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Surfing Dictionary
(check on a regular basis as more words will be added frequently)

Aggro - nothing to do with the puppet off Sesame street, although this is how some surfers are in the lineup. Agro is short for aggressive. Aggro usually breaks out when a surfer is frustrated at not getting his share of waves or a local who is over the amount of crew in the water at his home break.

Amped - word used to describe what a surfer feels like when they are hanging for a good surf or have just arrived at a break and it's going off and they are stoked, similar to pumped or pumped up. This word has nothing to do with paddling out to the lineup with an electric guitar amplifier strapped to your back.

Air - a word used when a surfer and his board leave the face of the wave or foam and fly through the air. A good air is when a surfer projects out of the water and lands with feet firmly in place and in control of the board. A bad air is when some one has pigged out on too many onions or beans and stinks your car out on a surf trip with their methane gas repertoire.

Aerial - as above, this is the name given to the manouvre, the more higher out of the water the surfer and board project an airborne move and land it with control and style the better. The only aerial I have done is when I snapped the one off my car and replaced it with the hard core metal coat hanger look.

Backdoor - driving or entering into a tube from behind the peak (not with your car salami, your board). Backdoor is also the name given to the infamous break Pipeline in Hawaii. Backdoor is also at the back of your house and is usually used when you don't want to wake up your parents, girlfriend, wife or boyfriend when you are sneaking in late.

Bail / bailing - jumping or diving off your board to avoid a gnarly situation, a wipeout or someone in your way. It can also be used in "lets bail from this party, I can't handle the Abba music they are playing."

Barrel - Also known as a tube. It is where the wave resembles a cylindrical hollow wall that peels, allowing the surfer to pull inside and experience an almost euphoric feeling. Barrels can also be found at the front of older male surfers bodies where the stomach has a one pack instead of a six pack.

Beach break - waves that break over sandy ocean floors where sand bars/banks form to create waves with shape, they are usually prone to a lot of movement during storms, rips and long shore drift currents.

Blown out - when any strong to gale force onshore wind is blowing the surf to the point where it is un-surfable. Blown out is also another term given to the girl/guy at school you used to know that was around 9 stone in weight, but years on and after a diet of donuts and KFC has doubled her/his weight.

Bomb - a large or huge wave or on a medium size swell a bomb is a name given to the bigger sneaker sets of the day. Bomb is also used to describe a car that most surfers with out a lot of money drive around in.

Bodyboard - a surfing device which is small compact and portable (you can even take it on a bus) Using a body board gives you an advantage in hollow waves that are usually unmakeable to surfboard riders. Great fun in summer when waves are closing out and even when it's knee high it's still over your head, because you are lying down.

Booger - another word for a body boarder.

Boogie boarder - another word for a body boarder.

Boost - see air, aerial.

Bottom turn - A manouver that sees the surfer go down the face of a wave and perform a direction change at the bottom of the wave face. Bottoms turns are one of the most important manourvers in surfing as they set you up on a left or right hand breaking wave/ride.

Break - When swells start to break and turn into waves then turn into surf or any form of broken water producing white water on the ocean.

Bro - Hawaiian slang for brother, fellow surfer, similar to dude. But don't use the word dude as it is actually the term given to camel feaces. In other words don't go and call some huge guy dude if he knows the true meaning of the word. Bra is also sometimes supplemented for the word Bro, but here in Australia Bra is actually what females wear to hold their boobs in place. Bro/Bra is also starting to be used in Australia by guys who think they are Hawaiian or American. If you are Australian act like one and use the equivalent word which is mate.

Caught Inside - this is the one place you don't want to be when there are eight foot sets pounding you on your scone. This is the impact zone where waves have broken or are about to break when you are paddling out or have just wiped out on the takeoff.

Clean Wave - a wave that is lightly fanned by an offshore wind or no wind at all that has no bumps or chop on the face.

Closeout - generally what is found on the Perth and Mandurah area beach breaks. It is a wave with no shape that breaks in one swift moment. Closeouts usually allow you to take off and then get smashed as they have no shape. Close outs are also referred to as straight handers.

Cred - abbreviation for credibility. Companies and individuals that have cred, have been involved with the surf industry for years. Not fly by nighters. Surfers or crew with cred do not generally talk themselves up like some imposters.

Crew - another word for a group of people including surfers.

Cutback - a manouvre which sees the surfer perform a direction change on a rail out the fat part of a wave face to return to the power source towards the breaking part of the wave. These manouvres throw a lot of spray and done in a smooth controlled manner.

Dawn patrol - going for a surf at first light (sun rise), the crack of dawn.

Deck - the top of your board. It is what you stand, lie or kneel on.

Ding - a hole in your board that needs to be repaired or a depression in the glass. "Pressure ding."

Drilled - see nailed.

Dropping in - stealing someone else's wave. Doing this will not get you in the good books with anyone. See surfing rules click here.

Face - the actual part of the wave you ride also known as the wall. It is the part of the wave that has not broken or has been affected by white water.

Fins - the fiberglass or plastic things under your surfboard that look and act like a rudder on a boat. Most surfboards have three fins called thrusters or tri fins. Simon Anderson introduced this concept/idea back in the early eighties. The only thing is everyone copied his concept and he does not receive any royalties for his design. Now how great would it be if every surfboard manufacturer in the world that uses the tri fin setup gave him 50c a board in royalties. Pre late eighties boards had single fins and some twin fins.

Fish - A shorter thicker, wider board, good in gutless summer waves. Fish is also what you catch on the end of a hook, hence is why the board is called a fish, because of the similar shape.

Floater - a surfing manouver where the surfer becomes at one with the lip of the wave and drops with it. Floaters can also be performed over white water sections. People who eat a lot of fibre also do floaters.

Foamie - surfboard made out of polystyrene foam for beginners or even great to use for a bit of summer fun.

Free Surfing - a name invented with the advent of competition surfing. Free surfing is when someone goes surfing that is not in a contest. Or maybe they call it free surfing because you don't have to pay for it, like in contests.

Fun board - Designed for beginners or small waves. Wide and usually thicker, but more of a conventional shape than a fish or Malibu shape.

Glassy - this is when there is no wind on the ocean creating optimal conditions with wave and ocean surfaces resembling glass.

Going off - means the surf is pumping with very good waves on offer and great conditions.

Goofy Foot/er - A surfer who favours standing on a board with their right foot forward and their left foot on the tail. Some famous goofy footers are Tom Carroll, Gerry Lopez, Occhi, Dave Mac, etc, etc you get my drift.

Gun - A board that's width is a lot narrower than normal boards. Usually over 6 foot 8 inches in length. They are designed to be ridden on larger waves.

Green room - the inside of a deep tube or you can use the word brown room if you surf near a sewerage outfall pipe.

Grommet - generally a surfer under the age of 15. Thes kids live for today and tomorrow, not the past. They don't want to be kept being reminded of how the surf used to break really good, how uncrowded it used to be or how you could pull a chic with a wolf whistle.

Hog - usually used to describe some long boarders who catch al the waves that come through and do not give other surfers a chance to get any, but some shortboarders and boogie boarders are also hogs and think every wave that comes thru is theirs also.

Imposter - crew who have never had anything to do with the surf industry in their life, but have now decided to stuff things up for long established companys, shapers, shops etc. Usually import inferior products from Asian countries then try to undercut everyone, by flogging of product cheap. This is happening in the surf board industry, but crew are now realising you get what you pay for. If it's cheap, it's cheap.

Kook - first time surfer. We have all been here once, though some crew reckon they were never kooks/learners. Kook is also a term used to someone who stuffed up a good wave or is a bit of a pain out in the water.

Layback - a surfing manouvre where the surfer lays back onto the wave face on his back hand with his shoulder/s, while in the tube (Simon Anderson was renowned for this manouvre). Some surfers do lay back cutbacks on their forehand where they lay on the wave with their shoulders while doing the turn.

Left hander - the direction in which a wave breaks when looking at it from the beach/shoreline. A left hander is when the wave breaks from right to left.

Legrope - cord usually made of some form of plastic with give in it that is connected to your ankle via a strap. The other end is connected to a plug on your surf board. A "leggie" as it is also known by prevents a surfer from losing their surfboard after a wipeout and prevents a board from turning loose in the water where it may hit another surfer or swimmer. Legropes are not a life saving device. In other words if you can't swim and your legrope breaks, then you shouldn't be out in the water.

Lip - this is the part of the wave that feathers on take off and also is the leading edge of a hollow breaking tube. It is also what a lot of cheeky grommets give you.

Locals - a touchy word this. So here goes some definitions. 1. Crew who surf regularly at the same location. 2. Crew who live close by to their location. 3. Crew who don't live near the location, but surf it nearly every day. 4. Crew who have lived at that location since they started surfing. There you go, confusing isn't it, but localism does exist.

Longboard - Surfboards that are over 8ft long and have a rounded nose and a lot of width through out the rest of the board. Longboarding used to be an art form of expression. In the beginning it was practiced by Polynesian kings. Long boards are now used by mainly beginner surfers and older crew as they are more stable to surf than short boards. Longboarding competitions have now changed the criteria to short board manouvres, which is seeing a lot of the older crew who surfed these boards with grace and style getting beaten by younger crew. In my opinion and others, if you want to perform short board manouvres, then buy one.

Lull - The period when you are left waiting for waves between sets.

Natural foot/er - A surfer who favours standing on a board with their left foot forward and their right foot on the tail. Some famous natural footers are Taj Burrow, Jake Paterson, Kelly Slater etc, etc. Goofy footers think they are better than natural footers, but rumours are, is that God is a natural footer so end of argument.

Nose - pointy bit of the surfboard at the top or rounded on the nose of a longboard.

Nailed - see wipeout.

Offshore wind - Winds that blow into the face of the wave. These winds provide the ideal conditions to go surfing in when there is swell.

Old school - manouvres from years gone by like full rail cutbacks and stylish tube riding skills. It can aslo be used to describe the equipment some one is riding or their style of surfing.

Onshore wind - Winds from behind the wave face and generally create choppy, lumpy conditions which are not ideal.

Peak - the part of the wave which is about to break.

Pumping - see going off.

Quiver - a surfer's assortment of boards ranging from small wave to big wave boards. Quiver is also what male surfers do when they see Megan Gale in a pair of Bikinis.

Rail/s - when looking at the deck of a rails are the outside edges giving you the shape of the board. Reef breaks - waves that break over rocky, limestone, coral or lava bottoms. Reef breaks are a favorite of surfers as they provide waves that always have some form of shape.

Right hander - the direction in which a wave breaks when looking at it from the beach/shoreline. A right hander is when the wave breaks from left to right.

Rip/s - are currents that form taking you out to sea. They can usually be identified by a sandy discoloration of water or choppy to choppier patch of water than else where on the beach. Have been known to take people several hundred metres out to sea. If you get stuck in a rip, remain calm and do not try to swim against it, you will just tire yourself out. Swim or paddle parallel to shore and you will eventually get out of it. If you get into difficulty raise your hand to signal and wave you are and call out to somebody, another surfer or life saver/guard.

Sandbar - see beach breaks.

Sets - word to describe waves which come in a batch together of more than a few waves at a time. There is a period between sets where no waves are coming in at all.

Shaper - someone who shapes surfboards.

Shore break - a wave that breaks right on the shoreline. Usually with no shape and a close out.

Skeg - see Fin.

Snake -   arrow More on snaking and surfing rules click here.

Spray - this is water that has been displaced from a powerful manouvre (just watch Jake Paterson surf and you will see what I mean).

Stick - Another word used for a surf board.

Straight hander - see close out.

Stringer - the piece of wood that runs down the guts (middle) of your surfboard. The thicker the stringer, the less prone the board is to snapping. Hence is why big wave boards have very thick stringers.

Stoked - see amped.

Swell - this is what creates the waves you ride. They are usually formed by storms out to sea or significant weather events.

Tail - the opposite end of the nose of the surfboard. The tail area is the end where your fins are. If you have fins under the nose, chances are your board was made in china.

Tide/s - The rising and falling of the ocean water caused by the gravitation pull of the sun and moon. During high tide the water flows in towards the land. During low tide the water flows out toward the ocean horizon. There are usually two tides in a 24 hour period, sometimes more.

Tow-ins - getting towed into waves that are too big to paddle. This is the proper use of tow in surfing and what it was invented for.

Tube - see barrel.

Wax - used on the deck of boards for grip, it helps stop your feet sliding out of position. An over abundance of wax can also be found in surfers ears that drop in on crew.

Wetsuit - generally made of neoprene/rubber. They are worn by surfers, divers, etc to keep warm in cool waters or when cool winds are blowing.  arrow More on Wetsuits click here.

White caps - nothing to do with what people where when playing lawn bowls. This is where the wind is so strong it actually breaks the surface tension of the ocean/water creating little mini choppy waves to break which are usually unsurfable.

White water - The white foamy frothy stuff that looks like the top of a cappuccino or milk shake. White water is prevalent after a wave has broken.

Wipe out - falling off your board either due to footing misplacement or getting nailed by the lip of a wave.

Wrist strap/cord - cord usually made of some form of plastic with give in it that is connected to your wrist via a strap. The other end is connected to a plug on your body board. Prevents a body boarder from losing their board after a wipeout and prevents a board from turning loose in the water where it may hit another surfer or swimmer. Wrist straps are not a life saving device. In other words if you can't swim and your wrist strap breaks, then you shouldn't be out in the water.

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Last updated 06/08/2006