foam and you’ll have to start over. I also used a 70/0 universal needle. If you are hand sewing, use a standard embroidery needle with polyester thread and do backstitching (you can find a tutorial here), but have a light hand and space your stitches to avoid foam tearing.
For the machine, you’ll see I used a roller foot, which is a specialty foot, but a teflon foot works just as well on this foam.
I placed my trace line on the left inner edge of the foot and used this as a guide. This ensured that my stitch line was 1/4″ OUTSIDE the trace line- this ensures that the fin cover will come on and off easily. If your fin is supa-thick, use a wider margin.

Sewing around the curved edge
Finished sewing!

After stitching the curved part of the fin cover together, I’m ready to start cutting out my cover.  Foam doesn’t ravel, so I don’t need to overlock the edge, but you can if want, just know that the less perforation in the foam, the better.
Start cutting the shape out about 1/4″ outside the stitching line. Cut slowly, and try to keep a continuous cut going (don’t stop and start cutting) to make the edge smooth.

Cutting out the fin cover

Once the curved edge is cut, I cut the bottom RIGHT ALONG the trace line I originally made. You should now have an opening for your fin!

Cutting the bottom of the fin cover

Erase your trace lines, and that’s it! Put the cover on the fin to ensure a good fit, and that the bottom is not too long. This one came out great.

The fun thing is you can decorate the cover with Sharpies (SUPER art project for kids!), use contrasting colors for each side, paste foam shapes to the covers, label what boards they go with, or label the type and size. I labeled mine at the top for easy organization and color coded them:

The anal retentive surfer…… 🙂