Sex Wax


"Mr. Zog's Sex Wax" is the full name of Frederick Herzog's 1972-founded surfboard wax company, based in Carpinteria, near Santa Barbara. Herzog, better known as Zog, was born (1945) and raised in Orange County, graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in Economics; afterwards, he launched Zog Surfboards and opened a surf shop near the Santa Barbara airport. In 1969, Herzog met Nate Skinner, a chemist and future UC Davis professor, and in their spare time, as a hobby, the two began to make surf wax.

Commercially available surf wax had been around since 1964, and Herzog and Skinner saw a market opportunity in 1972 when Surf Research, the biggest wax-making company at the time, split apart. Herzog's original production space was a 20' x 20' garage sublet, leased for $20 a month. In the beginning, he and Skinner poured ingredients (paraffin wax, oil as a softening agent, and one or more scent-producing chemicals, mostly) into a 50-gallon drum and used a boat propeller for mixing. Up to that point, surf wax was available only in square bars. Just to be different, Herzog and Skinner used empty tuna cans for molds, so their product—finished off with a round label and wrapped in cellophane—was shaped like a can of tobacco.

The wax itself was more or less the same quality as what Surf Research had produced (although it was came in more scented flavors, including lemon, spearmint, and banana), but the "Sex Wax" name was gangbusters. Santa Barbara landscape painter Hank Pitcher, a friend of Herzog's, was the person who came up with both the Sex Wax name and the logo. Herzog loved that both words were short, punchy, and ended in "X." He also thought it was a funny riff on the "sex sells" advertising philosophy. (Herzog took Pitcher's concept and ran—in a 1974 surf magazine ad, beneath the slogan "Expose Yourself to Sex Wax," a grinning Herzog looks over his shoulder while he opens his trenchcoat to a pair of wide-eyed preadolescent girls.

Sex Wax caught on immediately, as did the company's new line of logo T-shirts, which sold by the tens of thousands in the '70s and early '80s, and were banned from some school districts. A related trend developed in the early '80s, as teens and pre-teens began chewing Sex Wax, leading to a DO NOT EAT OR CHEW label disclaimer.

Sex Wax today is sold worldwide and comes in four scents (strawberry, pineapple, grape, and coconut) and three basic formulas for surfboards (Original, Quick Humps, and Really Tacky), with four subformulas for different water temperatures. A snowboard version of Sex Wax is also available. Other Sex Wax products include surf leashes, racks, and carriers; ding repair kits; sunscreen; trunks and rashguards; scented candles; hats, boxer shorts, and the still-popular T-shirts.

Surfer-stoner icon Jeff Spicoli wore a red Sex Wax T-shirt in 1982's Fast Times at Ridgemont High. In 1991's Point Break, the presence of Sex Wax at a crime scene tips off investigators that the bad guys are surfers.

In 2015, a longstanding trademark suit between Mr Zog's Sex Wax and swimwear company Zoggs International went to the New Zealand Supreme Court, which found in favor of Sex Wax.