Surfer Talk

Surfer Talk

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

When swimmers listen to surfer’s lingo, they may overhear some of the following terms:

Ankle Slappers/Busters: small waves.
Back Down: to decide not to take off on a wave.
Bail out: to get away from, jump off, or dive off the surfboard just before a potential wipe out.
Barrel: a hollow channel formed inside a good wave when it breaks and curls over.
Blown Out: conditions that are created when the winds blow so hard and chop up the surf to render it difficult to ride.
Breaker: a wave that breaks on the way to the beach.
Crest: top portion of a wave.
Cruncher: hard-breaking wave that quickly folds over and is almost impossible to ride.
Cut out/Pull Out: to pull out of a wave.

Dolphin Pop: an underwater takeoff where a body surfer dives under the surface of the water as the wave prepares to break, does dolphin (butterfly) kick and then pops out on the face of the wave like a dolphin to perfectly catch the wave.
Eat It/Wipe out/Nailed: to miss catching the wave and get thrown by or off the wave.
Face: the unbroken wall, surface, or nearly vertical front of a wave.
Glassy: smooth water surface conditions caused by absence of winds.
Outside Break: area farthest from shore where the waves are breaking.
Over the Falls: To wipe out, or to get dragged over as the wave breaks.
Pounder: a hard-breaking wave.
Set: a group of waves.
Shape: the configuration, or form, of a wave.
Shore Break: waves break very close to the beach.
Soup: foamy part of the broken wave; the white water after the wave breaks.
Stoked: Happy; excited; contented.
Swells: unbroken waves moving in groups of similar height and frequency.
Takeoff: the start of a ride.
Tube: the hollow portion of a wave formed when the crest spills over and makes a tunnel or hollow space in front of the face of the wave.

Photo by Jeff Johnson.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association