Ou's like Brazilian wax jobs. And now they like Brazilian wax too. Can't show you a pic of Brazilian wax job as this is a PG site, but can show you some Brazilian wax. Enter Fu.
Fu wax has been getting itself some serious attention for a while now, so let's take a look at why the pro's are going ape about it.
When Taj Burrow arrived in Sydney from the Billabong Pro Brazil a coupla years back, his excess baggage charge featured a lot more than just fond memories of Rio and a runner-up trophy. It held upward of 20 kilos of a wax that he reckons is so good that he’ll never go back to traditional wax.
Taj was turned onto the wax by Kolohe Andino, who heard about it from Nat Young. Kolohe wasn;t convinced about it til Brazilian surfer Wiggoly Dantos stayed with him for a contest at Trestles. Wig said he should try it. The results were mind-blowing.
“Oh my gosh! I’ve just fallen in love. It was just goo’ing everywhere,” remembers Kolohe. “It was the like traction you get when you’re wearing booties.”
Can a wax really be this good? “No one ever believes at first,” says Kolohe. “Taj texted from Brazil and was, like, ‘Where do I get this wax? I need that shit!’ It was like it was drugs or something. You have to have it.”
Taj, like almost every other pro surfer on tour, used Sex Wax (Quick Humps) almost exclusively but has made the change to Fu.
There’s been relatively little change in wax over the last century. Surfboard traction began with sand-infused varnish, continued to paraffin-based wax in the ’40s, and with the invention of the traction pad in the ’80s became more specialized, stickier, and temperature-specific. But today’s progression in surfing is calling for an evolution in wax.
Meet Fuad Mansur, the namesake and creator. He and his brothers released their first wax in 1970, but the tipping point was in ’87 when a melting-point accident in the wax lab created a product that finally held up in cooler water. Fuad was so taken by his new formula on his first test in cold temps that he surfed past dark and left the water with a mild case of hypothermia. After two days of hospitalization, he returned to Brazil and coined that Fu Wax is “adherence taken seriously.”
Younger sibling Tuca Mansur said he and his brothers are honored by the hype. “We are a family in the wax world and it’s amazing that a little company from Brazil has made such a ripple effect in the U.S. market,” said Tuca. “Imitation or impersonation is the biggest form of flattery, so we feel pretty special knowing we’ve helped change the landscape.” Converts to Fu Wax are telling him they’re landing maneuvers they never have in the past. Martin Potter told him it was cheating, like surfing with foot straps.
Gone are the methodically groomed bumps, ditched instead for the new hot, stringy mess of these hyper-tack waxes, which stick to the bottom of your feet as well as they do to your fingertips, board bags, wetsuits, and chest hair. The import pressure from South America has kicked the U.S. market into gear, entering the game on the heels of the first change to wax in a while.
Sex Wax continues the innuendo with their new Dream Cream, infamous for an obscene level of stickiness. “These formulas are a radical departure from the surf wax characteristics that we have become accustomed to over the last several decades,” said Fred “Zog” Herzog, Sex Wax founder. The company actually warns that Dream Cream may be too sticky for some. “You are going to get incredible traction in the water, but you are going to have to deal with what could aptly be described as a mess waiting to happen.”
These waxes all carry the “topcoat” label, meaning they’re meant to be applied light and sparingly over a good basecoat or worn down bumps. Its biggest potential is in the contest sphere, where wax only needs to last a heat. “There appears to be a real need for enhanced traction when it comes to high-performance, competitive surfing,” said Zog. “It remain to be seen whether or not this translates into a significant demand on the part of the general surfing public.”
The way pros surf these days, they definitely need it. Sometimes all that’s left on the board while they’re spinning through the air is one big toe somewhere on the deck.
But for the average Jo surfer? Is that extra traction worth turning your wetsuit or boardies into a gummy mess?