Lingo & Terminology

Walk the walk and talk the talk with confidence.

This little pocket dictionary of common surf terms will help you make sense of conversations in the line up or car park.

  • Blown Out – Strong wind has made it un-surfable
  • Close Out – A wave that doesn’t peel in either direction as it breaks
  • Clean up set – A bigger than expected set that everyone out the back has to duck dive
  • Ding – A dent in your surfboard
  • Bomb – A really good (and usually big) wave
  • Ground Swell – A swell that has been formed by weather patterns a long way away and has travelled some distance. Ground swells produce much cleaner waves compared to wind swells
  • Grommet – (or grom) A young surfer
  • Glassy – The clean look on the ocean when there is no wind
  • Caught inside – Getting stuck while trying to paddle your way out through the white water, sometimes due to currents
  • Gun – A long board (with a short board shape) designed for surfing big waves
  • Kook – An incompetent surfer, who will surf conditions beyond their capabilities with no regard to other surfers and surf etiquette
  • Line up – the spot where all the surfers are sitting waiting for waves
  • Lip – the tip of the breaking wave which hits the water first
  • Out The Back – The area beyond the white water where you paddle into unbroken waves
  • Poo Stance – An extremely wide stance
  • Quad – A surfboard with four fins
  • Quiver – A personal collection of surfboards
  • Ripping – Surfing critically, powerfully and really well
  • Section – An area on an otherwise peeling wave, where the lip breaks in a big section. A section can make it difficult to surf around to stay on the face
  • Set – A group of waves rolling in
  • Snake (verb) A way to position yourself for wave priority that dismisses surf etiquette. Go to the module on surf etiquette to learn more about snaking
  • Snake (noun) A snake is also a title you give to somebody who snakes others in the surf
  • Shoulder – The unbroken end of a peeling wave face
  • Shredding – See ripping
  • Off shore – The wind direction is going from the beach out to sea
  • Over the falls – Getting dragged over with crest of a breaking wave