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A Surf Guide - Surfing Slangs and Terms

Are you interested in surfing but don’t understand the surfing terms? Well, do not worry; you don’t have to join a surfing class to learn surf terms because we have compiled a list of surfing slangs and terms for your ease.

Surfing Slangs And Terms:

A-frame:A wave formed like a peak that equally breaks both right and left.

Aggro:Aggressive surfer or surfing.

Air or Aerial: A movement in which the board leaves the surface or the water/wave.

Akaw:Awesome, epic, cool.

Amped:Feeling excited/full of energy, pumped up.

Ankle slappers: Waves that are too small to ride on.

Backdoor:Going inside a tube or barrel from behind its peak.

Bailing: To jump off your board into the water to avoid a bad encounter.

Barney:A rookie surfer that is not cool, untalented.

Barrel: The curl of the wave or the hollow part of a wave when it is breaking.

Beach break: The places where the waves break over sandbars.

Benny:A person who is not native.

Bitchin’: Amazing, great— used as 'bitchen waves bro.'

Bodyboard:A small board that you ride on your belly, also referred to as a booger, a boogie board, dick dragged, or clam dragger.

Bomb:A giant wave.

Bottom turn: A turn that is made at the lowermost of the wave.

Break:When the swell of the water breaks and turns into waves and white water.

Bro:Short form of brother, dude, surfer—sometimes used for both male and female.

Carve:A sharp turn on the face of the wave.

Caught inside: Being trapped among the shoreline and the breaking waves.

Charging:Antagonistically going for a wave.

Choppy:Rough waves due to windy weather.

Chunder:Unquestionably un-surfable waves.

Clam Dragger: Female bodyboarder.

Clean wave: A smooth wave, without bumps.

Closeout:When a wave breaks unexpectedly and all at once.

Clucked: Being scared of waves.

Crease: Damage to the surfboard by the water impact.

Crest: The highest point or top of a wave.

Curl:The part of the wave where it is breaking.

Cutback: A sharp surf move done in the shoulder or the wave or on its flats to get back on the surf line.

Cutting off or Snaking: Catching a wave in front of a surfer, who was going for it and was closer to it, stealing a wave.

Dawn patrol: Going to surf first thing in the morning.

Deck: The top surface of the surfboard.

Dick dragger or clam dragger: A disparaging term referring to the action of lying down on a surfboard while riding a wave, usually used for bodyboarders.

Ding:Any damage done to a surfboard.

Double overhead - When the wave is twice the size of an average surfer’s head height.

Double up or humpback: When two waves combine, one large wave closely followed by a smaller one.

Drop:The first part of a ride, when a surfer goes down the face of the wave.

Drop-in:Alternative expression to cutting off but also to drop down the face of a wave.

Fin Chop: An injury caused by the fins of a surfboard.

Goofy Footed: A surfer who rides with the right foot forward.

Greenroom or Inside the Greenroom: Inside of a barrel.

Grom or grommet:A young and inexperienced surfer, rookie surfer.

Grubbing:Falling off the surfboard during surfing.

Gun:A big wave surfboard.

Hang Eleven: A male surfer who rides naked.

Hang Five: Riding a surfboard with one foot placed on the board's nose and five toes hanging over the nose.

Hang Loose: The salutation that accompanies the sign of Shaka.

Hang Ten: Riding a surfboard with both feet placed on the board's nose and your toes hanging over the nose.

Header:To fall off a surfboard from the front head first.

Heavy:Big, incredible waves that are sometimes dangerous.

Helicopter: A move in which the surfer spins their surfboard around from its nose.

Hit the lip: When a surfer turns up their surfboard to hit the falling lip of the wave, allowing the surfboard to be smashed down.

Hodad:A person who passes the time on the beach but does not surf.

Hollow:Barrels, tubes.

Impact zone: Place where the waves are breaking the hardest, and beginner surfers can get hurt.

Inside:The place among the shore and the impact zone.

Into the soup: Inside the foamy white water.

Jacking:When wave swells rapidly from deep waters to the shallow ones.

Jake:A surfer who accidentally comes in the way of more experienced surfers.

Juice:The power of the wave.

Junkyard dog: A poor style surfer.

Keg:A barrel, a tube, or something that holds beer after surfing.

Kick out: Finishing the ride by going over the back or through the wave.

Kickflip:Revolving the surfboard 360 degrees while in the air.

Killer: Term used to say that something is really good.

Kneeboard: A particular type of board intended for riding on knees.

Kook:Arookie surfer.

Layback:Laying backward on the wave.

Leash:The piece of material that ties the leg to the surfboard.

Left:A wave that breaks on the left of the surfer from the peak.

Line up: The water area, away from the swell, where surfers wait to get their turn at catching a wave.

Lines:The swell, when it is approaching the shore.

Lip: The upper-most part of a wave, right before it breaks.

Localism:Unfriendliness by local surfers towards non-local surfers.

Locked in: When a surfer gets caught inside a crashing wave.

Longboard:A surfboard with a round nose that is at least 8 feet long.

Lull:The moment of still between swells.

Macking:When the surf is quite intense.

Making the drop: Catching a wave and sitting on the lower part of the wave’s shoulder.

Maxed out: Waves that are too large to break without closing out.

Men in grey suits: Sharks.

Messy:Irregular and unpredictable waves.

MINIGUN: A speed shape surfboard that was designed for medium to large surf back in the 1960s.

Mullering:Wiping out.

Mush/Mush burger: Soft non-surfable waves.

Namer:A surfer who shares a secret surf spot with others.


Noodled:Tired arms due to surfing.

Nose:The front and pointed part of the surfboard.

Nose guard: A rubber tip meant to protect the nose of the surfboard.

Nose ride: A longboarding move where the person surfs on the front of the surfboard.

Nug:A good wave.

Off the lip: Re-entry.

Offshore:Winds that are blowing from the land towards the ocean.

Onshore:Winds that are blowing from the ocean towards the land.

Outside:The place beyond the lineup and where the waves break.

Outside break: The furthest place from the shore where the waves are still breaking.

Over the falls: When a surfer goes over the lip and into the face of the wave.

Over gunned: When the board is unsuitable for the surfing conditions.

Overhead: When a wave is higher than a surfer.

Paddlepuss: A person who plays in the white water and is afraid to stray from the beach.

Party wave: A wave that can accommodate several people.

Peak: A breaking wave that generates both left and right surfable shoulders.

Pearl: When surfers bury the nose of their surfboard underwater.

Peeling: When a wave breaks perfectly in one direction or the other, or both.

Pigdog: A position that reflects the surfer grabbing onto the rails while inside a barrel.

Pintail: A surfboard design perfect for hollow surfing.

Pit: The barrel of a strong and large wave.

Pit Dive - When you cannot make the drop or end of diving into the bottom of the wave.

Pocket: The power pocket of a powerful wave and where a surfer wants to position himself.

Pointbreak: A type of wave that is found around a coastline with a headland.

Pop up: A surfer move, from lying on the surfboard to standing up to surf.

Pruned: A condition that happens to parts of your body, such as your fingers, when you have been in the water too long.

Pull in: When a surfer turns the surfboard up to enter a barrel.

Pumping: Term used to tell that the swell is substantial and consistent.

Quimby: A usually annoying beginner surfer.

Quiver: Surfboard collection of a surfer.

Racy: A swift surfable wave.

Rad/radical: Impressive and splendid surfing.

Rails: The sides of the surfboard.

Rail bang: Taking a surfboard between the legs while falling.

Raked over: Getting hit by strong waves when paddling out to catch a wave.

Rashguard: A Lycia shirt used to protect from the sun and from getting nipple rashes from the wax on the deck of surfboards.

Re-entry: When a surfer goes over or through the lip of the wave and then goes back in.

Regular footed: A surfer that doesn't face the wave on lefts.

Ricos:Flawless, rich.

Right: A wave that breaks on the surfer’s right from the peak.

Riptide: A turbulent stretch of water.

Rock dance: Moves made by surfers who exit through a rocky section.

Rocker: The curve under the surfboard.

Section– It is a location in the water, where the waves aren’t breaking and where surfers are waiting for their turn to charge and ride.

Set – A series of waves approaching the lineup.

Shacked – Riding a giant, big barrel but not quite barrelled with the lip, only overhead.

Shaka – A sign surfers use, extending the thumb and their little finger.

Shape– A term used to rate the breaking waves' quality (a wave breaking evenly is called the perfect shape).

Shore break or shorepound – Typically non-surfable waves that break very right on the shore.

Shoulder – The unbroken part of a breaking wave.

Shove-it – The act of moving the surfboard (360 or 180 60 degrees) under the surfer, however riding a wave.

Shubie: A person who buys surf clothing and a surfboard but does not surf.

Sick – Astonishing, amazing, and impressive.

Sketchy – Bad form during surfing.

Slotted – A surfer’s excellent position inside the barrel.

Soft board – A surfboard meant for beginners having a smooth surface.

Soup – Whitewater

Spat out – The action when a surfer leaves a barrel along with air and foamy water.

Spit – Water that gets spewed out from a barrel.

Sponger – A belittling term used for bodyboarder.

Stall – A surf move intended to slow down a surfboard.

Stick – A surfboard.

Stoked – Exceptionally happy, thrilled, pumped

Sucking dry – An action executed by powerful breaking waves that make the seabed become exposed.

Surf camp – A surf vacation that includes accommodation, a place where an instructor teaches surfing.

Surfer’s knots – Swellings on the leg’s backside below the knee due to kneeling on the surfboard while waiting for a wave

Swell/groundswell – Surfable waves.

Tail – A board’s backside

Take off – To catching a wave.

Through – The bottom of a wave when it starts breaking.

Tombstoning – When a surfer is wiped out and descending below the surface, and his/her surfboard is bobbling up and down, attached to the surfer with a leash.

Tow in –Big wave surfers use this term which means being towed in by jet ski to the area where the large waves are.

Tube –The wave’s hollow, barrel.

Tubular – Remarkable, outstanding, rad.

Turtle roll – A method used to get a surfboard to go through a breaking wave; it suggests hanging onto the rails, turning over so that a surfer is entirely underwater and the surfboard’s fins become visible.

Twin fin – The twin fin surfboard

Victory at Sea – Unrideable and big waves

Wall – A wave’s face with no area to ride on.

Washing machine – When a surfer gets rolled around underwater by a breaking wave.

Wave hog – A surfer who wouldn’t share a wave.

Wax– The substance used by surfers on their surfboard to improve traction.

White water – A foamy, broken wave

Wipeout – To fall off a wave during surfing

Worked– When a surfer gets knocked off by a wave and then gets in the washing machine

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