Surf and Accommodation with Atlantic Coast Surf School. Memorable experiences in Praia Azul - Santa Cruz

Surf Dictionary, Surf Terms, Slang and Phrases

With the help of this Surfing Terms page, you’ll be able to not only to have fun riding waves, walk like a surfer 😊 ahah, etc., but you’ll also be able to talk like one.
Chill with the locals, impress the hotties at the local bar, or just knowing whats going on with that talk. Read on and increase your knowledge.

(Thanks to everyone who is e-mailing us with new terms to include or posting them in the comments. We’re including new slang and phrases all the time so please keep them coming!)

Check out our surf dictionary

We start with letter “A”

The perfect barreling surf, a cross-section of an A-frame wave reveals an “A” shape where it is breaking soooo nicely.

Aggressive attitude in the water; having a bad attitude.

Air / Aerial
An advanced surfing manoeuver where the surfer and board leave the surface of the wave. Here are some great air photos.

Something surfers shout when they spot a huge perfect wave, or when they are shocked or surprised. Old School!

Getting excited while surfing or really looking forward to a surf.

Ankle Busters / Snappers
Small waves.

ASP stands for Association of Professional Surfing. The ASP was previously the governing body of surfing. In 2014 the ASP changed their name to the World Surf League.

Girl surf lesson holidays

Surf Dictionary – B

Entering a barrel from behind the peak of the breaking wave. Backdoor is also the name of the right hand wave that sometimes breaks at the famous wave of Pipeline.

Surfing with your back towards the wave. A regular footed surfer going left or a goofy footed surfer going right will be surfing backside. The opposite is frontside.

Waves / water heading back out towards the incoming wave where it has rebounded from the beach / cliffs / sea wall etc. Can make for some fun surfing.

Loose, drawstring surf shorts.

To bail is to jump off the board to avoid an imminent wipeout.

Sand on the sea floor of a beach break. Beach break waves are dependent on the quality of the sand banks to provide good, surfable waves.

An inexperienced surfer, or someone who’s no good at surfing.

A barrel is where the wave is hollow when it is breaking. For some surfers it’s the be all and end all of surfing. Is sometimes called a “tube.”

Beach Break
This is a wave that breaks over a sandy sea bed. You’ve not read up about waves, have you?

Beach Leech
The perfect description of a beach leech: “Some people don’t bring their own boards, and prefer to borrow your extra boards (they don’t rent). And for wax, some don’t really bring it. They just ask for some.”

Bells Beach
Bells Beach is one of the great right point breaks. Find it on the south Victorian coastline of Australia. Check out the Bells Beach Pro held in March every year. This was the setting for that tearful end bit in the movie “Point Break” when Patrick (twinkletoes) Swayze AKA Bodie ate it at the end of Point Break. (And no doubt that after reading the waves page and finding out what a point break actually is, you’re feeling particularly chuffed with yourself!)
It should also be pointed out that it was not actually Bells Beach where the scene was filmed but India Beach in Oregon. Thanks to Danny from Oregon for this info.

A non local.

One of the oldest and well know surf slang for a surfer girl who surfs.

Big Wednesday
A classic coming of age film telling the story of three surfing friends in California. Starring Jan-Michael Vincent, William Katt and Gary Busey.

What Australians call a watering hole, but to everyone else it is one of the largest surfing equipment and clothing manufacturers out there.

Old school for really good or enjoyable.

The foam used to shape a surfboard.

Blown Out
Where the onshore wind turns the surf in to unrideable mush.

The fibreglass thingy under your feet.

Boardshorts / Boardies
These shorts are quick drying, lightweight, and worn by those lucky enough to be surfing in warm water. Check the men’s boardshorts here and the women’s boardshorts here.

A particularly large or heavy wave. “He took off on a bomb”.

Bombora / Bommie
An aboriginal term for a wave that breaks over a shallow reef, located beyond the normal lineup and often some distance from the shore.

Booger / Boogieboarder
Slang for body boarders.

Bottom Turn
This is the turn made at the base of the wave when coming down off the face. It’s often the first move made after dropping in. Get it right for great positioning for your next manoeuver.

Slang term for brother, friend, fellow surfer.

surf holidays in Santa Cruz group surf lesson in spring

Letter C

Where the surface of the ocean is rough / bumpy.

Used to describe the pollution conditions when there’s a turd in the lineup — “I caught some sick waves out there but it was hard trying not to swallow the chowder.”

Waves that break from a single peak along it’s length, providing an open face for a surfer to ride on. The opposite of messy.

Clean Up Set
A wave or set of waves that are larger than average and break before the line up, resulting in clearing the line-up of surfers.

The process where a surfer turns up and down the face of the wave while surfing down the line.

Close Out
Where a wave breaks along its length all at once.

Being scared of afraid of waves.

Swell lines that look like corduroy; see this corduroy swell picture that illustrates it perfectly.

Covered up
Where the lip of the wave breaks over a surfer, almost a barrel but not quite. “I just got a coverup.”

Slang from 1960’s surf culture, cried out enthusiastically when surfing — The surfer’s cry “Cowabunga” as they climb a 12 foot wall of water and “take the drop.”

When the waves are good, it’s said to be cranking.

Cripples / Crips
Derogatory term for booger (see derogatory term above), knee of SUP boarders.

The outside part of the barrel. “I was deep in the barrel the curtain closed on me.”

Cross Step / Stepping
This is the art of walking up and down a longboard, foot over foot. When you see some guy / gal running up and down their board, you’ll now know what to call it.

Making a cutback is reversing the direction that you are surfing in one smooth fluid move. (That’s the idea anyway.)

sunset surf lesson with atlantic coast surf school teacher. Surfers learn how to surf

Surf Dictionary D

surfing in Praia Azul - Santa Cruz surf camp with a friend and having fun at Atlantic Coast Surf School a life time experience

Surf Dictionary

Write us your surf terms, slangs and phrases here!

Check our surf lessons and come to improve new terms and enjoy the moment!