Surf Slang R-Z



Radical/Rad – High performance or risk taking surfing, awesome or impressive.

Rag Dolled – See washing machine, getting tossed around by a wave like you’re a rag doll .

Rail – Rails are the sides of your surfboard, running from nose to tail and back again.

Rail Bang – To fall off and take the surfboard between the legs (Ouch!).

Rail to Rail – Keeping the surfboard constantly moving on the wave, from one rail of the surfboard to the other. This type of surfing helps keep up speed and get the most out of the wave.

Raked Over – To be hammered by incoming waves while paddling out.

Reef Tax – Cuts and grazes etc. from hitting the reef or rocks.

Reform – Where a wave that has already broken starts to build back up into a surfable wave.

Regular/Regular Footed – Surfing with your left foot forward – i.e. not Goofy

Rip/Riptide – A riptide is a strong current heading out to sea. It can be dangerous for surfers and swimmers alike.

Rock Dance – Getting into or out of the surf over rocks.

Rocker – The bottom curve of a surfboard.

Roller – Another word for a top turn.

Santanas – Describing ‘Devil Winds’ that are warm brisk offshore winds off the California coast.

SAS/Surfers Against Sewage – An organisation campaigning for clean water for all.

Shacked – Getting completely barreled, riding a phat tube.

Shaka – A common hand signal used by surfers, with an extended thumb and little finger. Hang loose!

Shoobie – Early 20th century tourists that would travel to the shore towns by train carrying their lunches in Shoe Boxes (shoobies).

Shootin’ the Curls – Slang meaning to go surfing.

Shoulder – The surfable part of the wave.

Shoulder Hop – Dropping in on a surfer who is already up and riding.

Shove-it – A shove-it is a manoeuvre where the rider shoves the surfboard round underneath the feet, 180 or 360 degrees.

Shred – Aggressive surfing moves on a wave with resulting spray over the backside visible to those on the outside.

Sick – A term used to describe when someone does something impressive, e.g. “that was a sick air” — not just because you have swallowed too much sea water.

Single Fin – A surfboard with a single centre fin.

Sketchy – The opposite of surfing smoothly with style.

Skeg – Sternward extension of the keel, or a single center fin on surf board.

Slash – A rapid turn off the top of the wave, hopefully throwing loads of spray off the top.

Slotted – Correctly positioned in a tube.

Snake/Snaking – Waves should be shared, but snakes take it all. To snake is to drop in out of turn.

Spit – Where spray blows out of the end of a barrel. Tube spit.

Sponger – A bodyboarder.

Springsuit – A short legged wetsuit

Stacking – Waves are getting bigger.

Steamer Lane – This is a famous Northern California surf spot.

Step Into Liquid – This is what happens when you go walking in puddles. It’s also the the name of a surf documentary.

Stick – Surfer slang for a surfboard.

Stoked – Very happy.

Stringer – This is the bit of wood that runs up through the length of your surfboard.

Sucking Dry – Where breaking waves cause all the water to be drawn off the sea bed, leaving it exposed.

Surfers Ear – Surfers ear, or auditory exostosis, is an abnormal bone growth within the ear canal. Cold water surfers are particularly susceptible and should look at some form of prevention such as ear plugs.

Surfers Eye – Surfers eye is the slang term for Pterygiums, a medical issue which manifests itself as a clear, white, or pinkish membrane that grows over the inside corner of one or both eyes.

Surfers Knots – Soft-tissue swellings on the bottom of the foot and just below the knee, as a result of kneeling for long periods of time on the surfboard while waiting for a wave.

SUP – Stand up paddleboarding.

Switch Stance – Riding the surfboard standing the other way round, i.e. if you’re regular footed you would be surfing goofy.

Tailslide – The tailslide is a move where the tail of the board slides across the lip of the wave.

Tow In – Catching big waves with the aid of a Jet ski.

Thruster – Popular name for a tri-fin shortboard.

Traction Pad – A traction pad is a permanent replacement for surf wax, stuck directly to the surfboard.

Trim – Keeping the surfboard in a straight line at the optimum angle and cruising down the line.

Tube – Where the wave is hollow where it’s breaking. For some surfers it’s the be all of surfing. It’s sometimes called a barrel, keg, or pit.

Tubular – Describes hollow, barreling waves.

Turtle Roll – This is a technique for getting a longboard out though a breaking wave. (As apposed to duck diving for a shortboarder).

Twin Fin – A surfboard with two fins.

U & V – hmm, can’t think of anything right now, apart from UV rays, which is what the wetsuit protects us from

Wahine – A female surfer.

Wax – It smells nice, gets stuck in your chest hair (not you ladies!), and is used to stop your feet slipping off your board. Also, surf wax can be used as to repair almost anything — leaky roof, rusty zip… you name it.

Washing Machine – Getting spun around and around underwater by a wave.

Wetsuit – It’s made of neoprene, keeps out the cold, and makes you look like a seal.

Whitewater – The broken, turbulent part of a wave.

Wipe-out – Falling off your board is referred to as a wipe-out. Other terms are donut, mullering, eating it, taking a pounding, or pretty much anything else you would like.

Worked – To “get worked” is to wipe out and get thrown about while being held under by the wave.

X – None of these yet identified…

Yew – Shout out out when very excited. Fully sick Yeeeeeeeeew! When a big wave is spotted or someone got a gnarly wave

Z – Hmmm, still working on Z…