Surf Lingo

Aerial – Usually performed by expert surfers on shortboards where the surfer takes off from the lip and gets the board completely out of the water and performs additional tricks.

Aloha – Hello, goodbye and also means love.

Ankle Biters – Very small waves.

Backside – Surfing with your back to the face of the wave.

Baggies – Loose fitting board shorts about knee length.

Barney – A new and inexperienced surfer.

Barrel (Tube) – The inside portion of the wave when larger waves for a tube that advanced surfers can position themselves in.

Betty – Older term used to describe an attractive female surfer.

Blank – Factory produced foam block used to shape a new board.

Blown Out – When windy conditions wreck the waves and keep them from forming.

Caught Inside – When breaking waves inside prevent the surfer from paddling back to the lineup.

Channel – An area of deeper water where the water returns away from the shore.

Cheater Five – When the surfer is able to get five toes over the nose of the board.

Close-Out – When the wave breaks in front, or potentially on top of, the surfer.

Closed-Out – Lousy surfing conditions meaning the wave breaks all along the face at once.

Cut Out – Getting off a wave, aka pull-out, kick-out, especially useful when the wave is closing out.

Crest – The point of the wave within a cycle where the wave reaches it’s maximum height.

Curl – The part of the wave that is breaking.

Ding – Damage to the surfboard.

Drop – The initial downward movement of the board after taking off.

Dropping In – Taking off on wave in front of another surfer who is already on or getting on it. Don’t do it.

Duck Dive – When the surfer pushes the board and his/her body under the wave using a knee or foot to reduce or avoid the impact of the breaking wave.

Face (Wall) – The steep part of the wave where many maneuvers are performed, just under the crest and lip.

Floater – Advanced move when riding across the top portion of a wave then coming down from the top of the breaking part of the wave.

Frontside – surfing while facing the face of the wave.

Goofy Foot – Surfing with your right foot forward.

Hang Ten – Advanced nose riding technique where the surfer wraps all then toes over the nose of the board.

Heavies – Big surf usually over 12′.

Impact Zone – The area where the waves are breaking. Dangerous to linger; paddle around it ASAP.

Inside – Waves breaking closer to shore, usually in more shallow water and not as big as outside.

Kook – A hurtful word in surfing; means you can’t surf, surf style is bad or you snake other surfers.

Lineup (The) – Where fellow surfers are sitting waiting for waves, there’s both inside & outside lineups.

Lineup (Your) – Position in the water using static landmarks to keep you from drifting and can paddle back to.

Lip – The first part of the wave forming after the crest has reached its peak.

Mahalo – Thank you.

Nose Riding – Surf move mostly on a longboard where the surfer rides on the front of the board.

Outside – The furthest place away from shore where the wave is forming and starting to break; where the largest waves are.

Over The Falls – When the wave pulls you circularly over the lip and pulls you under, aka pitched & sucked over.

Peeling – The ideal condition when the wave lip is curling over for a long and steady rate.

Pearling – When the nose of the board digs into the water because the surfer is off balance.

Pop-Outs – Mass-produced and usually low quality boards.

Pounding – What happens to surfers stuck in the impact zone ie: I took a pounding.

Pumping – When the waves are plentiful and big; or to generate speed by pumping board up & down the face.

Quiver – One surfer’s collection of boards.

Reef Rash – Cuts and scratches from the coral reef.

Reform – When whitewater (whitewash) “reforms” into another wave on the inside: usually smaller.

Regular Foot – Surfing with your left foot forward.

Rip Current – A dangerous top flow of water returning quickly out towards the ocean, or a side-shore current.

Sectioning – When a wave has sections break in the middle of the wave that can reform into another wave.

Set – A group of waves, usually between three and ten.

Snake – Paddling around someone who is already in position to snake the wave for yourself.

Soul Surfer – One who surfs for the pure enjoyment and not interested in competing or looking good.

Stall – Slowing down by shifting weight to the tail of the board or putting a hand in the wave.

Stoked – A happy and pleasant feeling.

Swag – Free stuff, stickers, hats, accessories, etc.

Swell – An increase in wave size and activity that is caused by storms hundreds or thousands of miles away.  Swells make surfers very happy.

Tandem – Two people riding the same board, usually a male and female.

Tube/Barrel – Where the wave is breaking in shallower water and forms a hollow tube aka barrel.

Turtle Roll – Turning the board over and positioning your body to reduce the impact of the breaking wave.

Wahine – Female surfer.

Wave Hog – Someone who catches many waves and doesn’t share with others.

Trough – The point of the wave within a cycle where the wave reaches it’s lowest point.

Worked – When you get pounded by a wave and pushed underwater.