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MAIN Arrow to Recreation Recreation Arrow to BeachesBeaches Arrow to Surfing Surfing Arrow to Surfboard Lingo Surfing Lingo

Surfing the California coast A big part of surf culture is knowing the shorthand use by experienced surfers. Now that you're learning how to surf, you'll want to get stoked by learning all the technical terms and lingo.

Just up ahead, take with our compact A-Z list, with more surfer slang at top resources around the Web:

Ankle biters - small, ankle-high waves (a.k.a., ankle snappers, or ankle breakers.)
Barrel - a cresting wave that covers you as you surf inside it, aka Tube.
Blown out - a bad day at the beach, when ocean winds make waves too choppy to surf. Channel - a stretch of deep water, absent of waves, where it's safe to paddle out.
Charging - confidently catching a big wave and riding it for all its worth.
Cooking - primo surfing conditions. "It's cooking out there!"
Ding - any damage to the surfboard.
Dropping in - getting in front of another surfer, who is about to take. or already on, the same wave, aka Snaking, and considered a major breach in surfing etiquette.
Eat it - fall off one's surfboard. Also see: Wipe out.
Heavies - big, difficult waves, usually over 12' high.
Infusion - when two surfers collide.
Kook - an inexperienced or very bad surfer.
Lake - no waves today.
Lull - waiting for a rideable wave.
Maytagged - falling off a board and being pummeled by the white wash. See Wipe out.
Nose riding - hanging one's toes over the nose of surfboard, (also "toes on the nose"), aka hang five or hang ten.
Over the falls - getting pitched head-first and slammed by the lip of a crashing wave. Pearling - when the nose of the surfboard digs under the water, which usually results in the rider getting pitched over the front (mostly beginners.)
Pumping - an effort to increase speed by pumping the board up and down.
Reef rash - cuts and scratches from the coral reef.
Riptide - channel of ocean water that is rapidly moving out to sea.
Set - a group of waves that come in at a regular pace, usually 3-10 or more.
Stall - slowing down by shifting weight toward the tail of the board.
Stoked - enthusiastically anticipating the next big wave.
Tail - the rear end of the surfboard.
Tube - aka Barrel.
Tubular - the awesome feeling of surfing inside a Tube.
Wipe out - to totally bail from a board and crash into a wave. Usually more dramatic than Eat it.


More about surfing lingo and slang around the Web:



Surfing Glossary, Surfing Names, Terms and Phrases - Illustrated glossary of surfing terms.

Surfin' Slang - Another extensive list of surfing terms with emphasis on slang expressions.


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