10 Surf Terms You ABSOLUTELY Need To Know

Surfing is a hard thing to pick up—and the very cliquey surf community makes it doubly so. Here are a few terms you’ll stumble across when you hit the lineup or walk into your surf shop of choice.

surfing yard sale yard sale (yahrd-seyl):

To fall limbs flailing, in the most undignified manner possible. use: “Hey is that guy leaving already? The waves are just starting to go off!” “Yeah, if you’d just thrown half a dozen yard sales in a row like he did, you’d probably be on your way out, too.”

surf dictionary shredshred (shred):

To surf a wave in a flashy, flamboyant, and skillful manner. (syn: rip, killin it) use: “Whoa did you see that 360 air? That old dude is legit shredding, brah.”

surf dictionary railsrails (reyls):

The left and right edges of your surfboard.The bevel on your rails help determine how your board will turn, with “harder” rails granting you tighter snappy turns. use: “Wax your board, nose to tail and rail to rail.”

surf dictionary potato chippotato chip (puh•tey•toh chip):

A thin (read: comically small) performance shortboard. use: “The waves are tiny, mate. Leave the potato chip at home, today.”

surf dictionary gromgrom (grom):

A young surfer typically under 15 years old. Shortened form of grommet. Typically reserved for particularly skillfull or irritating young surfers. use: The traditional tousling of the hair and baby talk are considered mandatory as part of the grom greeting ritual.

surf dictionary stickstick (stik):

Your board. Also used by skaters and snowboarders (syn: shred stick) use: “There’s a sweet swell coming in. I can’t wait to take out my stick tomorrow and gnar up some waves”

surf dictionary kookkook (kook):

A non surfer. Esp. one who’s posing as a surfer, hitting the lineup, and carrying his mint condition Al Merrick around the beach instead of surfing it. Heavily derogatory. use: don’t.

surf dictionary hollowhollow (hol•oh):

Well-formed tubing/barreling waves. Y’see they’re hollow inside so they…yeah. (ant: mushy) use: I wish we’d get some hollow surf around here so I could freakin use my shortboard.”

surf dictionary snakesnake (sneyk):

To catch someone else’s wave. Heavily frowned upon. use: “If he snakes my wave one more time, Imma send him a VERY strongly worded fax...”

surf dictionary the linethe line (thuh•lahyn):

Describes the most ideally surfable portion of the wave. The goal for every surfer is to ride the line for as long as possible. use: “Watch the way he plays with the line, you can tell that guy is a total pro.”
Garek Hurt
Garek Hurt




May 07, 2014

Hey thanks for the feedback, man! If you’ve got any other ideas for articles you wanna see, let us know!


May 07, 2014

This would be a good lead in to some etiquette 101…

Like the guy on the the peak owns the wave, the guy to his feet first owns the wave, verbalize your intentions in a crowded line up, and so on and so forth.

And does anyone know when it became acceptable to annoyingly whistle in an effort to claim the wave? I don’t know about the rest of you, but when someone doesn’t have the decency to use words like ‘right’ ‘left’ or ‘got it’ then… well we had a thing called ‘plank justice’ in the service. DON’T WHISTLE AT STRANGERS. It’s disrespectful.

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