Glossary of surfing

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NSSA Championships, Huntington Beach Pier NSSA BW4 (19318209956).jpg
NSSA Championships, Huntington Beach Pier

This glossary of surfing includes some of the extensive vocabulary used to describe various aspects of the sport of surfing as described in literature on the subject. [ a ][ b ]In some cases terms have spread to a wider cultural use. These terms were originally coined by people who were directly involved in the sport of surfing.


About the water

Breaking swell waves at Hermosa Beach, California Early 90's Bangs.jpg
Breaking swell waves at Hermosa Beach, California

Techniques and maneuvers

Tube riding at Teahupo'o (Tahiti) Teahupoo1.jpg
Tube riding at Teahupo'o (Tahiti)


Wipeout USMC-080928-M-8776A-001.jpg

About people

Young grommet on a board with his dad watching. Father and son surf lesson in Morro Bay, CA 11 of 12.jpg
Young grommet on a board with his dad watching.

About the board

Waxing a surfboard Waxing a surfboard.jpg
Waxing a surfboard


A woman wearing a rash guard while surfing Surfer woman wearing bikini bottom and shirt.png
A woman wearing a rash guard while surfing

Further reading

See also


  1. Miller, Scott D.; Mark Hubble; Seth Houdeshell (2003). "Glossary of surfing terms". Staying on Top and Keeping the Sand Out of Your Pants: A Surfer's Guide to the good life. Deerfield Beach, FL: Heath Communications. pp. 139–140. ISBN   0-7573-0033-2.
  2. Guisado, Raul (2003). "Appendix A-Glossary of Surfing Lingo". The Art of Surfing: A Training Manual for the Developing and Competitive Surfer. Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press. pp.  165–0170. ISBN   0-7627-2466-8.
  3. "List of slang and technical terms". Surf lounge. 16 November 2015. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  4. "Surf Terms, Slang and Phrases". Surfing Waves. Retrieved 6 October 2003.
  5. "SURFER SLANG 101". STOKED SURF SCHOOL. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  6. "Surf Slang". Cougartown. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  7. "The complete list of surfing tricks and maneuvers". Surfer Today. Retrieved 10 January 2020.

Related Research Articles

Surfing sport that consists of riding a wave

Surfing is a surface water sport in which the wave rider, referred to as a surfer, rides on the forward or face of a moving wave, which usually carries the surfer towards the shore. Waves suitable for surfing are primarily found in the ocean, but can also be found in lakes or rivers in the form of a standing wave or tidal bore. However, surfers can also utilize artificial waves such as those from boat wakes and the waves created in artificial wave pools.

Boardsports are sports that are played with some sort of board as the primary equipment. These sports take place on a variety of terrain, from paved flat-ground and snow-covered hills to water and air. Most boardsports are considered action sports or extreme sports, and thus often appeal to youth. A large proportion of youth partaking in these sports, together with aesthetic damage to property from sports like skateboarding, has led to many board sports being marginalized by the greater world of sports in the past. However, many board sports are ever-more frequently gaining mainstream recognition, and with this recognition have enjoyed wider broadcast, sponsorship and inclusion in institutional sporting events, including the Olympic Games.

Bodyboarding surface water sport in which the surfer rides a bodyboard

Bodyboarding is a water sport in which the surfer rides a bodyboard on the crest, face, and curl of a wave which is carrying the surfer towards the shore. Bodyboarding is also referred to as Boogieboarding due to the invention of the "Boogie Board" by Tom Morey. The average bodyboard consists of a short, rectangular piece of hydrodynamic foam. Bodyboarders typically use swim fins for additional propulsion and control while riding a breaking wave.

Surfboard elongated platform used in the sport of surfing

A surfboard is an elongated platform used in surfing. Surfboards are relatively light, but are strong enough to support an individual standing on them while riding an ocean wave. They were invented in ancient Hawaii, where they were known as papa he'e nalu in the Hawaiian language, they were usually made of wood from local trees, such as koa, and were often over 460 cm (15 ft) in length and extremely heavy. Major advances over the years include the addition of one or more fins (skegs) on the bottom rear of the board to improve directional stability, and numerous improvements in materials and shape.

Mavericks, California Surfing location in Northern California, United States

Mavericks is a surfing location in northern California outside Pillar Point Harbor, just north of the town of Half Moon Bay at the village of Princeton-by-the-Sea. After a strong winter storm in the northern Pacific Ocean, waves can routinely crest at over 8 m (25 ft) and top out at over 18 m (60 ft). Routinely, waves that break can be recorded on seismometers. The break is caused by an unusually shaped underwater rock formation.

George Greenough is an influential surfer known during the 1960s and 1970s known for his designs and work in film, board design, fin characteristics, and other creations for the aquatic medium. Greenough's and McTavish's contributions to developing the shortboards resulted in a wave of new advancements in surfing technology and shapes used to design boards.

Mark Sheldon Foo was a professional surfer. Foo drowned while surfing at Mavericks, Half Moon Bay, California.

Nose ride

Noseriding is the art of maneuvering a surfboard from the front end.

Greg Noll, nicknamed "Da Bull" by Phil Edwards in reference to his physique and way of "charging" down the face of a wave, is an American pioneer of big wave surfing and is also acknowledged as a prominent longboard shaper. Noll was a member of a US lifeguard team that introduced malibu boards to Australia around the time of the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games. Noll also produced a "legendary" series of 5 Search for Surf movies.

Malik Joyeux French Polynesian surfer

Malik Joyeux was an accomplished all-around waterman and a professional Big Wave surfer. Known by many as the "petit prince", the goofy-foot surfer often gained attention for charging the treacherous barrels at Teahupoo, Tahiti. He was credited in 2003 with the Billabong XXL Tube of the Year for riding one of the largest waves ever to be surfed in history.

Skurfing as a sport has two common forms: "water skurfing" and "street skurfing".


Wakesurfing is a water sport in which a rider trails behind a boat, riding the boat's wake without being directly pulled by the boat. After getting up on the wake, typically by use of a tow rope, the wakesurfers will drop the rope, and ride the steep face below the wave's peak in a fashion reminiscent of surfing. Wakesurfers generally use special boards, designed specifically for wakes.

History of surfing aspect of history

The riding of waves has likely existed since humans began swimming in the ocean. In this sense, bodysurfing is the oldest type of wave-catching. Standing up on what is now called a surfboard is a relatively recent innovation developed by the Polynesians. The influences for modern surfing can be directly traced to the surfers of pre-contact Hawaii.

Surfboard shaper someone who builds and designs surfboards by hand

A surfboard shaper is someone who builds and designs surfboards by hand. Originally made from wood, most modern surfboards are made from pre-formed polyurethane blanks or styrofoam and then fine shaped by the shaper using an array of tools ranging from surforms, rasps, sanding machines and power planers. When the form is sculpted in the foam core, the shaper may complete the build by layering fiberglass sheets over the deck and bottom and laminating these with a thermosetting resin such as polyester.

<i>Surf-Bored Cat</i> 1967 film by Abe Levitow

Surf-Bored Cat is a 1967 Tom and Jerry short directed by Abe Levitow and produced by Chuck Jones. Animation was by Dick Thompson, Philip Roman, Ben Washam, Hal Ambro, Don Towsley and Carl Bell, with layouts by Don Morgan and backgrounds by Philip DeGuard.

Woodbridge "Woody" Parker Brown (1912–2008) was an American surfer and watercraft designer best known for inventing the modern catamaran. He was also instrumental in promoting the growth of surfing in the mainland United States; among his accomplishment in surfboard shaping was an early fin design.

Surfboard fin

A surfboard fin or skeg is a hydrofoil mounted at the tail of a surfboard or similar board to improve directional stability and control through foot-steering. Fins can provide lateral lift opposed to the water and stabilize the board's trajectory, allowing the surfer to control direction by varying their side-to-side weight distribution. The introduction of fins in the 1930s revolutionized surfing and board design. Surfboard fins may be arrayed in different numbers and configurations, and many different shapes, sizes, and materials are and have been made and used.

Donald Moke Takayama was an American professional surfer and surfboard shaper. Originally a longboard surfer, Takayama won the Master's division of the United States Surfing Champions in 1971, 1972 and 1973. Hawaiian born, Takayama learned to surf at Waikiki Beach and moved to California in the mid-1950s. Takayama died of complications from heart surgery; he is survived by his wife and four daughters.

Thomas Edward "Tom" Blake was an American athlete, inventor, and writer, widely considered to be one of the most influential surfers in history, and a key figure in transforming surfing from a regional Hawaiian speciality to a nationally popular sport. Assessing Blake's significance, the sociologist Kristin Lawler wrote: "Tom Blake is a legendary figure; he's considered the founder of California surf culture. He personally innovated most of what's associated with surfers to this day: he was the first to experiment with making better surfboards, revolutionising board design in the process with lightweight materials and the fin; he was the first to build a waterproof camera housing and inaugurated the tradition of surfers documenting themselves and their friends; and he was the first among countless surfers to come to write a book on the history and pleasures of surfing. In addition, his personal style became the prototypical beachcomber look, still in effect today."


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  2. "Surf Terminology: What it Means to Smack the Lip".
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  9., Editor at. "How to spot a kook in surfing". Surfertoday.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  10. Surfboards, Degree 33. "How to Build Your Surfboard Quiver". Degree 33 Surfboards.