Bear Wax Co. began with a passion for diving into the frigid waters of the Pacific Northwest with nothing but a neoprene wetsuit and a surfboard as protection from the dark, crashing waves. The British Columbia company makes one of the only biodegradable cold water surfboard waxes on the market, an innovation that was inspired by Pacific Northwest surf culture. Business partners Hamish Baxter and Taylor Martin were looking for a sustainable option—and one that would resonate with Canadian surfers.
“We wanted to make a totally organic wax because the large companies are doing petrochemical wax, based on paraffin wax,” says Martin. “We definitely wanted to find something natural and biodegradable. Ultimately, people want the product to perform, and beeswax or soy-based wax doesn’t perform as well as petrochemical-based waxes, so we wanted to find an alternative to those, as well.” They worked with a biochemist to develop their unique clay-based formula, which was rigorously tested by the pair’s community of cold water surfers. “Surfers are very loyal to wax, both the brand and the type of wax,” says Martin. “Wax is a common denominator in the sport; it’s something we use pretty much every time we go out. Surfers know the temperature of the water they surf in, and they know the wax that performs best in those conditions.”
With retailers in B.C., Quebec, and Ontario, Bear Wax Co. serves cold water surfers across the country. “In Canadian surf culture, everyone is really connected,” says Martin, adding that a lot of surfers in Canada don’t really align themselves with the culture of surf companies from California and Australia. “One of the coolest things about surf culture here is that it’s not just about surf,” he says. “People don’t just drive to the beach and go home. It’s all about going on a trip, going camping, spending time with your friends, making a bonfire. It’s a lot more than just your time in the water.” Bear Wax Co. is set to release an extra-cold formula and cool formula to match the full range of seasonal water temperatures in Canada, letting their waves roll from the beaches of Tofino to the shores of the Great Lakes. It’s made for a nation.