Surf Lingo

By BobbyRica | August 22, 2012


As they say, surfing is more than just a sport. It’s a lifestyle. And this lifestyle comes with its own language/terms. When you’re beginning surfing, it pays to know what certain things mean for you to not get confused, and let’s put it honestly, for one to not appear to be such a newbie, or worse—a poser.

Here are some of the most common surfing terms:


Stoked – It’s the feeling that you get when you’re surfing. Elated. Wonderful. Amazing. It’s the reason we surf.

Wipe-out – Falling of your board.

Goofy/Regular – Goofy footers are those that ride with the left foot at back, and the right foot in front. Regular/Natural footers are those that ride with the right foot at the back, and the left foot in front.

Backside – When you’re surfing and your back is facing the wave. A goofy footer going right, a natural/regular footer going left.

Frontside – When you’re surfing and you are facing the wave. A goofy footer going left, a natural/regular footer going right.

Peak – Where the wave starts to break, whoever is nearest or at the peak gets the priority of the wave.

Bug Stance – Standing on your surfboard with your feet wide apart. Usually commonly seen on beginners. This stance is not very stable actually, and it looks stupid.

surfer girl

Grom/Grommet – What you call a young surfer.

Rip – It can mean two things. Either it’s a current of water going outside from the beach to the ocean/sea. It could mean that someone is really surfing the hell out of the wave, i.e. that person is ripping!

Backdoor – When you catch a wave before it starts to curl/barrel.

Bail – What you call when you abort riding a wave, or get off the wave could be because the wave is already breaking and pitching you over, or someone else has the wave.

Close-out – Waves that do not break from a point. Usually causes a lot of broken boards.

Brah – term of endearment to a male friend.

Caught Inside – What you call getting caught where the waves are breaking.

Hang Five/Ten – Hang Five/ten is a surfing trick for the longboard wherein the surfer walks to nose of his board and hangs either five or ten toes over the nose.

Choke – when you fail to get a wave or bail because you were scared.

Kook – These are annoying people who act like douches out of the surf, when they can’t surf. People who don’t make sense, and act like they don’t have sense.

Snake – when you go around someone with priority, and get priority from them.

Drop In – When someone already has priority on wave, or is on the wave and someone else takes it. A bad move.


There’s a lot more where that came from, but these things will tide you over. The best tip to not sound like a newbie or a kook is to just use these words sparingly, or better yet – if it applies. I’ve seen too many people try to use so many terms in one sentence that’s so faked.

Remember that it takes a certain credibility in using these terms.

Surf on, and these words will just magically come easy to say to you. You gotta be legit, to sound legit. Good luck!

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