Surfing Terms | Nancy Emerson School of Surfing Hawaii

Surfing Terms


Aerial
A surfing maneuver performed when a surfer launches above the lip of the wave and into the air

A-Frame
A dream wave for surfers, one that peaks up in the centre and peels off in both directions in the shape of a capital A

Air Drop
When a surfer taking off on a steep wave drops through the air before landing on the face of the wave

Backwash
The flow of a previous wave running back out to sea in the form of a swell or lump, sometimes creating quite an obstacle

Backhand
Surfing a wave with your back or heels facing the wave

Bail
Either paddling out to go under a wave, or taking off on a wave and realizing you’re way too late and bailing off your board

Bank
The formation of a sand bank that creates a place for waves to break

Barrel
The ultimate for many surfers, surfing inside the hollow tube of a wave when the lip throws over you

Beach Break
A surfing spot where the waves break on sand

Blown Out
Term to describe when the wind is extremely strong, blowing directly onshore and the waves are messy and choppy

Bottom Turn
The first turn a surfer does when reaching the bottom of the wave after take-off

Carve
Powerful turns performed on the face of the wave

Choppy
When there’s a lot of wind blowing directly onshore creating the waves to be bumpy and all over the place

Clean
When the ocean is smooth and great form

Close-Out
A wave that breaks all at once providing no opportunity to surf across it

Cutback
When the surfer makes a turn moving in the opposite direction to pick up speed and performance

Drop-In
When having no respect or checking to see if a surfer is already riding the wave and a another surfer takes off in front of the surfer who has priority which spoils the wave for the surfer who has priority. It can also be very dangerous to have no respect to the surfer closest to the peak

Duck Dive
A technique used when paddling out to propel yourself and your board under the broken wave to avoid being pushed backwards

Face
The open unbroken part of the wave

Floater
Surfing along the lip of the wave or catching some air back onto white water and coming through the move smoothly and continuing along the wave

Forehand
Surfing with your face and body position towards the wave. Northern Hemi we call it Natural

Glassy
The condition of the ocean with no wind and an almost glass like shine

Grommet
A name used for younger surfers

 

Hang Ten
To surf with all 10 toes hanging over the nose of your board

Heavy
Surf conditions where the waves very large, breaking strong with strong currents

Left-Hander
A wave that breaks from left to right when viewed from the shore

Nose
The front of tip of the surfboard

Nose Dive
When the weight of the surfer is too far forward and the nose of the board goes under the water

Offshore
When the wind is blowing from the land to the sea creating smooth waves

Onshore
When the wind is blowing from the ocean to the shore creating bumpy choppy waves

Point Break
A spot where the waves break along a headland or point

Pumping
When the surf is very consistent, bigger and the waves are awesome

Quad
A four fin surfboard

Quiver
A collection of surfboards in different sizes, shapes and era's a surfer owns

Rail
The side or edge of a surfboard

Reef Break
A spot where the waves break over a reef

Right-Hander
A wave that breaks from right to left when viewed from shore

Set
A group of waves

Shore Break
Waves breaking very close to or onto the shore

Single fin
A single fin surfboard

Steamer
A full wetsuit with long arms and legs

Stoked
Full of joy

Swell
Unbroken waves pulsing in from offshore

Tail
The back or end tip of the surfboard

Thruster
A 3 finned surfboard

Tube
Same as barrel, riding inside the wave

Wax
Used on the top deck of the surfboard for traction when standing up

Wipeout
When a surfer comes off or is thrown off his surfboard and swallowed by the wave