The Curious History of Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax
Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax is one of the most iconic surfboard wax brands in surfing history. Here’s how he got his unusual name.
Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax is a surf company founded in 1972 by Frederick Charles Herzog III and his chemist partner Nate Skinner.
Herzog III was born in 1945 and raised in Tustin, Oregon, ten miles northeast of Newport Beach and 40 miles southeast of Los Angeles, California.
In the early 1960s, he attended Tustin Union High School before working at Skyway at Disneyland as a ride operator.
One day Frederick spent $ 90 on his first Dale Velzy and Hap Jacobs balsawood surfboard and started surfing with friends on the beaches of Orange County and San Diego County.
He was one of the first wave surfers to paddle Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point and also enjoyed Doheny State Beach and Trestles.
Frederick Herzog later purchased a semi-pig model from Wardy Surfboards. He had the time of his life.
The teenager was enjoying the best California had to offer a surfer in the 1960s and partying to the sound of Dick Dale and his Del-Tones.
Surf Shop Days
In 1969, after graduating with a degree in economics from the University of California at Santa Barbara, Herzog opened a surf shop in Goleta near the Santa Barbara airport.
In his newly formed surf business, the entrepreneur has also fashioned his own collection of wave surfing gear under the Zog Surfboards and Wave Delineation brands.
One of his working neighbors was Nate Skinner, a well-trained chemist and future professor at the University of California, Davis.
They started hanging out and talking and wondered if they could create a high-grip formula for super-slippery surfboards.
In his “lab,” and over a period of three to five months, Skinner developed several prototypes of wax that Herzog would immediately put to the test.
But paraffin-based surf wax was still just a part-time hobby.
Further chemical modifications and refinements took place over the next year until the duo were finally satisfied with the formulation and final specifications.
“Commercially available surf wax has been around since 1964,” explains Matt Warshaw, author of “The Encyclopedia of Surfing”.
“Herzog and Skinner saw a market opportunity in 1972 when Surf Research, the largest wax-making company at the time, split up.”
The controversial name
Frederick and Nate’s first surf wax was ready to go.
But they needed a name and a logo, so Herzog asked his artist friend Hank Pitcher to design the product’s original and inaugural label.
Pitcher had an eye opener and delivered the first sketch. And a controversial topic – Sex Wax.
Why? The designer thought the name sounded fun, spicy, cool, and stuck in his mind.
But the advertising maxim “sex sells” was also taken into consideration. Herzog liked the idea.
The entrepreneur found it just as blunt, striking, absurd, and thoughtfully provocative. Additionally, the name referred to a tempting taboo subject recurring in capitalism and sales – sex.
“At first I didn’t know what to think,” Frederick Herzog later revealed.
“Initially, I found the label to be extremely strange and probably too controversial. After a few days of thinking, I decided that being outrageous would be fun and consistent with my sarcastic nature.”
In fact, Herzog adopted the concept of Pitcher and took it one step further.
“In a 1974 surf magazine ad, under the tagline ‘Expose Yourself to Sexual Wax’, a smiling Herzog looks over his shoulder as he opens his trench coat to a pair of wide-eyed tweens “, remembers Warshaw.
You probably couldn’t do that today, and over the years the founder of Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax has received all kinds of comments.
There were people who were offended and refused to buy the product, confused customers, and those who appreciated and understood the light and harmless humor associated with the brand.
The original Sex Wax label with the sayings “Never Spoils” and “The Best for your Stick” remains intact over the decades with its classic, old-fashioned feel.
Sex Wax’s original production facility was a 400 square foot garage rented to a friend for $ 20 a month.
The process of making surfboard wax was relatively straightforward.
The duo poured paraffin wax, a softening agent oil solution, and one or more scent chemicals into a 50-gallon barrel, then used a boat propeller to mix the ingredients.
The first wax molds were real old cans of soup, but soon after, the company expanded the operation and started using cans of tuna.
When the wax formula was ready, the semi-liquid mixture was poured into the cans to achieve their final tobacco can shape.
They even built custom tall wood cooling racks and an innovative wood wrapping table.
At the end, the wax bar was wrapped in cellophane with the eye-catching round label.
And they smelled great – it was available in lemon, spearmint, banana, strawberry, and later in pineapple, grape, and coconut, and several other aromatic scents.
Beginning in 1972, Mr. Zog loaded his truck with hundreds of his Sex Wax bars and hit the road spreading the word and the innovative product.
Fredrick visited all major retailers from Santa Cruz to San Diego. Some were intrigued and cautious; others immediately ordered a few cases.
However, it was only a few months before the iconic brand of surfboard wax was available in California’s most famous surf shops.
To boost the business, two friends from the university invested $ 5,000 each in exchange for 5% in the business.
A few years later, Herzog repurchased the shares for double the price at which he had sold them; Nate Skinner kept his 15 percent in the business.
A symbol of surf culture
The success of Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax continued.
In 1975, Mr. Zog’s moved the manufacturing facility to a single-unit warehouse-style complex located in the heart of Goleta.
The company has expanded its offering and launched a series of t-shirts featuring the (in) famous logo.
The clothing line sold by the tens of thousands in the 1970s and early 1980s was even banned from several schools and family-friendly amusement parks.
Oddly, in the early 1980s, the surf wax company was forced to add a disclaimer on the “Do not listen or chew” label after hearing reports of a growing trend to chew sex wax in adolescents.
The surf wax company has even made it to Hollywood.
In 1982, Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn) wore a Sex Wax t-shirt in the comedy-drama blockbuster “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”.
In the years 1991 “Breaking pointThe presence of the brand’s wax at a crime scene tells FBI agents that the bank robber group is made up of surfers.
In 2015, a long-running trademark dispute between Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax and swimwear company Zoggs ended in the New Zealand Supreme Court.
California surfboard wax makers have won the legal battle.
Today, Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax is probably one of the most famous surf wax brands on the planet, and it’s available in every country with surfable waves.
The company sells three main types of surfboard wax: Original, Quick Humps, and Dream Cream Topcoats.
Each adhesion solution includes several varieties of suitable formulas depending on the water temperature: cold water, cold water, hot water and tropical water.
There is also hockey wax to coat hockey stick blades and snowboard wax to reduce friction between the board and the snow.
In addition, the Carpinteria-based company sells wax combs, scrapers and containers, racks and supports for surfboards, sunscreen, swim shorts, short and long sleeves, sweatshirts. , tank tops, men’s boxers, caps, air fresheners, candles, key chains, decals and stockings.
Frederick Herzog never stopped surfing. He and his wife have two children: Erick and Cody.