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  • Writer's pictureAllannah

The Surfers Dictionary: Surf lingo explained

You may have found yourself in a situation, surrounded by surfers, where you're standing there nodding your head, smiling awkwardly, pretending to know what the hell it is they are talking about - I've surfed for 15 years and there's still lingo that creeps up that confuses the hell out of me! Let us give you an insight into the surfers dictionary...

An awesome bunch on our Level Two Longboarding Course / Photo @Bellarosebunce


ANKLE BASHERS / ANKLE SLAPPERS - An expression used to describe tiny waves that probably

aren't worth surfing, but we get in anyway.


BARRELED / PITTED / KEG / GREEN ROOM / SHACKED - The hollow part of the wave, when there is space between the lip and the trough of the wave / where there is air inside of the wave, where you can see the wave ‘curling’ or ‘folding’ in on itself, where you try to fit into this space, to surf back onto the open face.

BOMB / ROUGIE BOGIE - When a large wave is coming towards you / when you take a large wave ‘dropping a bomb’.

BACKSIDE / BACKHAND - When you surf an open face and your body is facing away from the wave.


CHARGING - When you see someone taking the biggest wave of the day / Someone that paddles for anything and everything that comes through, even if it is a close out / Someone that loves bigger waves or surfs big waves.

CHOPPY/ MESSY / BLOWN OUT / MUSHY / FLUFFY - When the winds are not favourable and the waves appear unorganized, close together, lumpy and are sometimes more difficult to surf due to the shape being unclean.

CLEAN - A term we use to describe the shape of the wave, when there is no wind or the wind is in the right direction to make the waves have a nice shape.

CLOSE OUT - When the wave ‘shuts down’ / a fast breaking wave, no opportunity to ride the open face.


DOUBLE OVERHEAD / TRIPLE OVERHEAD - Describing how big the wave is by seeing where the wave comes to on the surfer's body, by measuring how much of the wave is standing over the surfer, and if it's this big, your probably screaming, even if your not in the sea haha

DOUBLE OVER TOE/ DOUBLE OVER HAMSTER! - An expression we use when the waves are tiny, making the most out of a small surf situation, to make light of the fact that we are about to struggle in small waves and we are going to have fun doing it!

DAWNY / DAWN PATROL / MORNING GLORY - When we wake up before sunrise, at first light, to go surfing.

DING - When you damage your surfboard, either a small pressure ding, due to general weight being placed on the board / When you knock your board on a hard object, like a wall or car boot / you have a collision with another surfer and the board needs to be fixed as it is no longer water tight, when the glass / Epoxy is cracked and there is foam showing.

DROPPING IN / BEING BURNT - When someone cuts you off on the wave / When someone takes the wave in front of you in the direction you are surfing.

DOUBLE UP - ‘When two become oooonneeee’ (Sorry couldn't help myself, who doesn't love the spice girls) / When two waves join up, combining energies, sometimes causing a more powerful wave, usually happens in the white water

Early bird catches the worm, we love dawn patrol / Photo @clarejames


FROTH/ FROTHING / FROTHER! - Similar to stoked, but seen as a more ‘hip’ version of the word stoked (the kids love this one) / to describe the excitement of a surf if the waves are looking good / if you have had a good wave / good surf session.

FRONTSIDE / FOREHAND - When you surf an open face and your body is facing the wave. FOAMY - A board made from soft foam, beginners usually start on large foamy's as they are buoyant and stable and there are even progressive foam boards now that are small in size and designed for a variety of waves.

FANGING - A term to describe heavy, critical, dangerous waves.


GROM / GROMMET/ GROMMIE - A surfer girl or boy under the age of 18 that has high energy and sleep, eats and breathes surfing.

GREEN WAVE - An unbroken wave found ‘Out the back’.

GNARLY / GNAR GNAR - Big surf, powerful waves, difficult conditions


HANG FIVE - In longboarding when you place 5 toes over the nose of the board.

HANG TEN - In longboarding when you place both feet, 10 toes over the nose, seen as the ultimate goal / Manoeuvre in longboarding as this requires great skill.

HEAVY - When the surf is large / Breaking with a lot of force.

HARD BOARD - A board made from PU resin or Epoxy materials for intermediate - expert surfers.


KoOK - An inexperienced surfer that has no intention of learning in a safe way, causing danger to themselves and others / When someone in the line-up is joking about and surfing silly for fun.

Kookin' it up can be fun! / Photo @Hicksyd


LINE UP / OUT BACK / BACKLINE - Where the surfers sit beyond the white water, waiting to catch the bigger waves that come though that are unbroken.

LULL - The time between each set, where the ocean appears to be calmer.


MAGICSEAWEED - A surf forecasting website, where you can see how big / Good the waves will be all over the world, with webcams and photos.


NOSE DIVE - When the nose of your board digs into the water and you wipeout.

NUG / NUGGETS / NUG’OIR / NUGGETS / PESHWARI NUGS - A term we use at Gather & Glide to describe waves, small waves, fun waves, cheeky waves, big waves and A grade waves.


OVERHEAD - When you drop to the bottom of a green wave and it is over your head in height.

ONSHORE / OFFSHORE - Types of wind direction that affect how the waves look and break / offshore winds are more favourable as they hold the face of the wave up and make it look clean.

OVER THE FALLS - When a surfer hesitates / Misses the wave and ends up wiping out going over the lip of the wave from top to bottom.

Allannah going over the falls at the wave / Photo @hicksyd


PUMPING! - A word to describe how good the waves were or are, usually causing excitement among piers.

PARTY WAVE! - When you shout ‘parrrrty’ to another surf or a friend and you surf the same wave for fun - if you don't shout party and someone joins the same wave, it's considered a ‘drop in’.

PEELING / REELING / OPEN FACE / WALL - To describe how a green wave is breaking and in what direction.

PIG DOG - When a surfer grabs their outside rail surfing backside, when they are taking off on a steep wave with the attempt of getting barrelled.

PULLING IN - When a surfer takes off on a steep wave, usually tucking their body up closer than usual in an attempt to get barrelled, allowing the wave to fold over the top of them, whilst they are inside of the wave riding through it.


QUIVER - A collection of surfboards for different waves and different conditions.


STOKED! - Probably the most used word amongst surfers, to describe the feeling of pure joy after riding a great wave or having a great surf session, the feeling of being happy.

SNAKING - When someone paddles around you to take your priority / They paddle in front of you to block you / Paddling behind you when you have popped up on a wave to get ‘deeper’ so that they make it seem like you have dropped in on them.

SETS - The main pulse or group of waves that appear every so often during the surf, they are not continuous, on average there are 3 - 6 waves in a set, sometimes less, sometimes more depending on conditions.

SPAGHETTI ARMS - When you have surfed so much that you have no power left in your arms and they feel like noodles.

SHAKA - A universal surfer symbol used in and out of the water to greet other surfers or friends, to show that you are there to have fun, spreading good vibes.

SPAT OUT - When a surfer has made a barrel, coming out the other side and the air from inside of the barrel forces itself out along with some water over the surfer who has completed the barrel causing it to ‘spit’.

A little set rolling through at one of our favourite spots / Photo @myeyeswontdry


THE IMPACT ZONE / BOMB PIT / CAUGHT ON THE INSIDE - When you are stuck where the majority of waves are breaking, taking a lot of water to the face, having to do a lot of turtle rolls / duck dives, generally eating it / where a lot of water is moving due to breaking waves - You don't wanna stick around here for long.


WHITE WATER - The broken part of the wave, or as the wave has finished breaking and is seen as white, fluffy, turbulent, aerated water, found closer to the shore / end of the reef.

WIPEOUT / BAIL - When you fall from your surfboard.

---- Any more lingo we haven't heard of yet? - Send us a DM! See you frothers out there shredding the gnar! Allannah


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