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Must-know Surfer Slang & Lingo[with Photos]
If you just start surfing, knowing terms and slang that surfers use can help you learn faster and blend into the surfer community (also, it sounds cooler when you talk like a surfer!)
Here is a list of the most frequently used surfer slang that will help you crack the code.
Surfer lingo for waves
Barrel: the curl or hollow of the wave. Also known as a tube.
Bomb: a massive wave.
Choppy: rough waves due to wind conditions.
Ankle Busters / Snappers: small waves.
Swell: a group of waves that escapes from the storm in the ocean.
Groundswell: a wind swell is created by the wind blowing above the ocean.
Wind swells: waves are created by the wind blowing above the ocean close to the shore.
A-Frame: the perfect barreling surf, a cross-section of an A-frame wave reveals an "A" shape where it is breaking nicely.
Shoulder: the part of the breaking wave that is unbroken.
Closeout: when a wave breaks suddenly and all at once.
Set: a series of waves that are approaching the lineup.
Pocket: the power pocket of a barrel or powerful wave and where you want to position yourself.
Pit: the impact zone of the wave, or the most hollow part of the tube.
Peak: the spot in the ocean where the wave breaks for both sides.
Party wave: a wave that several people are surfing.
Overhead: when a wave is higher than an average surfer.
Inside: the area where waves end, as opposed to outside.
Outside: the place beyond the lineup; beyond the place where the waves break.
Mush/Mushburger: soft non-surfable waves, without any energy.
Messy: irregular and unpredictable waves.
Lip: the curling part of a wave.
Closeout: a closeout occurs when a wave breaks in one long line instead of peeling in sections. They are unrideable and offer no wall to surf on. Closeouts should be avoided if possible, as taking a closeout wave may result in injury.
Surfer lingo for important maneuver
Air or Aerial: This is a maneuver in which the board leaves the surface or the water/wave.
Bottom turn: a turn that is made at the bottom of the wave; a very important maneuver that sets the tone for the ride.
Carve: a maneuver that is a sharp turn on the face of the wave.
Bail: an evasive maneuver activated when a surfer is caught inside or when he is about to wipe out.
Floater: a surfing maneuver where the rider goes over the top of a crumbling section and ends up in the flats.
Kick out: a surfing maneuver done at the end of a wave ride to exit it.
Frequently asked questions about surfing slang
What is a female surfer called?
There is no specific term for a female surfer. You can call a girl who surfs just "surfer", although, there are terms like gurfer, wahine that are used to refer to a female surfer.
What is the surfer lingo for cool?
Choka, bitchin', awesome, great, etc.
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