The surfer’s slang dictionary

Norbert Ferenczi
15 of December 2023
The surfer’s slang dictionary

Hey broski, if this conversation do not make any sense for you, you are at the right spot. We gona list a few surfing slangs for you to understand how the surfing community talks to each other !

-Hey bro, check out that kook trying to paddle out to the line up but keep on getting locked in. 

-Yo dude, I have seen he is totally stoked. He eats all the soup for lunch , I guess he got noodled arms already for now. 

two rad surf dudes


Aloha – a Hawaiian greeting that means “hello” or “goodbye”;

Yo, dude – Greeting a fellow surfer

Hey, bro – brother, mate-calling a friend

Hey Grom – a young and inexperienced surfer; also known as a grommet or gremmie.

Hang Loose! – the salutation that accompanies the sign of Shaka

Shaka! – a Hawaiian hand gesture used to say “hello,” “great,” “cool,” and “alright”

U stoked!? – Are you motivated? Being ready to surf?

About surfboard:

Nose – the front and pointed part of the surfboard

Tail – the backside of the board

Rails – the sides of the board

Fin – a hydrofoil mounted at the tail of a surfboard to improve directional stability and control through foot-steering

Deck – the top surface of a surfboard

Ding – any damage done to your surfboard

Rocker – the curve under the surfboard

Soft board – a surfboard with a soft surface, meant for beginners

Stick – a surfboard

Shortboard – a small surfboard, using for more aggressive surf 

Longboard – the longest surfboard, using for easy small waves

Gun – a big wave surfboard

About Waves and conditions

A-frame – a wave-shaped like a peak that breaks both left and right, equally

Ankle slappers – waves that are too small to ride

Beach break – the places where the waves break over sandbars

Bomb – a massive wave

Break – when the swell of the water breaks, turning into waves and white water

Caught inside – being caught between the shoreline and the breaking waves

Choppy – rough waves due to wind conditions

Clean wave – a smooth wave, with no bumps

Closeout – when a wave breaks suddenly and all at once

Curl – the area of the wave where it is breaking

Double up or humpback – when two waves combine; one large wave closely followed by a smaller one

Heavy – big, awesome waves that are sometimes dangerous

Hollow – barrels, tubes

Impact zone – the place where the waves are breaking the hardest and where beginners tend to get hurt

Inside – the place between the shore and the impact zone

Left – a wave that breaks on the left of the surfer, from the peak

Line up – the area in the water, away from the swell, where the 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

Locked in – when a surfer gets caught inside a crashing wave

Lull – the moment of calm between swells  

Maxed out –waves that are too large to break without closing out

Messy – irregular and unpredictable waves

Nug – a good wave

Offshore – winds that are blowing from the shore towards the ocean

Onshore – winds that are blowing from the ocean towards the shore

Outside – the place beyond the lineup; beyond the place where the waves break

Overhead – when a wave is higher than an average surfer

Party wave – a wave that several people are surfing

Peak – the highest point of a breaking wave that generates both left and right surfable shoulders

Peeling – when a wave breaks perfectly

Pointbreak – a type of wave that is found around a point of land, a coastline with a headland

Pumping – decent surfing conditions

Right – a wave that breaks on the right of the surfer, from the peak

Riptide – a stretch of water that is particularly turbulent

Set – a series of waves that are approaching the lineup

Shoulder – the part of the breaking wave that is unbroken

Soup – whitewater, foam of breaking wave

Spit – the water that gets sprayed out from a barrel

Tube – barrel, the hollow of the wave

About surfing

360 – a surf move consisting of turning the surfboard at a 360-degree angle while on the face of a wave

Air or Aerial – is a maneuver in which the board leaves the surface or the water/wave

Backdoor – going inside a tube/barrel, also known as the curl of the wave, from behind its peak

Bailing – Jumping off your board into the water in order to avoid a bad encounter

Bottom turn – a turn that is made at the bottom of the wave; a very important maneuver that sets the tone for the ride

Charging – aggressively going for a wave

Cutback – a surf move done sharply in the shoulder or the wave or on its flats to get back on the surf line

Dawn patrol – going surfing first thing in the morning
Drop – the first part of a ride, when the surfer goes down the face of the wave

Drop-in – synonym to cutting off but also to drop down the face of a wave

Hang Five – riding a surfboard with one foot placed on the nose of the board and five toes hanging over the nose

Hang Ten – riding a surfboard with both feet placed on the nose of the board and your toes hanging over the 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

Kick out – finishing the ride by going over the back or through the wave

Layback – laying backward on the wave

Off the lip – re-entry

Pop up – the move surfers make to move from lying on the surfboard to standing up to surf

Pull in – turning the surfboard up to enter a barrel

Rad/radical – awesome and impressive surfing

Re-entry – when a surfer goes through or over the lip of the wave and then goes back in

Stall – a surf move meant to slow down the surfboard

Take off – to catch a wave

Tow in – used by big wave surfers, it refers to being towed in by a jet ski to the place where the big waves are

White water – a broken, foamy wave

Wipeout – falling off a wave while surfing

Other slangs referred to a surfer or situation:

Amped – feeling excited, pumped up

Barney – a surfer that is not cool, untalented, rookie

Benny – a person who is not a local

Clucked – being scared of waves

Hodad – a person who hangs around the beach and does not surf

Jake – a surfer who inadvertently is in the way of more experienced surfers

Junkyard dog – a surfer with poor style

Kook – a rookie surfer or someone who isn’t very good at surfing

Namer – a surfer who shares a secret surf spot with others

Noodle arms – tired arms

Quimby – a beginner surfer who is usually annoying

Sick – astounding, impressive, amazing

Washing machine  – getting rolled around underwater by a breaking wave

Wave hog – a surfer who will not share a wave

The list is long as surfers slang is one of the largest and most recognisable in the english language. We hope by reading this article you will understand fellow beach bums more!