Surf Dictionary
imessouane, morocco, surfing

The perfect barreling surf, a cross-section of an A-frame wave reveals an "A" shape where it is breaking soooo nicely

Aggressive attitude in the water; having a bad attitude

Getting excited while surfing or really looking forward to a surf

Ankle Busters / Snappers
Small waves

ASP stands for Association of Professional Surfing. These guys look after the professional side of surfing.

A barrel is where the wave is hollow when it is breaking. For some surfers it's the be all and end all of surfing. Is sometimes called a "tube."

Beach Break
This is a wave that breaks over a sandy sea bed.

Beach Leech
The perfect description of a beach leech: "Some people don't bring their own boards, and prefer to borrow your extra boards (they don't rent). And for wax, some don't really bring it. They just ask for some."

Bells Beach
Bells Beach is one of the great right point breaks. Find it on the south Victorian coastline of Australia. Check out the Bells Beach Pro held in March every year. This was the setting for that tearful end bit in the movie "Point Break" when Patrick (twinkletoes) Swayze AKA Bodie ate it at the end of Point Break. (And no doubt that after reading the waves page and finding out what a point break actually is, you're feeling particularly chuffed with yourself!)
It should also be pointed out that it was not actually Bells Beach where the scene was filmed but India Beach in Oregon. Thanks to Danny from Oregon for this info.

What Australians call a watering hole, but to everyone else it is one of the largest surfing equipment and clothing manufacturers out there.

Old school for really good or enjoyable

Blown Out
Where the onshore wind turns the surf in to unrideable mush

The fibreglass thingy under your feet

Boardshorts / Boardies
These shorts are quick drying, lightweight, and worn by those lucky enough to be surfing in warm water.

Bottom Turn
This is the turn made at the base of the wave when coming down off the face. It's often the first move made after dropping in. Get it right for great positioning for your next manoeuver.

Carve / Carving
The classic surfing manoeuver, carving is basically what turning on a wave is called. Carve is also a surfing magazine found in Europe.

Caught Inside
A surfer who is caught inside is too far in, and the waves are breaking further out. It can be dangerous in big surf.

Chinese Wax Job
Getting wax on the bottom of your surfboard

Bitchin', awesome, great etc.

Used to describe the pollution conditions when there's a turd in the lineup — "I caught some sick waves out there but it was hard trying not to swallow the chowder."

The process where a surfer turns up and down the face of the wave while surfing down the line

Close Out
Where a wave breaks along its length all at once

Being scared of afraid of waves

Swell lines that look like corduroy;

Slang from 1960's surf culture, cried out enthusiastically when surfing — The surfer's cry "Cowabunga" as they climb a 12 foot wall of water and "take the drop."

Cross Step / Stepping
This is the art of walking up and down a longboard, foot over foot. When you see some guy / gal running up and down their board, you'll now know what to call it.

Making a cutback is reversing the direction that you are surfing in one smooth fluid move. (That's the idea anyway.)

The is the bit of the surfboard you stand on. (Hopefully you have your board the right way round in the water.)

Surfboard damage — "Oh dear me, I've dinged my board!" (Perhaps a little more profanity will be used.)

Drop, The
The drop is where a surfer first gets up on the waves and drops down the face of the wave. It's also referred to as "taking the drop."

Drop In
Dropping in is a crime in the surf world. A drop-in is where a surfer catches a wave without having priority, i.e. there is already a surfer on the wave. Please see diagram above. Remember, it's a CRIME!

Duck dive / Duck Diving
Duck Diving is diving under an oncoming wave when paddling out.

Dude, we almost forgot dude! Dude can mean pretty much anything depending on the tone and inflection. (Thanks go to Corey Ferguson for this one.)

Often caused by onshore conditions, where a wave will fold over in big sections, making it un-surfable

Eat It
Wiping out on a wave.

Endless Summer
"Endless Summer" is the absolute classic surfing movie. Forget all this new school tricky stuff. Watch this movie, and if you are not a surfer before viewing, you'll certainly want to be after. I cannot emphasise how good this is — WATCH IT! (Even the other half will enjoy it!!!) Check out this video and others at the surf video page.

Top class surf or extremely good waves; description of an awesome wave or surf session

Eskimo Roll
(See Turtle Roll)

This is where someone rides backwards on the surfboard, tail first. It's also what you are if you're only reading this page so you can pretend that you're a surfer.

FCS stands for fin control system. This is a type of fin that is fully removable from the surfboard. It's ideal if you break a fin (you don't have to get a new on glassed back on), or if you are travelling. (It's best to remove the fins to keep your board from being damaged.)

The fin is the curved bit hanging down under your surfboard that you keep bashing when you tie your surfboard to the roof of your car. It's sometimes called a skeg.

Firing is the same as "going off", where the surf is really good and the waves are breaking nicely.

These are either whitewater waves or surfboards that are made out of foam. (They're ideal for beginners.)

The rate of change of thickness of a surfboard from the nose to the tail

A surfer who does not catch a wave for the whole time they are in the water

A mid-length surfboard, often know as a minimal;

Goofy / Goofy Foot
Surfing with your right foot forward

This is the nickname of the title character created in a novel by Frederick Kohner (and adapted for three further films). Gidget is a contraction of "girl midget," which is why it went on to be used to describe small female surfers.

This is ultra-clean surf without a ripple that often looks like glass.

Goat Boater
Derogatory term for kayakers and wave skiers

Green Room
Inside the tube or barrel

Gremmie / Grommet / Grom
Any of the above can be used to describe a young or inexperienced surfer. Grommet is also the cute doggie character in the Nick Park animation creations. (And they are really rather good!)

Falling off your board while surfing

British surfing equipment manufacturer

A surfboard designed for big waves

Hang Eleven
This is when a male surfer rides his board in the nude.

Hang Ten
If you're riding a longboard with both feet directly on the nose of the board, your hanging ten. It's also the name of a longboard magazine.

Heavy has a couple of meanings. When used as in "heavy waves," it means big, gnarly, kick ass waves. Teahupoo, Mavericks and Pipeline are three waves that would have to be described as heavy with a capital "H." The same term can be used to describe the locals at a spot. (For the same kick ass reason!)

Anyone who annoys board riders while they surf (austral Women's Weekly Oct. 24, 1962)

A hodad is a non-surfing beach bum. (Pix Sept. 28, 1963) Thanks go to John Gentile for the Hodads.

Impact Zone
The spot where the waves are breaking

In the Soup
A term used when a surfer is in the white foam of the wave after the wave has broken

Slang for Indonesia, home of some classic surf spots and a top surf trip destination

Popular brand of surf clothing

Jeffrey's Bay / J Bay
Jeffrey's Bay is a South African surf break of the highest calibre. It's one of the world's most famous, high quality right handers. (Don't know what a right hander is? Then go learn your waves. Go have a look at the section on waves.)

Junkyard Dog
A surfer with poor style or a surfer who only surfs crappy waves

Another word for a barrel / tube

A surfing spin-off, kneeboarding is riding the waves on your knees using a special knee board.

A beginner or someone who is not very good at surfing

The layback is a surfing manoeuver where the surfer literally lays backwards on a wave. It's one of surfing's more extreme tricks.

This is the cord that is attached between your leg and your surfboard. 

Leg rope
See Leash above.

Line Up
The line up is the place just outside the breaking waves where surfers wait for their waves

Locked In
When a wave crashes and the surfer is inside of it

This is when the ocean goes flat between sets and everyone sits around waiting for the waves to arrive

This is a famous big wave spot off the California coast. Not to be confused with the film "Maverick", starring Mel Gibson, although you need to be pretty brave to tackle both.

Men In Grey Suits

Multi-world champ and all round surfing legend Mark Richards

Wipe-out of the highest order

Mush / Mushburger
Poor quality, slow, or non-powerful waves, often onshore 

Narrabeen is one of a whole host of quality surfspots on Sydney's north shore. You lucky, lucky Aussies!

New School 

Noodled / Noodle Arms
Being exhausted or having tired arms

The pointy bit of the surfboard; the bit that points away from you when you are paddling and riding

Ocean =))
Same thing as a sea, only bigger

This is when the wind at a surf break is blowing off the shore ;-), It makes for ideal surfing conditions.

This is when the wind is blowing towards the land, spoiling the waves. Always remember; offshore good, onshore bad!

Someone who stays and plays in the whitewater close to the beach

Party Wave
A wave surfed by several people at once

Perl / Pearl
This is a common term describing when a person buries the nose of their surfboard in the wave and goes "over the falls." It's often referred to by the actual surfer as "@#%%@#@!"

This is the classic Hawaiian wave — amazing, barreling, and mean. It's one of the most famous and most photographed waves there is.

A decent swell where the waves are nice and powerful; also used to describe a surfer trying to generate speed

Pretty much everyone, surfers and non-surfers alike, will already know about Quiksilver. They're one of the largest manufacturers of surfing equipment and surf clothing on the planet. The lads have done well from their boardshort beginning on Torquay — good on ya!

A surfer's collection of different surfboards. (I've heard people say it's the place where they keep their boards but not sure about that. Thanks go to Kris Carré who suggested "quiver" as an entry.)

Rails are the sides of your surfboard, running from nose to tail and back again.

Rail Bang
To fall off and take the surfboard between the legs (Ouch!)

Raked Over
To be hammered by incoming waves while paddling out

Regular / Regular Footed
Surfing with your left foot forward

Rip / Riptide
A riptide is a strong current heading out to sea. It can be dangerous for surfers and swimmers alike.

Rock Dance
Getting into or out of the surf over rocks

See Surfers Against Sewage.

A shove-it is a manoeuver where the rider shoves the surfboard round underneath the feet, 180 or 360 degrees. It's a good trick if you can do it.

Someone who buys surf gear and clothing but does not surf

A term used to describe when someone does something impressive, e.g. "that was a sick air" — not just because you have swallowed too much sea water

A rapid turn off the top of the wave, hopefully throwing loads of spray off the top

Slater, Kelly
He's famous for being in Baywatch and his alleged dalliance with Pamela Anderson. Oh yes, we've heard that he's a pretty tidy surfer as well. 10 times surf champion

Snake / Snaking
Waves should be shared, but snakes take it all. To snake is to drop in out of turn.

A bodyboarder

Steamer Lane
This is a famous Northern California surf spot

Step Into Liquid
This is what happens when you go walking in puddles. It's also the the name of a surf video by surf vid guru Dana Brown.

Surfer slang for a surfboard

Very happy

This is the bit of wood that runs up through the length of your surfboard. (It's there if you have a fibreglass one and not one that you have fashioned out of an old ironing board!)

Surfers Against Sewage
SAS is an organisation campaigning for clean water for all. These guys are incredibly high profile and lobby endlessly to ensure all water users are surfing in clean water. 

Swallow Tail
You'll really have to go and read up on the surfboard tail shapes section.

Swell or groundswell refers to solid, real waves.

Switch Stance
Riding the surfboard standing the other way round, i.e. if you're regular footed you would be surfing goofy

This is the bit of the surfboard at the opposite end to the nose.

The tailslide is a move where the tail of the board slides across the lip of the wave.

Popular name for a tri-fin shortboard

The tube is public transportation in London. Oh, you mean Tube! The tube is where the wave is hollow where it's breaking. For some surfers it's the be all of surfing. It's sometimes called a barrel, keg, or pit.

Turtle Roll
This is a technique for getting a longboard out though a breaking wave. (As apposed to duckdiving for a shortboarder). See our how to turtle roll article for more info.

Ulluwatu is one of a large number of quality Indonesian surf breaks.

You are not seriously looking for an explanation of this are you?

Vanuatu is a smallish island in the Pacific, complete with numerous great waves. If you are planning a tropical surfing trip, you could do worse!

It smells nice, gets stuck in your chest hair (not you ladies!), and is used to stop your feet slipping off your board. Also, surf wax can be used as to repair almost anything — leaky roof, rusty zip... you name it.

Washing Machine
Getting spun around and around underwater by a wave

It's made of neoprene, keeps out the cold, and makes you look like a seal.

Falling of your board is referred to as a wipe-out. Other terms are donut, mullering, eating it, taking a pounding, or pretty much anything else you would like.

To "get worked" is to wipe out and get thrown about while being held under by the wave.

Yes, you guessed — we couldn't think of a surfing word truly beginning with "X." Its definition is exactly the same as in the dictionary. Tow in surfing is the latest type of extreme surfing.

Xtrak is one of the leading manufacturers of surfboard traction pads.
Yallingup Surf spot in Western Australia.

 all text was taken from


Log in

No account? Create an account