Candle Review: Surf’s Up Candle, Surf Wax

The latest edition of The Hairpin’s popular candle column.

Are scented candles inherently good or evil? It’s an interesting debate. On one hand, scented candles crave positive feedback and help people in times of crisis. On the other, scented candles prey on mankind’s desire to spend money on air. Hm. Maybe the answer is that a scented candle is formed with natural inclinations toward both good and evil and is shaped by its experiences. Obviously it’s not a question we’re going to answer here today but it’s worth thinking about.

Surfing…the feel of the sea under your toes, the feel of the seagulls above your head. You say “hi” to a friend on a passing wave. This time you’re on different waves, but the next time? We’ll see. We’ve all been surfing and know what it’s like, yes, but do we all know what this “Surf Wax” candle is like? No. Only I do and whoever else has it. Here’s the description of the “Surf Wax” candle from the Surf’s Up website:

Our signature scent in our classic mason jar.

Heheh. (It is unhelpful.)

I received this candle as a gift from my mom, who bought it while on vacation with her sisters-in-law in Florida.

She added that it “smells like a starter cocktail,” which, I have to be honest, is not a description that I understand. My only guess is that she meant to type “smells like a summer cocktail” and it was autocorrected to “smells like a starter cocktail.” In any case it is a very great gift and possibly the worst candle I have ever smelled in my life but we’ll get to that.

We’ll get to it — right now:


🙁 I do hate to be rude, but no. It smells kind of like coconut sunscreen, and it smells very much. When I smelled it for the first time, I opened the lid and smelled the candle and then closed the lid immediately and then went downstairs. In the brief period of time when the candle’s lid was off of the candle’s jar, the candle’s scent attached itself to either my clothing or my face or my consciousness. I could not stop smelling it. For minutes!!!!


No, this is very much not a winter candle. Unless you hate winter so much that you want to escape for a little while to an extremely intense smelling tropical “paradise.” Turn the heat all the way up, put a bathing suit on and sunscreen on your body, put a beach YouTube on the TV, light this coconut candle. Is this Pittsburgh or Miami Beach?


It is.


Thank you for asking. When I first received this candle, I didn’t know what surf wax smelled like. All I knew was that I did not enjoy the scent of this candle. But is it fair to review a candle’s scent if one has no familiarity with the scent on which the candle is based? This candle reviewer says: no. That doesn’t sound fair at all.

I googled and found that not only does surf wax have a distinct scent, it has a distinct scent that many people enjoy very much. In fact, Billabongs in France and Spain allegedly have the scent of Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax, the iconic California surf wax brand, pumped into their stores. Wow. That’s according to this article. The article also says:

Whatever your thoughts on this, there is no denying that Sex Wax is one of the world’s great smells.


So I went to Patagonia Bowery, a Patagonia surf shop on Bowery, and bought Sex Wax. It cost $2.01 which seems like a good deal to me even though all I needed from the product was one smell and technically I could have taken that for free. Also a Patagonia employee gave me the penny so really it only cost two dollars. Wow!

Yes: this candle smells very similar to this wax. The candle maybe smells more…chemical-y. The wax has a lighter and more pleasing scent. But I still don’t like the scent very much, personally. And, still, the scents are quite similar.

It is always nice to learn about a new smell.


This candle was a gift but it cost my mom I think $22. Plus she had to carry it all the way from Florida!


To me, no. I dislike this candle. But…it is very big and people seem to like the scent of surf wax. So.


80 HOURS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I like the blue and I like the little wave. I don’t love the font or the little tassel. Though overall I guess, eh, I like it. I give it a check.


Yes, it is heavy. It is large. It is certainly the “most” candle I own.


I would definitely recommend it to this person. I’m not sure yet if I consider “aldotter” my friend but he or she seems cool and I’m very personable so I’m sure he or she would like to be friends with me, especially after I give him or her my recommendation.


  • 6 checks
  • 3 non-checks
  • 1 question mark
  • 1 sun with sunglasses

Pretty good!

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