The Orange Peel Surf Wax Mold (My Review)

I was a Kickstarter supporter for The Orange Peel, a new surf wax gadget that just shipped out to most of us last week who bought in to the concept. I felt like doing a review of this product, so here it is. Did I get it for free? Hell nah, brah. These opinions are all Average Surfer Approved, and that’s all that matters, Bro-tein Shake.

The Orange Peel (peelitout.com, $11.99) is a 100% silicone cup that’s meant to fit into your car’s cup holder, and collect the gnar bits of surf wax that end up in your car. Unfortunately, this silicone cup was a little too small and got “lost” in my Surfmobile’s (Yaris) oversized side door cup holders, so it’s going to have to sit in the open middle console instead. Here it is in my grody Surfmobile:

The actual surfy-special feature of this mold cup is a raised strip of silicone along the bottom of the inside. This allows the mold to create the traditional break line for the bar of surf wax after melting it into the mold, creating the distinct halves. A half a bar is enough to wax up a longboard for a sesh, and fits into a pocket easily.

That feature is what makes the mold stand out for me. There are plenty of silicone molds out there for far cheaper in the craft store’s baking section, but as a surfer, I like the simple and practical addition of this line in the mold that creates a truly usable bar of surf wax.

To test this new mold, I used an actual old gnarly ball of surf wax from under the seat of my car, and rolled it around in more sand from the car. Yummy.

Here’s your WARNING WARNING WARNING!

Although the Orange Peel cup itself alone is microwaveable, you SHOULD NOT microwave things with sand all over it. Here in Cocoa Beach, a lot of our sand is dredged from shoals off the Cape, and there can often be trace metals in the dredge material. NOT a good thing to put in the microwave.

For this experiment, I used the little toaster oven we picked up at Goodwill. It stays out in the garage, so I use it for melting small amounts of wax sometimes, but mostly it’s for baking modeling clay (no fumes in the house, bonus).

I heated the clump in the toaster oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit (recommended by Peel Surf) for 20 minutes. This wax was most likely “Tropical” hardness from throughout this Summer and Fall, so I figured I would need to heat it for a while for it to melt sufficiently. The sand and debris in the wax will tend to fall toward the bottom of the cup. After I removed it from the oven, I made sure to give it a little stir to help things along.

Allow it to set for at least an hour. I left mine to harden overnight.

It came out of its mold with some difficulty because of the thickness of the cup’s walls. It’s a sturdy design, but it also makes it tricky to pop out easily without damaging the edges of the finished wax bar a bit.

Once the bar was out, I just scraped off the sludge that had settled to the bottom, which is now at the top of the bar of wax. I still had quite a bit of clean wax that remained.

Done!

Ok, so here’s my overall impression…..

Pros:

  • Makes a decent sized, good looking bar of wax
  • Molds a deep, easy-to-break line in the center
  • The bright color of The Orange Peel makes it easy to spot in a dark car in the morning

Cons:

  • Expensive- the price point of 12 bucks needs to be reduced to make this product work, or else I’m using my old muffin cups
  • May disappear into the cup holders of many cars with oversized holders

My suggestions:

  • Please get the price down- nice concept, but most surfers will have trouble justifying the expense, even to recycle their wax and Save Da World.
  • Include a simple Recipe Book- a lot more people might buy your product if you include some fun how to’s, similar to a Surf Wax Making Kit.
  • Introduce a “Jumbo” Orange Peel for oversized drink holders, and people who want to make larger bars of wax.
  • Consider a Glow In the Dark version for those Dawn Patrol sessions.
  • Offer unique molds (flower shapes, animals, etc.) with break lines through them. Only the inside of the cup needs to be shaped, the outside of the cup can be smooth, so it can still fit into a drink holder nicely.

I’ll definitely be using this cool little mold often, but I’ll be waiting on buying anymore “Peels” until the price drops a bit. BUT, if there’s a surfer you want to splurge on, this might be a fun gift to give along with some natural beeswax (and show them how to make their own surf wax too!).

The Latest Surfing Trends and Fads: Fall Edition

So I’ve dug up some more surfing trends and accessories you may or may not have heard about. Some are inventive, some are…..not ready for primetime. 

Did I get any of this stuff for free or at a discount? HELL nah. I wish. My opinions are definitely my own, and I tell it like it is, brah.

Gnarly wipeout, brah


*****
Grater Grip for Surfboard Wax

I bought one of these at their booth at a local surfboard factory sale. They were thirteen bucks back then- now they’re $9.99- which is still a little pricey. It’s essentially a flat plastic cheese grater to help put on your surfboard wax, and remove it. This could be a good idea if you like that type of traction on your board. I tried it, and hated the feel AND look of it, personally. Oh well.

Pros: Great for using up the tiniest bits of wax left in your surfmobile

Cons: Random people may walk up to you with plates of freshly cooked pasta




Stained Glass Fins by Rainbow Fin Company

I had to snag this fin!!!

 
I have bought two of these fins so far as gifts, and I have been pleased with them, as well as the recipients. I like giving something that’s beautiful AND useful. Since they are one-of-a-kind handmade surfboard fins, they can run 100 bucks and up, so it’s more of a collectible for the “more seasoned” (aka older) surfer crowd. 

Pros: Makes simple, functional artwork on your surfboard or on the wall.

Cons: At the price, it’s definitely an investment.




Wax Knuckles

This pic is from their website

I don’t own this, but it seems like an awfully good idea. It’s a wax scraper and wax comb that is ergonomically designed. If you like to change out your wax a lot, or resell a lot of surfboards, this scraper is kinda neato. It costs twice as much as a regular wax comb (these are $5.99), but if you do a lot of scraping, it might be worth it.

Pros: May save on some carpal tunnel surgery down the road

Cons: The HUGE handspan required to make the scraper comfortable to use may exclude other smaller surfer chicks like me. I’ll wait for the smaller Oompa Loompa Model to be launched 



Ventura Vientola Finger Surfboard

I thought this fad had passed, but it’s back for Boomers

When I first started surfing, I bought I tiny toy 3” plastic “….Lost” surfboard I sat on my nightstand for my own encouragement. I guess this is the upgraded model at seventy bucks, but it is handcrafted in California out of mahogany, comes with a tiny leash, carrying pouch, and a miniature bar of surf wax. This would look good next to your wine rack and humidor. Did I guess right???

Pros: That’s art to any surfer, and looks better on the wall than the Family Cat in a frame. Also good if you live in a tiny house and drive a Mini

Cons: You may start buying these to look at when your knees start hurting too much to use an actual surfboard




Hope I showed ya something new today!

Do ya EVER graduate in surfing?????






10 Tips on Buying Used Surfboards

Although I’m not a Pro, I have bought and sold A LOT of surfboards for an average surfer. I really don’t want to admit how many, but trust me, it would make Wilbur Kookmeyer jealous. (Check out THIS guy’s collection- I can’t hold a candle to it)

Oh, Wilbur! I know how you feel!

I’ve learned a few things, and had my share of victories and losses buying surfboards. Here’s a bit of insight from my experience, hopefully it helps other surfers have more successes buying and selling surfboards right off the bat. In this post, I’ll start off with tips for buying used boards.


*****


Tips for Buying Used Surfboards

1. BUY a surfboard for NOW, not LATER.

    Don’t let your surfy dreams get in the way of reality. That little used 5’10” Kelly Slater speed thruster may only be $150, but there’s a reason why. The guy selling it couldn’t ride it. You won’t be able to either, bro. Spend a little more on a used funshape, fish, or longboard, and you’ll be surfing a lot more, and getting more for your money. Then, if you want to progress to something shorter like that potato chip, you’ll probably be reselling the longboard, funshape, or fish anyway.


2. BUY a CLEAN used board.

    If a used board you’re looking at is covered in nasty wax and/or stickers, that should be a big red flag. If you can’t inspect for any dings, or repairs to past dings, just walk away. Open, unrepaired, or improperly repaired dings can create more damage later since water can seep into the surfboard foam.


3. BUY a used board WITH FINS.

    I hate it when a seller tries to short me at least a basic set of fins on a board, usually because they want to keep them. It’s a hassle to go hunting for fins to fit a “new” acquisition, and you better believe I will offer a lower price if a seller does this. The exception to this rule is if it is a vintage or antique collectible surfboard.


4. DON’T BUY a surfboard with more than 10% UNREPAIRED damage.

    Yes, you’re going to have to guesstimate this one, but I think you catch my drift. Repairs cost not only money, but time. When you buy a new-to-you board, the last thing you want to do is wait on getting your board fixed until you can ride it.


5. DON’T BUY a surfboard with more than 20% REPAIRED damage.

     Once again, this is an estimate, and the gauge I personally use. Like a car, I figure most of the value of the surfboard goes down once it leaves the surf shop. Because of this, I expect to get a good deal on a used board still in good shape overall, and that includes damage even if it’s been repaired. Repairs are still potentially weak spots in my opinion. I’ll pass on heavily repaired boards.


6. For new surfers, find a trusted local Surf Shop that sells used boards.

    In coastal areas with surfers, a lot of times, local surf shops will carry a selection of used boards on consignment. Yes, the surf shop gets a commission, but they can help steer you in a good direction to make a choice that won’t waste your money in the end.


7. For experienced surfers, use Craigslist (if you live in a safe area).

    Once you are familiar with what you are looking for in a surfboard, Craigslist is awesome. Generally, I find most surfboards listed under the category “Sporting Goods.” Here in Florida, I never limit my searches to coastal areas! In fact, some of the best deals I’ve gotten have been from inland areas like Orlando, or flat surf areas like Tampa. Sites likes eBay are better for Vintage and High End Collectible surfboards.


8. Consider trades.

    If you have a good sized surf community, consider trading a used surfboard you already have for another surfer’s used board. Sometimes, you can agree on an even trade, or a trade plus cash. Our Surf community has a few local Internet forums, which aid in trades with people you already know and surf with regularly.


9. ALWAYS pay in cash.

      If you don’t have the cash on hand, forget it. It’s impossible to negotiate with a credit card, even today. Checks are a hassle for a seller too, which will result in a halt to ANY potential reduction in price of the board for you.


10. Research what you’re looking for.

       Unless you’re completely new to surfing (seek out your local surf shop for help!), you should be able to do your own research before buying a used board. Find out what a similar NEW surfboard costs, and realize that most boards seem to lose 20% of their value (on average) as they walk out the door, even brand spankin’ new. Find out what standard board repairs cost. Compare prices on Craigslist, local Surf Forums, and at your local surf shops. That way, you can make fair offers that won’t cost you too much, but won’t totally offend the seller either. That’s good, since you may see them in the lineup in the future. Yikes.

Next post….Selling a Used Surfboard…

Yup.

      

      

    

Recycle Your Nasty Wax

El Nino has been showing a taste of what’s to come around here. We’ve had a few days of glassy surf, then windy storm chop and hellacious rain, then cold temps and offshore winds. We’ve already repeated this pattern a few times, and I’m sure there’s a couple of more in store before Spring. It was a rainy, windy, washed out day Wednesday, so I decided to strip my nastiest board to recycle the wax. I’ve recycled wax before, but this was especially cruddy, so I thought I’d try a new technique.
Here is my gnar gnar board, which is a 6’10”, so I should be able to get a fair amount of wax. Especially since I never change it out apparently:
There must be more tar in the water
than I thought.

I did scrape off the nastiest, darkest sections and threw that wax away. That’s from where my board sits on the rack bumpers on my car.

Removing the darkest wax
The remaining wax I scraped up to use is still pretty dark.

Next, I got out my trusty double boiler I got at Ikea for 6 bucks. I looked and waited for one to show up at Goodwill, but, I gave up and got one I use ONLY for melting wax (no food, yuck). I filled a larger pot with enough water to touch the bottom of the double boiler when it’s the pot. I placed the mass of scraped wax into the boiler and set the whole thing to boil on the stove. If you put the wax in a little at a time, it melts faster, but I just threw it in there like the lazy bum I am:

Wax clump in the double boiler

Most of this wax is from the Summer and Fall, so it’s mostly Tropical Wax. It was pretty hard wax, so that would sound right.
Since I’m going to use it in cold water (and dropping temp fast….brrrr), I’m going to add 1/4 teaspoon of coconut oil to soften up the wax. I only used this much since I estimated the wax I had scraped came out to approximately 1 cup. For kicks, I also added 2 drops of grapefruit essential oil to give the wax a pleasant smell. We know where it’s been.

Adding 1/4 teaspoon of coconut oil to the wax
to make it more suitable for cold water

Stirring the mixture with a bamboo skewer

I kept stirring the mixture until all the wax had melted, and I had stirred in the coconut oil and essential oil completely. After about three minutes, the mixture was runny enough to be poured.
For molds, I used an OLD muffin tin and placed a couple of muffin liners in it (I didn’t have THAT much wax!). Over the top of the two liners, I cut a layer of cheesecloth to catch any more nastiness I could get.

Muffin tin and cheesecloth

POUR SLOWLY! If you pour slowly, most of the crud will have settled out at the bottom of the boiler and not transfer into your muffin liners. The cheesecloth can catch fine strands of debris, but make sure you lift the cheesecloth off of the wax after you’ve finished pouring before the wax hardens.

Wax poured into molds

Allow the wax to cool at room temperature for at least a 1/2 hour to eliminate bubbles. Once the bubbles are gone, and the wax has firmed up some, you can speed up the process by popping the wax molds in the fridge (NOT freezer).
So, here’s the final product on the right, with a new bar of Mrs. Palmer’s on the left. Yes, its a little darker, but it’s clean from grime and sand, and is tacky like me!

New wax vs. recycled wax

Sticky Fingers….and Toes

Just in time for a flat spell, my new funshape just got finished. It’s a 7’0″, and I’m looking forward to riding it for a long time and beating the hell out of it. Since I will take any opportunity to replace wax with traction, I got a traction pad for this one, and it was time to break out the application procedure….
Here’s the traction pad- it’s one of those jelly clear ones, and I think it’s secretly manufactured by Dr. Scholl’s for old surfers with problem feet:

I shall call you my Squishy…..

The down side of a lot of traction pads is, they usually only peel away as one piece, like one big sticker. I hate that. You should be able to apply something this size from the middle out towards the edges, to get a better adhesion and remove bubbles.
To remedy that, I gathered the traction pad, a cutting surface, my Exacto knife, a pair of tweezers, a sharpie pen and a straight edge and brought my board inside the A/C to work on it. I turned the pad over to the backside (the backing was also clear, but usually they’re white or brown for some). I drew a straight line down the middle of the pad with the pen:

Mark on the BACKSIDE of the pad!!!

From there, I used my Exacto to lightly score through the backing of the pad, careful not to pierce deep into the traction pad. This will allow me to use the tweezers to peel back a little of each half, exposing just the middle line of the pad’s adhesion:

Peeling back the backing 

I turned the pad over holding the folded back middle backing, and placing it square along the stringer, starting from the base of the pad up to the top middle, pressing firmly. Slowly, I peeled away each side of the backing, while pressing from the middle point outward. If you have a small rubber roller, like what’s used in wallpapering, that helps to put even pressure while rolling from the middle to the edge.

Here’s the pad applied, with the backing paper shown above it:

To ensure good adhesion, I’ll keep the board in the air conditioning for at least 24 hours to let the adhesive cure properly before I take it out surfing.
I used this time to install my GoPro mount and tether mount, which ALSO require a full 24 hours at room temperature to cure properly:

Ahh… the feel of comfort orthotics. For my surfboard.

Surfboard Wax Softener for Easier Removal

Okay, so I’ve heard that coconut oil is supposed to be pretty good for you in lots of ways. Of course, I used some in one of my past projects for natural surf wax, and I still had some leftover. While I know it’s healthy to cook with it or eat it, well, it ain’t butter.
As far as non-healthy uses, I started thinking. My original complaint about “organic, natural” surf wax is that it was too soft due to too much coconut oil in the formula. So, what about using a coconut oil emulsion to help soften up hard tropical type wax to help in removal instead of noxious chemicals?
First, I got an empty spray bottle and my organic coconut oil:

I mixed up approximately 1 part coconut oil to 3 parts tap water. I went a little stingy on the coconut oil, fearing too much may clog up the bottle. This a picture BEFORE the bottle was shaken up:

As a test, I used a board that has a pretty icky wax job. There’s a seahorse under there. Let’s see if we can find it:

After shaking up the bottle very well, I sprayed the area and rubbed the emulsion into the wax briefly. It wasn’t oily at all. After just a few seconds, I gave it single passes with the scraper, and voila! the wax became quite soft:

It actually left behind no wax residue to clean up with the Pickle, and it really isn’t oily and slick, just a little wet. I did all this in a garage, but putting it out in the sun first would make the process even faster. I may put a little more coconut oil in the mixture next time. Just remember to shake the bottle every time you spray.
Hmmm….maybe I will try some of this on the grill later.

DIY Natural Surf Wax

I’ve kind of surprised myself I haven’t done this craft yet. Making natural (non paraffin/petro) wax is pretty simple, but honestly, the natural wax I’ve bought it the past has been really soft and not very good, so I’ve shied away from trying it myself.
After looking around on the internet for a recipe to try, I noticed a couple of things. First, the natural “organic” wax recipe is almost always comprised of two ingredients: beeswax and coconut oil. Secondly, the ratio is usually two parts beeswax, and one part coconut oil.
Now, I’m no expert, but coconut oil is kind of a runny semi solid. BUT, it’s cheaper in volume than beeswax, which can be quite expensive. This probably why I’ve gotten natural wax that’s so soft- too soft because the ratio was too low due to cost, which I can understand if you’re selling it.
In this case, I’m making it for my own use, so I wanted to make something that works for me, and that would work better for warmer waters, like what’s here in Florida.
First off, I had to think ahead to how I wanted to measure out the 2 ingredients. Beeswax typically comes in a solid bar form. Coconut oil, of course, can be measured out in liquid teaspoon or tablespoon measurements. If I wanted to be able to measure out the beeswax in the same form, I would have to melt it down first, transfer it into a measurement cup, transfer any remainder to a heatproof container that would release the wax later, then transfer the wax from the measurement cup back to the double boiler that I’m melting it in. All this while, I’m hoping that the wax isn’t producing a skin, and that I’m transferring ALL of the wax from container to container to ensure reasonable accuracy.
Whew. What a pain.
Instead, why not use the density of beeswax to calculate the equivalent liquid measurement to the weight in grams, so I can weigh it out while it’s still solid? Better.
I used this website to reference the density of beeswax for my calculation to convert the solid equivalent to a liquid equivalent so I’d have “apples to apples”. I chose a much higher ratio to use for the recipe, and did the ratio as straight up liquid to liquid, not relative densities of the beeswax to coconut oil.
Bored.
Anywho, this is what I came up with for a goodly batch of wax:
160 grams Beeswax
2 US tablespoons of Coconut Oil
Okay, so here’s the good part…..
I bought a 1 pound block of pure beeswax (I’m doing another project with beeswax, so I bought extra). Online, this cost me $14, but the shipping was free, and I’m going to use around half of it. You can also find beeswax in the candlemaking section of any craft or hobby store. Nope, it ain’t cheap. I also got a jar of coconut oil from the grocery store- I had to ask somebody where it was, it varies. You can also find this at the health food store. That cost about $5, but I’m only using two tablespoons of the jar.

To measure out the wax, I used a serrated knife to cut off chunks and weigh them in a food scale:
Using a double boiler pan I got for cheap at Ikea (if I’d have waited, I probably could’ve gotten one at Goodwill), I used a large pot filled with boiling water underneath, and I melted the wax down. Don’t put any water in the upper pan with the wax! I really should have chopped the wax into smaller pieces to help the wax melt a bit faster.
To stir the wax, I used a wooden chopstick:
Once the wax had completely melted, I was ready to add the coconut oil. I measured it with a tablespoon measuring spoon and put it directly into the pan:
 
I stirred just a bit more to ensure the mixture was even and was melted into each other. Then, it was ready to pour. For fun, I used a silicone fish ice cube tray (also an cheap Ikea score) and a couple of aluminum small tart tins:
 
 
 
 
After only about five minutes, the wax was getting pretty firm in the ice cube tray. The tart tins were taking a little longer:
This is what they looked like after 10 minutes:
Just to make sure, I let them set for a good 45 minutes, just to be overly safe. I think they harden up much quicker, really.
Here’s what they looked like after I popped them out:
 
You can see that I got a couple of bars and a whole bunch of fish out of it. The fish shapes are actually pretty handy to handle when applying the wax. 
I tested the wax on my board and it actually creates pretty good bumps, and works pretty well with some stick to it, much better than the other natural waxes I’ve used in the past. I think this ratio may be a winner. I still admit I like my traditional wax, but it’s kind of neat-o to make your own.
Now I feel compelled to munch on a bag of Goldfish crackers.