The Ultimate Guide to Surfing Slang: From A to Z

These are just a few examples of the many slang terms used in the world of surfing. Many of them have regional variations, and some are used more frequently than others. Learning the lingo of surfing can help you communicate more effectively with other surfers and understand the culture surrounding the sport. Here are 99 of the most common and unusual slang words used in the world of surfing:

  1. A-frame: a wave that breaks equally in both directions, creating a peak in the middle
  2. Air: a maneuver in which the surfer jumps off the wave and lands back on the board
  3. Aloha: a Hawaiian greeting or farewell, often used in surfing culture
  4. Backdoor: to ride inside the barrel of a wave from behind
  5. Bail: to jump off the surfboard to avoid getting injured
  6. Barney: a derogatory term for a beginner surfer who is clueless and has bad etiquette
  7. Barrel: a hollow part of a wave where the surfer rides inside the tube
  8. Beach break: a wave that breaks over a sandy bottom close to shore
  9. Beach bum: a person who spends a lot of time at the beach
  10. Bells: a famous surf spot in Australia
  11. Big Kahuna: a respected and experienced surfer
  12. Bomb: a big wave
  13. Brahs: a term used for surfing friends
  14. Carve: to cut back and forth on the face of a wave
  15. Cheater five: a maneuver in which the surfer hangs five toes off the nose of the board on a shorter board
  16. Chiller: a laid-back surfer who is not overly competitive
  17. Chops: rough, choppy water
  18. Classic: traditional or old-school surf style
  19. Clean: smooth, glassy water conditions
  20. Closeout: when a wave breaks all at once and doesn't provide a rideable section
  21. Core: a surfer who is dedicated to the sport and lifestyle
  22. Cutback: a maneuver in which the surfer turns back toward the breaking part of the wave
  23. Dawn patrol: an early morning surf session
  24. Dawnie: an early morning surf session
  25. Ding: a small dent or scratch in a surfboard
  26. Dredging: when a wave sucks up sand from the bottom, creating a barrel
  27. Drop-in: when a surfer takes off on a wave in front of another surfer, violating the proper wave-riding etiquette
  28. Duke: a nickname for Duke Kahanamoku, a legendary Hawaiian surfer
  29. Endless Summer: a classic surf movie from the 1960s
  30. Epic: great surf conditions
  31. Eskimo roll: a technique used to roll a kayak back up after capsizing
  32. Face: the sloping part of a wave that is ridden by the surfer
  33. Face plant: to fall off the board and land face-first in the water
  34. Fins: the small blades on the bottom of a surfboard that help with control and maneuvering
  35. Firewire: a type of surfboard made with innovative materials and construction techniques
  36. Firing: great surf conditions
  37. Flat: calm, still water conditions with no waves
  38. Foam ball: the churning water inside a barrel wave
  39. Foamies: soft-top beginner surfboards made of foam
  40. Froth: excitement and enthusiasm for surfing
  41. Gnarly: extreme, dangerous, or challenging surf conditions
  42. Goofy-foot: a surfer who rides with their right foot forward
  43. Green room: another term for the inside of the barrel wave
  44. Grom: a young surfer who is just starting out
  45. Grommet: a young or beginner surfer
  46. Groundswell: a strong, consistent wave pattern caused by distant weather systems
  47. Half-pipe: a wave that breaks in a U-shape, similar to a half-pipe in skateboarding
  48. Hang ten: to ride a wave with all ten toes hanging off the nose of the board
  49. Heavy: dangerous or intense surf conditions
  50. Huey: a term used to describe a large swell or set of waves
  51. Inside: the part of the wave that breaks closest to shore
  52. Kick out: to exit a wave before it closes out
  53. Kook: a derogatory term for a beginner surfer who doesn't know proper etiquette or technique
  54. Laid-back: relaxed, casual surf style
  55. Layback: a maneuver in which the surfer leans back on the wave face
  56. Leash: a cord that attaches the surfer's ankle to the board
  57. Lull: a period of calm between sets of waves
  58. Macking: huge waves, often used to describe big-wave surf spots
  59. Malibu: a famous surf spot in California
  60. Mavericks: a famous big-wave surf spot in Northern California
  61. Menehune: a term for small or young surfers
  62. Mick's: a famous surf spot in Australia
  63. Nose ride: a maneuver in which the surfer rides on the nose of the board
  64. Off the lip: a maneuver in which the surfer hits the top of the wave and redirects their board down the face
  65. Offshore: a wind blowing from the land to the sea, creating clean, glassy waves
  66. Onshore: a wind blowing from the sea to the land, creating choppy waves
  67. Overhead: waves that are taller than the surfer
  68. Paddle battle: a competition for positioning in the lineup
  69. Paddle out: the act of paddling through the breaking waves to get to the lineup
  70. Peak: the highest point of a wave before it breaks
  71. Pearl: to nose-dive into the water on a wave
  72. Pipe: a famous surf spot in Hawaii, known for its hollow waves
  73. Point break: a wave that breaks along a rocky or sandy point of land
  74. Pop-up: the act of quickly standing up on the board from a lying position
  75. Quiver: a collection of surfboards owned by a surfer
  76. Rail: the edge of a surfboard
  77. Rip: a strong current that pulls water back out to sea
  78. Ripper: an experienced and skilled surfer.
  79. Rocker: the curve of a surfboard from nose to tail
  80. Shaka: a hand gesture used to show appreciation or aloha spirit
  81. Shaper: a person who designs and shapes surfboards
  82. Shorey: a wave that breaks close to shore and creates a steep drop
  83. Sick: a term used to describe great waves or surf conditions
  84. Soul surfing: surfing for the pure enjoyment of the sport, without competition or commercialism
  85. Stoke: the feeling of excitement and enjoyment from surfing
  86. Suction: the force that pulls the water up the face of a breaking wave
  87. SUP: stand-up paddleboard
  88. Swell: the size and energy of the waves
  89. Tandem: two people riding on the same surfboard
  90. Thruster: a type of surfboard with three fins
  91. Tide: the rise and fall of the ocean caused by the gravitational pull of the moon
  92. Tow-in: a method of surfing big waves using a jet ski or boat to tow the surfer into the wave
  93. Tube: another term for the inside of the barrel wave
  94. Twin-fin: a type of surfboard with two fins
  95. Wetsuit: a neoprene suit worn by surfers to stay warm in cold water
  96. White wash: the foamy water created by a breaking wave
  97. Woodie: a vintage car with wooden paneling, often associated with surf culture
  98. Yew: a term used to express excitement or encouragement
  99. Zog: a derogatory term for a bodyboarder

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.