John Dahl founded Wax Research in 1971 in Leucadia, California.

Today, Dahl — who just celebrated his 75th birthday — is still part-owner in the family-owned business. Although it’s now headquartered in Vista, Wax Research continues to celebrate its local roots and pay tribute to its longtime presence in the surf industry. Inside its office and warehouse you’ll find artifacts that tell the story of a rich history, including a wall of photos from throughout the years and even Dahl’s 1950s Chevy.

Tia Blanco with her new candle by Wax Research. Photo: Katie Rodriguez

But its brands, which include Sticky Bumps and Wend Waxworks, are progressive in their own right. The company has an energy efficient boiler on site that uses steam to heat and melt the wax in 400 pound kettles, For the past seven years, Dahl and his team have continually sourced more sustainable waxes, including its Meadowfoam technology — a wax crafted from a flower seed oil that is grown as a rotational crop in Oregon — and has eliminated Teflon from all its wax, so that any run-off is not harmful to plants or animals.

Earlier this month, we took the official tour and got educated on all Wax Research’s offerings. We also had the chance to meet with ambassador Tia Blanco about the launch of her new candle line with the company, which it goes without saying, for those who know Blanco, is free of bees wax, making it vegan, and poured in 100% recycled glass.

Blanco walks us through how the candles are made, which is a recent addition to Wax Research’s offering, in addition to its bike chain cleaner and wax kits. As we tour the facility, CEO Ryan Dahl (John’s son) is hard at work inside the R&D facility testing product, and several of the warehouse staff are busy inspecting and packaging wax bars.

The decision to incorporate more eco-friendly ingredients hasn’t slowed down the business’ production capabilities at all — the company produces roughly 16,000 bars of wax per day, which equates to 4 million bars per year. With 60 distributors worldwide, and 16 Olympians on board as ambassadors, among other star athletes like Blanco, the company is on an upward trajectory.

“The majority of our pre-book business is domestic because to our expanding accessories offering,” expands Alyssa Baker, Wax Research VP of global sales and marketing, and John’s daughter. “We are pretty much year-round now since taking Wend on [in 2003]. The winters used to be quiet but now its crazy on the snow side.”


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