Surf Terms and Slang Dictionary

Hi guys!

It is very normal for beginner surfers to “float” when witnessing a conversation between more experienced practitioners of our so noble sport. And it is so unique, with such a strong community, that even its own dictionary of surf slang, which is almost a language, it has.

To try to end this, I decided to write this post with all the technical terms and slang of the surf that came to mind now. It is worth remembering that there are so many variations by region, that I may have forgotten several. Therefore, the idea of ​​this text is that it be collaborative. Did you see something I didn't put? Simple! Comment in the post I add.

Surf Terms and Slang Dictionary : Imagine if the surf slang were like that ...
Imagine if the surf slang were like that ...  

So that you don't get lost at the peak, then, let's go to the famous surf slang…

Surf Terms and Slang

  • Cut-Back - a very common surfing maneuver. It consists of going forward on the wall, running away from the foam and making a reversal movement, going back towards the foam.
  • Deck - rubber that some people stick on the tail of the board‌ to put the back foot.
  • Right - wave that breaks to the right. To catch it, the surfer must head to the right after the drop. The curious thing is that seen from the sand, the surfer is surfing to the left. Ideal for regulars, who surf the front-side rights.
  • Drop - when the surfer is rowing to catch the wave, the first challenge is to stand. The second is to perform the drop, which is the act of descending the wave to surf the wall or go straight into the foam after it breaks.
  • Left - wave that breaks to the left. To catch it, the surfer must move to the left after the drop. The curious thing is that seen from the sand, the surfer is surfing to the right. Ideal for regulars, who surf front-side lefts.
  • Flat - the flat sea is the sea without waves. Don't take the risk of reaching the sea to surf and find it flat by reading our posts.
  • Floater - surfing maneuver that consists of surfing on the lip (see below) of the wave before descending it again.
  • Free-Surfer - soul surfer, who only surfs for pleasure. He doesn't like competition and confusion. Enjoy the nature and lifestyle of surfing.
  • Frontside - when the surfer descends the wave facing the wall. That is, being regular (see below), it is when he catches a wave to the right. Being goofy (see below), this is when he takes the wave to the left. It is usually easier than the backside.
  • Goofy - is the surfer who uses his left foot as a base, that is, back on the board, as opposed to the regular. For him it is better to surf waves to the left, which he surfs from frontside.
  • Grab Rail - when the surfer is surfing backside, he lowers and puts his hand on the edge of the board‌ to pick up a tube.
  • Haole - is the guy who is not from that peak, but comes from outside to surf there. It comes from the Hawaiian language. It means "white man, Caucasian, any foreigner, of foreign origin". Etymologically it means “one who does not breathe”, as the Hawaiians realized that foreigners did not breathe 3 times after their prayers, as tradition dictates.
  • Inside - when the waves are big, most beginners stay inside, that is, closer to the coast, catching smaller waves.
  • John - is the famous wet suit‌ (rubber) used by surfers on cold days. The coolest ones even use it in the sun, even though they know the clothes are heavy and get in the way a little. It can be a short john, when the bottom is a short, or a long john, when the bottom goes up to the ankle.
  • Lay Day - is the famous and not very pleasant day without waves, with a totally flat sea. The term is widely used in competitions, but it can already be heard in the vocabulary of the average surfer too.
  • Line-Up - line where most of the waves start to break and that is why most surfers stay. It is similar to surf, but this designates the waves, while line-up the positioning of the surfers.
  • Lip or Crest - top part of the wave wall, where it begins to break, forming foam.
  • Local - they are the natives of a peak, people who live near it and end up surfing almost always there. Not to be confused with localism, which is the practice of a kind of “xenophobia” with surfers who are not from the peak in question.
  • Longboard or longboard - very large and wide board that provides a more classic surf, with fears effort and more plasticity. Sizes vary, but planks are usually over 7’0 ″.
  • Lycra - flexible surf suit for days with less cold water.
  • Mahalo - marrálo, as it is pronounced, means “thank you” in the Hawaiian language. It is considered a sacred word as well as "aloha". In the Hawaiian language, some words are endowed with spiritual strength in popular belief, so they must be used honestly and wisely.
  • Maral - wind that blows from the sea towards the land, leaving it storm or stirred. It is worse for surfing conditions, as it makes the waves break faster, closing.
  • Maria-paraffin - woman who loves to give surfers a hard time. You can't see a surfboard‌ that goes crazy.
  • Marola or Merreca - very small sea, but with some surfing conditions. It has even turned into an adjective or adverb: "He is a very merrequeiro (maroleiro)".
  • Outside - waves farther from the shore than inside or anywhere after the surf.
  • Quebradeira or Quebra-Côco - that type of wave that closes, that is, it breaks everything at once, making surfing impossible. Unless you want to have a cow and broth festival.
  • Keel - part of the structure of the board. It can be removable or fixed and is under the tail, serving to give more or less stability and speed, depending on the surfer's goal. Nowadays it is more common to use 3 or 4 fins on the board.
  • Quiver - there is no direct translation for the term, but it is the set of boards that a surfer has for different sea conditions.
  • Wall - when the wave opens and breaks from left to right, we say that the wall is forming on the right of the wave, as it is literally what you will see if you look right at the wave. This is where the surfer should go when completing the drop.
  • Pico - favorable point for surfing.
  • Point-Break - when the surf peak has a rock bottom. When the ideal conditions of wind and swell come in, the wave always ends up being the same, making its reading easier and more accurate. The problem with this type of fund is that the probability of getting hurt on a cow or broth is greater than on a beach break.
  • Priority - rule created in competitions to define who has priority in the next wave. It usually applies to those who have been outside for the longest time without catching any waves.
  • Rabear - is something you shouldn't do when surfing. When a surfer is already on the wave, going down the wall, and another surfer falls in front of him, making it impossible for the first to continue on the wave.
Surf Terms and Slang Dictionary : Rabear is a common term in the surf dictionary. Unfortunately...
Rabear is a common term in the surf dictionary. Unfortunately...  
Surf Terms and Slang Dictionary : Look at the surfer taking a cow. Common term in the surf dictionary
Look at the surfer taking a cow. Common term in the surf dictionary  

I know that there are many expressions that are not here, because it changes regionally, but ... let's agree: you put it in the comments and I add it in our dictionary.

Hope this helps!

Thanks, bro!

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