Surfing Terms...
Learn the surf language

There are many surfing terms, actually there is a whole surf language.

Pick up the most common used terms here so you can speak the surf lingo with the locals.



Excellent, fantastic, best ever.

When a surfer jumps out of the air with their board while surfing.

A surf move done while doing an air like spinning around also known as a 360.

This stands for the Association of Surfing Professionals. They look after the professional surfers and competitions. Their site is


When you enter a barrel or tube from behind and ride through it.

A barrel can also be called a tube and the green room. It's when the wave turns into a cylinder and you surf through it.

Bottom Turn
A turn you make when you get to the base/bottom of the wave.


This is when you turn on a wave.

Close Out
When a wave collapses all in one go right along the length.


Dawn Patrol
When you surf at sunrise.

Dropping In
Catching someone else's wave. Not cool. Ride your own wave without disturbing others.

Duck Dive
The art of diving under an oncoming wave while you paddle out.

A wave folding over in large sections so you can't surf it.


Having an excellent surf with great waves.


The front part of a wave.

When your flying through the waves and everything is going great.

A board that has a wide nose, swallow tail and twin fins - basically a shorter, thicker board compared to others on the market. They have a cut-out in the tail so it looks like a fish with an open mouth.

Small foamy waves near the shore. Good for beginners to learn how to surf on.


Glassy Waves
When a wave is clean and smooth caused by little to no wind.

Excellent, really great

Goofy Footer
Someone who surfs with their right foot forward like Occy.

Green Room
When you are surfing inside a barrel or tube.

Grommet or Grom
A young kid surfing, usually pre-teen to young teen.


Hang Ten
Riding your board with your toes hanging over the nose of the board. Not for beginners.

Hang Eleven
A nude male surfer! Blacks Beach in San Diego is a nudest beach and has great surf that is mainly suited to advanced surfers not really for beginners. If you want to Hang Eleven do it there!

When surf conditions are dangerous. A heavy wave and a favourite of surf pros would be Teahupoo in Tahiti.


Impact Zone
The area where the waves break.

In the Soup
When a surfer is in the white foam area of the wave after it has broken.


Jeffrey's Bay or J Bay
J Bay is in Sth Africa and has excellent surf. This area hosts the annual Billabong Pro ASP World Tour and is a favourite of pro surfers.


A person who is new to surfing.


The leg rope that connects a surfer to their board. Invented by Pat O'Neill in 1971.

The tip of a wave that is breaking.


Much loved surfboards made during the 1950’s around the Los Angeles area which have been re-invention along the way. Still very much used today.

Poor quality waves with no power.


Noodle Arms
Having sore tired arms from surfing all day.


This is when the wind blows off the land into the ocean raising waves creating excellent surf conditions.

This is when the wind is blowing from the ocean onto the land and causing flat waves. Offshore good, onshore bad!


The classic Hawaiian wave with loads of barrels which can be quite dangerous.

Point break
A point of land with waves that break in one direction along it, either right or left.

A beach that has great waves. To find this out you need to check the surf reports.


Quad Fin
A surfboard that has 4 fins also known as a Twinzer.


The sides of your surfboard.

Reef Break
Waves breaking over rocks or coral.

When you surf incredibly well.

A strong current that takes you out to sea. Can be very dangerous. To get out of it you need to swim sideways.


Someone who shapes a blank surfboard during manufacture. Very important people. The better then shaper the better the board.

Swallow tail
Surf boards that have a little "v" cut into them on the ends of them or their tail so it looks like an open fish mouth.

A surfboard

Exited, extremely happy usually used countless times in a surfers speech when they win!

Real waves.


The hollow part of a wave that you surf through. Also known as a barrel, keg, or pit.


The end of a surfboard.

Take off
When you catch a wave and then stand up.

A surfboard that has 3 fins. It was invented by Australian Simon Anderson in 1980.

When a surfer gets towed into a waves that is too big to paddle into.

Twin fin
A surfboard that has 2 fins. Four times world champion Mark Richards was famous for his surfing on twin fins.


Excellent, incredibly good.


To turn straight up the wave.


The wave you are going to surf along.

Surf Wax is made from paraffin, colours and other additives and is put on your board to help you grip to it and not fall off while surfing because it does get slippery once you get your board in the water. Wax is the only thing that will help you stick to your board!

Getting up into a tube, usually over a reef or shallow water.

When you fall off your board while surfing.


A leading manufacturers of surfboard traction pads.


A surf spot in Western Australia.

The way a surfers gets the attention of their friends or another person!

You should have been here yesterday
When your friends make you jealous that they went surfing yesterday and had an excellent surf and you missed it!


Fast long waves.

A crowded surf lineup.


If you know a surfing term I haven't included here please let me know by

contacting me.

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