Surf Slang

Want to know the latest in surfer speak? I-Q found here…


Impact Zone – The spot where the waves are breaking.

In the Soup – A term used when a surfer is in the white foam of the wave after the wave has broken.

Inside – The area of whitewater where the waves have broken, between the shore and the line-up. Also, inside can be used to describe the section of a wave that breaks towards the end of the ride, closest to the shore.

Instinct – Popular brand of surf clothing.

Junkyard Dog – A surfer with poor style or a surfer who only surfs crappy waves.

Keg – Another word for a barrel / tube.

Kick Out – Finishing a ride by turning back out over the top of the wave.

Kickflip – A new school surf trick which involves rotating the board 360° along it’s length while airborne, and landing back on the board. Here’s a good example.

Kneeboarding – A surfing spin-off, kneeboarding is riding the waves on your knees using a special knee board.

Kook – A beginner or someone who is not very good at surfing. A try hard. Someone who surfs to try and look cool. Someone who does not follow the rules in the lineup, drops in etc. Are you a kook?

Landlord – Shark.

Late Takeoff – Waiting until the last possible moment to get up on a wave.

Layback – The layback is a surfing manoeuver where the surfer literally lays backwards on a wave. It’s one of surfing’s more extreme tricks.

Leash/Leg rope – This is the cord that is attached between your leg and your surfboard.

Left – A wave that breaks from right to left from a surfer point of view when facing into the shore.

Licked – Getting licked means wiping out and being hammered by the wave.

Line Up – The line up is the place just outside the breaking waves where surfers wait for their waves.

Lines – Unbroken waves heading towards the shore. See corduroy.

Lip – The tip of the breaking part of the wave.

Locked In – When a wave crashes and the surfer is inside of it.

Log – Slang for a Longboard.

Logger – Slang for someone who rides a Longboard.

Logjam – A surf break full of longboarders.

Longboard – A long surfboard with a rounded nose.

Lull – This is when the ocean goes flat between sets and everyone sits around waiting for the waves to arrive.

Mavericks – This is a famous big wave spot off the California coast. Not to be confused with the film “Maverick”, starring Mel Gibson, although you need to be pretty brave to tackle both.

Men In Grey Suits – Yikes! Sharks!

Messy – Waves that close out, break irregularly and that are not ideal to surf on. The opposite of clean surf, generally caused by an onshore or cross-shore wind.

Mullering – Wipe-out of the highest order.

Mushy – Poor quality, slow, or non-powerful waves, often onshore.

New School – The term given to trick surfing — airs, shove-its, etc.

Noodled – Being exhausted

Nose – The pointy bit of the surfboard; the bit that points away from you when you are paddling and riding.

Ocean – come on, you gotta know that???

Offshore – This is when the wind at a surf break is blowing off the shore, usually means ideal surfing conditions.

Onshore – This is when the wind is blowing towards the land, spoiling the waves. Always remember; offshore good, onshore bad!

Out Back/OTB – Beyond the breaking waves. “See you out back“.

Outside – The area beyond the line-up. You’ll sometimes hear surfers shout “Outside!” as a warning to other surfers that a larger than usual wave is approaching and will be breaking further out that normal.

Over the Falls – A wipeout where a surfer wipes out and either free-falls down the face of the wave or gets sucked up, over and back down by the circular breaking motion of the wave.

Overhead – Waves that are bigger that a surfer when standing up.

Paddlepuss – Someone who stays and plays in the whitewater close to the beach.

Party Wave – A wave surfed by several people at once.

Perl/Pearl – This is a common term describing when a person buries the nose of their surfboard in the wave and goes “over the falls.” It’s often referred to by the actual surfer as “@#%%@#@!”

Pipeline – This is the classic Hawaiian wave — amazing, barreling, and mean. It’s one of the most famous and most photographed waves there is. If you’re just starting out – stay well away!

Pitted – Caught a tube, shacked.

Pivot Turn – A turn where the tail of the surfboard remains almost stationary while the rest of the board swings round.

Pocket/In the Pocket – The pocket is the most powerful part of the wave, just ahead of where the wave is breaking.

Pop-Out – A mass produced surfboard made by machine.

Pop Up – Describes the move a surfer makes to go from lying on the surfboard, into the standing position to ride a wave.

Priority – Which surfer has the right of way, fully explained here.

Pumping – A decent swell where the waves are nice and powerful; also used to describe a surfer trying to generate speed.

Quiksilver – Pretty much everyone, surfers and non-surfers alike, will already know about Quiksilver. They’re one of the largest manufacturers of surfing equipment and surf clothing on the planet. The lads have done well from their boardshort beginning on Torquay — good on ya! (See Quiksilver boardshorts in the store.)

Quiver – A surfer’s collection of different surfboards. (I’ve heard people say it’s the place where they keep their boards but not sure about that. Thanks go to Kris Carré who suggested “quiver” as an entry.)