Thanks for the info. Mr. Willard himself just responded to an email I sent him which leaves me with some follow-up questions:
The board's lacquer finish is playable without anything further needing to be done. However, it will not be very fast. The simplest product is an aerosol spray designed for furniture polishing/cleaning. In Canada a brand name is Pledge. Any generic brand will work just as well. Simply spray on and thoroughly wipe off with a clean dry cloth. This will remove body oils from players' hands and food residue from snacks and drinks. If playing for a number of hours it's good to take a break during which time you clean the board.
Through our own experimentation, I do not recommend using heavy paste wax products. However, the rule of thumb is that any product used on the board is compatible with furniture waxing and cleaning.
1.) How important is "being fast?" Does a quicker board equate to a more enjoyable game?
2.) Everything I've read says that using a cleaner like Pledge is very bad while waxing is very good/important. Is this board an exception?
I was somewhat disappointed when I received my willard pro, after having watched crokinole tournament videos where the disks were flying around like air hockey pucks. I also read reviews of other boards that spoke of disks gliding smoothly across the surface. This was definitely not the case for me on the new willard pro, and this email at least indicates that my board surface is not defective.
I'd also like to know the answers to your questions. Fyi, the board comes with a tube of some granular substance to use like shuffleboard powder during play. I haven't treated the board surface in any way and use the powder for faster play, but am not sure if the powder adds wear to the surface finish.