Will waxing make your surf ski go faster?
Will waxing your surf ski help or hinder you from getting the most speed out of your craft? Epic Kayak’s Greg Barton offers an in-depth look at whether waxing will actually make your ski go faster or slow you down. What it can do is help protect your boat from the damaging UV rays of the sun.
Here’s an excerpt from the Epic blog on the subject:
“There are two schools of thought here. The first is that waxing will make the hull surface smoother, slipperier and faster. The other is that wax causes water to bead up on the hull and the added surface tension actually makes your boat slower. My experience has been that neither is true…”
“I’ve only seen two things (so far) that make a significant difference in speed – and both have been banned by the International Canoe Federation for racing. The first is a slimy polymer compound applied to the surface of the boat. This compound dissolves in the water, lowering the viscosity of the water next to the hull and reducing drag. As it dissolves it comes off until it is no longer effective (leaving contaminated water in your wake)…The other item that really works is a “riblet” material manufactured by 3M. It is an adhesive backed plastic film with very fine grooves machined into it (similar to the grooves in a phonograph record). The size of the grooves is matched to the density of the fluid (water in our case) and the speed of travel so that the grooves dampen the turbulence of the water as the flow detaches from the hull.”
“The best advice I can give is that you want the surface of your kayak to be as smooth and clean as possible. While “magic” surface finishes are unlikely to increase your speed, a smooth surface WILL make you faster. The smoother, the better. You don’t want any bumps, scratches, or dried on crud disrupting the flow of water over your hull.”