Jock Serong's Short History of Wax

24 Jul 2014 9

Jock Serong

Senior Writer

Illustration by Nanda Ormond

Illustration by Nanda Ormond

It melts deep into the carpets of your car. It attracts sand like a magnet and rubs your kneecaps bald. It’s frequently bitten by toddlers, used as a de facto air freshener and given away for free as an incentive to bigger purchases. It’s the weapon of choice for windscreen messages: This is not your wave. Locals only. Beat it kooks!

A simple blend of paraffin and beeswax, scents and colours, with a dash of petroleum jelly to soften, surf wax arrived in Australia almost by stealth, sold by old-school service stations like Ampol and Esso. A semi-secret accoutrement for sunburnt dropkicks.

In 1972, Santa Barbara surfshop owner Fred Hertzog III [“Mr. Zog”] pulled off a cultural coup. He took a necessary and boring product and added a vital ingredient: smut. Sex Wax t-shirts were immediately banned in many schools, giving the brand outlaw cred.

Innuendo is not the exclusive domain of Mr. Zog – it seems to have evolved into an industry standard: Sticky Johnson, Far King, Mrs. Palmer’s Five Daughters, Mighty Mounds, Mothers Milk [shaped like a breast and nipple], Vyagra... the list is endless. In 1982, this very magazine ran a full-page ad for coconut-scented Waxx On that featured two freckly nude boobs and two blocks of Waxx On. The tagline? A Lovely Pair of Coconuts.

SEE ALSO: Jock Serong's Short History Of Rock Offs

References to surf wax in popular culture are always cringe-worthy, and the manufacturers with their sniggering ways probably fed the fire. Among thousands of references, a couple of favourites: Mad Wax (1987) – RCJ using a wok and ladle to make wax, with lots of retorts and beakers looking suspiciously like a speed lab, magically transported to Aussie Pipe with a Gangajang soundtrack. Or this little gem from everyone’s favourite phoney surf flick, Point Break (1991) in which Gary Busey and Keanu Reeves get all sleuthy about a block of wax:

Pappas opens his desk drawer, takes something out and throws it to Johnny. A pastel blue hockey puck wrapped in cellophane. A block of Mr. Zog’s sex wax.

Utah: Sex wax? You’re not into kinky shit, are you Angelo?

Pappas: Surfers use it on their boards, they rub sand into it for traction.

Around the time videotapes threatened to destroy cinemas, Astrodeck appeared on the horizon and threatened to wipe out wax. Herbie Fletcher put his new product under the back and front feet of pro surfers. But like a shifting military border struggle, the warring parties eventually settled on a compromise: adhesive grip won the south, and wax held the north. There’s no sense in this. There’s no sense in anything where wax is concerned.

For an entertaining look at how to apply wax to your board see clip below...

Want more of the most up-to-date Aussie surf-news? Follow us on Facebook:

How-To Wax a Surfboard With Eli from EyeHandy on Vimeo.

Tags: jock serong , nanda ormond , surfing world (create Alert from these tags)

blog comments powered by Disqus
Features
Standout Sessions: At The Aquatic Funpark

Standout Sessions: At The Aquatic Funpark

Otherwise known as Duranbah

0 17 Jan 2018
Tested: Surfing The Solomon Islands

Tested: Surfing The Solomon Islands

Definitely a travel spot off the beaten track

0 17 Jan 2018
Swell Alert: East Coast Lights Up Under Powerful SSE Groundswell

Swell Alert: East Coast Lights Up Under Powerful SSE Groundswell

There's a big SSE swell inbound, but where and when will conditions turn on?

0 15 Jan 2018
Recent

We Should All Be Better Equipped To Handle Life and Death Situations In The Surf

Would you know what to do if an emergency hit the line-up?

6 16 Jan 2018
Five Easy Tools That'll Ensure You're On The Next Swell As Soon As It Hits Your Local

Five Easy Tools That'll Ensure You're On The Next Swell As Soon As It Hits Your Local

0 16 Jan 2018
The Flight Centre Burleigh Pro Surf Festival Is Back

The Flight Centre Burleigh Pro Surf Festival Is Back

1 16 Jan 2018
Gallery: The World Junior Champs Action From Kiama

Gallery: The World Junior Champs Action From Kiama

1 11 Jan 2018
The Sunshine Coast Gets A Brand New Surf Cam

The Sunshine Coast Gets A Brand New Surf Cam

2 11 Jan 2018
Latest News

We Should All Be Better Equipped To Handle Life and Death Situations In The Surf

Would you know what to do if an emergency hit the line-up?

The Flight Centre Burleigh Pro Surf Festival Is Back

Australia Day Long Weekend Sorted!

Gallery: The World Junior Champs Action From Kiama

Vahine Fierro and Finn McGill show the world what's up.

The Sunshine Coast Gets A Brand New Surf Cam

Exclusive To Coastalwatch Plus, Dicky Beach

Popular This Week

Forecaster Blog Updated: Deep Tasman Low to break the East Coast Swell-Drought

A really, really big swell event is looking likely across the East Coast next week.

You Need To See Tahlija Redgard Charge These Freight Trains

Mick Campbell's other half on the Indo express!

Nick Carroll On: The Martha's Dilemma

A surf spot at risk might mean a few people giving up paradise in order to save it.

Swell Alert: East Coast Lights Up Under Powerful SSE Groundswell

There's a big SSE swell inbound, but where and when will conditions turn on?

Go to Top