When you’re a beginner, you hear words like “left hander”, “hang ten” and “gnarly” and wonder what on Earth people are talking about. This surfsaurus has been created for you to pick up a few words, both technical and slang, so you’ll be understanding the lingo in no time.


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So here’s a few technical terms to start with so that you’re a little more savvy next time you’re hitting the swell.

Swell– When a mid ocean storm brings in a set of waves. Remember, big swell is good! (but maybe not for beginners)

Set- A group of larger waves which come in periodically

Impact Zone– The area where the waves break (Stay out of this!)

Lineup– The area where the waves elevate before they break, where the surfers wait. (Always remember to wait your turn)

Rip– A dangerous current that can pull you out to sea (Paddle across it to where the waves are breaking)

Duckdive– Where a surfer pushes their board under an oncoming wave to paddle out (Not advised on a foamie)

Lefthander– A wave that breaks to the left (Righthander being the opposite)

Goofy– When you ride with your right foot forward

Regular– When you ride with your left foot forward

Offshore– Where the wind blows from the land to the sea, holding up the waves. (Ideal for surfing)


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Now for a few of those slang words to keep you sounding in the know!

Glassy– Clean, smooth conditions where there is no wind

Pumping– When the waves are big and the swell is looking sweet

Kook– An idiot with no idea what they are doing (You may hear this at some point whilst learning, but everyone starts somewhere!)

Gnarly– When a wave or the surf is looking pretty evil

Rad, Sweet and Filthy– All used to describe something being good.


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So keep these few words in mind when you’re next out in the waves and you will be blending in in no time.

Peace out!