Surf Lingo

What do all these words mean?? There is a ton of surf lingo, and we’re here to help you understand it. Here are some surf terms and lingo that you might find helpful.

The Ocean

  • Break: The point where the wave starts to break and create rideable surf.
  • Offshore: When the wind is blowing from the land towards the ocean, creating cleaner and more organized waves.
  • Onshore: When the wind is blowing from the ocean towards the land, often creating messy and choppy waves.
  • Point Break: A type of surf break where waves break consistently along a point of land, producing long, rideable waves.
  • Reef Break: A type of surf break that occurs over a submerged reef, often creating powerful and hollow waves.
  • Rip Current: A strong, narrow current that flows from the shore back towards the open ocean, often posing a hazard to swimmers and surfers.
  • Shore Break: Waves that break close to the shore, often with great force.
  • Set: A group of larger waves that come in intervals, usually followed by smaller waves.

The Beach and Surfboard

  • Dawn Patrol: Surfing early in the morning, usually around sunrise.
  • Fins: The attached fin-like structures on the bottom of a surfboard that help with stability and control.

Actions in the Water

  • Paddle Out: The act of paddling from the shore out to where the waves are breaking.
  • Line-Up: The area where surfers wait for waves and position themselves for the best ride.
  • Barrel: When a surfer rides inside the hollow part of a breaking wave.
  • Hang Ten/Hang Five: Performing a maneuver where a surfer walks to the front of the board and hangs either ten toes (front) or five toes (back) off the edge.
  • Tube/Barrel Riding: Riding inside the hollow part of a breaking wave.
  • Wipeout: Falling off the board while attempting to ride a wave.
  • Bottom Turn: The initial turn a surfer makes at the bottom of the wave to set up for maneuvers.

Other Fun Surf Lingo

  • Drop-In: When a surfer cuts in front of another surfer who already has the right of way on a wave.
  • Grom/Grommet: A young, inexperienced surfer.
  • Stoked: A term used to express excitement or enthusiasm about surfing or waves.

Remember, surfing lingo can vary by region and culture, so you might encounter additional terms specific to certain surfing communities. Learn more at