van der waal founders how van der waal as started


Two friends and a dream

Founded by Martim and his best friend Afonso, Van der Waal started as a personal project. It was initially intended as a solution for Martim's new surfboard, rather than a brand or product. Over time, as interest grew among friends and fellow surfers, we started to see it as a potential alternative to surf wax.

How it started

“I broke my board in Carcavelos and ordered a new one. I was so excited with my new board, a yellow retro fish, that I started to explain Afonso an idea that I had some time ago: the wax would get the board all dirty and would hide the whole design, and how cool it would be to have an alternative to that…

Afonso said that he had a material that was able to turn into a grip and that it was transparent. At that point, we started to try the material on my board, just as a personal solution to solve my problem. With the enthusiasm of friends with my board and our solution led us to think that this could be a product. So we started to look at the product from a different side, collecting more professional feedback and making adjustments.

One year later Van der Waal was born.”

Our principles

Since day one, our goal has been to develop a transparent surf wax alternative that allows our surfboard's design to shine while providing high levels of grip.

Since our first sale on September 3rd, 2016, we have valued every single customer's feedback (whom we call Waalers) to continuously improve our product.

Challenging the surf industry standards, we have developed three different versions of our surf grip so far, with a significant failure in between.

We have always strived to find the right balance between grip performance and skin comfort.

And our latest version, r.Evolution Series, is a result of customer feedback and our commitment to create a more eco-friendly alternative to surf wax.

It is built with a softer, lighter, and thinner material that offers high grip levels.

Our journey

From success to errors and issues, we have been learning since day one. Here are some of our most important moments… 

First tests

We started with some experiments with shapes and materials for my new surfboard

First sale

Our first version was launched performance series 1.0

In the press

In 2017, we were surprised with articles on The Inertia, Surfing Sections, and Surfbunker.

New version

New version Performance Series 2.0 launch


Driven by our aim to improve, we have launched r.Evolution series


Ispo Brandnew 2020 recognition

New product

Martim developed a new product: SmartSticker


More than 1/4 million hexagons sold

New logo

Same product, but a completely makeover to our brand



  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020
  • 2021
  • 2022
  • 2023
  • 2024

Surfboards with Van der Waal around the globe

Nothing makes us prouder than a board with Van der Waal. In this simple map you can find places where we know that have at least one surf board with our surf grip.

About the founders


Martim always worked with digital marketing, went through several agencies as a designer and later as a creative director. He surfs (badly) whenever he can and is responsible for all Van der Waal’s image and communication. Besides that, Martim is the founder of Projecto Amelie and this gave him an extensive experience on how to annoy Afonso with cheap philosophies of how a company should behave in society.


Afonso work experience has been made in the field of advertising assemblies, space event decoration and the entire digital production of all materials needed to carry out the work. This gave Afonso an extensive experience on materials e their behavior, which made possible to materialize Martim initial idea. He is responsible for all the production and research of new materials.