“Dude Said What?”
For years people have been asking me for a basic surf glossary. Here it is! A beginner Surf Vocabulary & Surf Glossary to all the surf talk, surf walk & surf slang I can think of off the top of my head. Lemme know if you have any questions or better yet any terms to add. :
Poor- Wind, surface conditions and waves are not ideal for surfing. Perhaps they are jumbled, messy, or lacking in size. Also at times, poor conditions can be waves that are too big and lacking in shape. Don’t call in sick to go surfing on these days.
Poor-fair- Wind is probably bad and or conditions are a bit messy, but at times an ok wave rolls through. The sets are mostly lacking in shape but at times there may be corners or parts of the wave that are rideable. If sets are inconsistent but there are a few waves every hour that are ok to ride.
Fair- Wind is not bad and conditions are decent. Waves have shape and there isn’t too much of a bump on the water surface. Sets can be inconsistent but fun.
Fair-Good- Winds are somewhat favorable and surface conditions are generally clean. Waves are better than an average day. Decent shape and better than average sets coming in.
Good- Good conditions don’t happen very often. Takes a lot for everything to come together. Good conditions mean all of the above: Wind is favorable, surface conditions are clean, waves are above average size for the surf spot, sets are consistent with long fun rides. It’s ok to call in sick on these days. If you don’t, expect to get calls from people at the beach that you should be there.
Epic- Epic days at your local happen maybe 2-3 days a year. Amazing shape on the wave, ideal conditions all around. The tides are working perfectly and it couldn’t get better. These days it’s not unreasonable to cancel dates, leaved loved ones in the dust and put a rain check on that work project. If you aren’t out there on these days, can you call yourself a local? A surfer? Epic days are holidays, enjoy them when they happen. If it’s too big for your comfort level, then go and take pictures and watch the show.You will be entertained.
Weather and Water Conditions:
Onshore Winds- When the wind comes out from the ocean and on to land. The bad wind, usually happens midday. This direction of wind is bad because it pushes on the back of the wave. Causing it to crumble rather than to stay up. Can make the water surface choppy and textured.
Offshore Winds- The good wind, the wind you want and cherish. Wind from off the land pushes out to sea. Going up the face of the wave, the wind holds the wave up. Creating ideal conditions. Especially ideal for beach breaks.
Side Shore- When the wind is not directly onshore or offshore. Rather hitting the wave to the side. This can make for ideal conditions at certain waves that are working favorably with weather it is a left or a right, and which direction the side shore wind is coming from. If you are surfing a left on the california coastline and you have a north wind, that would be pushing the wind into the left and holding up the face of the wave, which would be ideal for that wave. However on the right, it can be causing poor conditions. This can vice versa, as if the side shore wind is too strong.
Choppy Surface Conditions- There is surface bump on the water. The opposite of smooth, Makes it hard for your board to glide through the water. When riding waves, choppy conditions can throw bumps under your board making riding difficult and causing you to wipe out.
Smooth Surface Conditions- Makes the ocean surface look glassy. Ideal conditions.
Water Quality- Is something you want to pay attention to for your health. Usually after the first heavy rain of the season the water quality will be very poor due to runoff. The State and City say it is best to wait 72 hours after any rain. Even if the water is clear sometimes there can be hazardous bacteria in the water. It is important to read any postings or signs that are on a beach that give warning of poor water quality. River mouths can be very harmful after a rain. Sinus infections are common in the winter months for surfers who ignore these warnings.
Water temp- Every surf report will make sure to include what the water temp is. Know before you go in the water that you have the correct wetsuit thickness, and/or if booties are required. Or maybe the water temp is up and you’ll be overheating in your 4:3 while everyone is enjoying the surf in their boardshorts.
Tide- Depth of the ocean nearshore. Tides change depending on the moon phase. every day there are two low tides and two high tides. The time of these highs and lows changes a little day by day. Typically, tides affect the shape of the beach and the waves, sometimes even the size of the waves. Some beaches are better on one tide or another and some waves only work at certain tides.
Low Tide- The state of the tide when it as it’s lowest level. Certain spots, can only work on low tide. Typically at a beach break when a tide is going to low, it can cause rip currents/tides*.
Mid Tide- The tide between High and Low. Usually a good time to surf for beach breaks.
High Tide- The state of the tide when it is at it’s highest. Just like with low tide, certain surf spots may only work on a higher tide. Usually at a beach break a high tide will cause a shorebreak wave. Can swamp out waves, making them fat and difficult to ride.
Rip Currents (AKA Rip tides)- A rip current, often mistakenly called a rip tide. A rip current has nothing to do with the gravitational pull of the moon therefore is not a tide. More so, a rip current is about the movement of the water leaving the shore trying to exit the shore zone and make it back out to the ocean. They are identified as a river of moving water out to the ocean, a river of foam or sand. Usually the ocean surface will be crossed up, waves will not be breaking in this zone. It is important to know how to escape. More people die each year from rips than they do from sharks. To exit a rip swim parallel to the beach. Do not fight back by swimming straight at the beach, you will wear yourself out. The current is only going to push you out back from where the breaking waves are coming from. Rips do not suck people out to sea further than where the waves are breaking. Be able to identify rips, it is important. When you are an experienced waterman you can use rips to fast track you out to the line-up.
Tide Push- When going to high tide, the water moving in can help some swells, by giving the waves an extra push. When the tide is coming up it is referred to the tide push. Can help small swells have bigger waves and can also make paddling out in bigger waves that much more difficult because you have the ocean working against you.
Surf Vocabulary for SurfBoards:
Surfboard- The board a surfer uses to catch and ride waves. Also called a ‘stick.’ Most modern surfboards are made from polyester foam encased in fiberglass. When a surfboard is damaged it is called a ‘ding’ and must be repaired because if the foam inside the fiberglass shell absorbs water it makes the board heavy. The front of a surfboard is called the nose, the back called the tail. The top side of a surfboard is called the deck. Fins (usually 1 – 4 per board) are screwed into to the underside of the board providing balance. A leg rope or leash attaches at the surfer’s ankle or calf and connects to the back of the board. Surfboards are what make this all possible.
Shortboard- One of the two primary shapes of surfboards. It is small and rides more like a skateboard. It was developed in the 1970’s. This type of board is generally used for aggressive surfing and radical tricks. Most modern surf competitions and professional surfers ride shortboards.
Longboard- The original surfboard, developed by Hawaiians hundreds of years ago. Also called a ‘log.’ The longboard is Large and usually has just one big fin. The board is generally slower and cruises the wave in a straight line allowing the surfer more stylized maneuvers and walking up and down the board.
Gun- A type of hybrid surfboard used by surfers who ride very large waves. Not ideal for small waves. Beginners sometimes make the mistake of buying these as a way to surf a shortboard. Don’t do this.
Fish- A shortboard, that usually has two fins or four and a swallow tail with thick deck. Highly popular in the late 60’s and 70’s. Good for smaller waves and stylish surfers.
Swell- Most people think waves are created by water movements, but it is actually wind energy. Storms over the ocean pass wind energy into the water and produce irregularities known as swell. In the open ocean, swell looks like elevated lines on the water’s surface. However as swell approach land they begin to ‘shoal,’ growing in size and eventually crest creating a breaking wave. The bigger the storm at sea, the more wind energy it passes onto the surface of the water, thus the bigger and more powerful swells come from bigger and more powerful storms, often travelling 1000’s of miles before they peak and break and that energy is lost upon the shore.
Groundswell vs Windswell:
Groundswell- Groundswells are swells that are usually generated by winds much farther away. These swells are created by strong winds over long distances and over longer periods of time. As a result, more energy is transferred into the water during the generation of the waves, which create longer swell periods. Ground Swell generally makes for more powerful swells because the energy of the wind fetch is strong even at some depth. These swells have the power to travel far and wrap into other spot windswell would never reach.
Windswell- Less powerful storms create windswell. Wind swells are from winds that are more local, often only a few hundred feet off the coast. The swell periods are much shorter and the waves stack up on each other. That means waves are more frequent but often lack power and shape during a wind swell.
Period- Wave interval is another name for period. The amount of time it takes for two successive wave crests to pass through a determined point. The time it is between sets is determined by this. The higher the period, the more power of a swell and the distance between traveling swells within a set. Very important when reading a surf forecast. A ground swell of 4’@19 seconds can be bigger than a windswell of 6’@7 seconds. The “@ 7 seconds” being the period.
Waves- As swells form waves they begin to break by folding over themselves. Once a wave is breaking it loses energy. Some waves break quickly, others slowly. A lot depends on the size and speed of the swells. How they are approaching land, the ocean floor and the topography of the beach with which they move towards.
Set- Waves travel in groups called sets. The sets are the waves that we surf. Sets can have as many as 1-20 waves per set. It is important to sit and watch a beach for awhile so that you can witness a set. Sometimes you can be watching a beach about to go surf, see waves that look fun for your level. But when you get out in the line-up a set comes and it’s actually 15’ out there. Make sure you see the sets before paddling out.
Lull- The time between sets. Can differ greatly, from 1 minute, 45 minutes and even up to an hour sometimes. It’s important to know the conditions before you paddle out. You see it all the time where a beginner got in trouble cause they paddled out during a lull and never actually saw the sets. Sometimes an ocean can be flat for 25 minutes then all of a sudden the beach can erupt with 25ft set waves. Always sit and watch the sets first and then time your paddle to coincide with a lull.
Peak- The highest point of a wave and usually the section a surfer wants to begin his ride from.
Section- Different parts of a wave are called sections. Depending on the beach topography and the shape and size of a swell, a wave can have many sections. Flat sections, fast sections, hollowed sections ect.
Pocket- As the wave breaks down the line most of the power remains in the pocket. A surfer wants to remain as close to the pocket as possible without entering the white water section. Thus, most surf maneuvers take the surfer away from the pocket and then return him or her there.
Face- The open surfable part of a wave is called the ‘face’.
Lip- Is the upper-most part of the breaking wave, the part of the wave that folds over on itself. This is where surfers can do such maneuvers as floaters and where you want your top turns to happen. Also the part of the barrel that can take your head off!
Close Out- When a wave is not ridable because it breaks too fast or all at once. Creating no face that you can get a decent ride on. It creates a section that is not ridable because there is no open face. This area is know as a closeout section or white water and is not a surfable section. Closeout waves are not surfable at all and no fun.
White water- The foamy part of the wave that has already broken.
Surf Vocabulary for on your board:
Goofy Stance- Right foot forward stance. Doesn’t mean you are a goofball. The term actually comes from the first time the Disney character Goofy was seen on a skateboard he was facing this direction, which was strange to the eye cause no characters were ever seen doing this stance at the time.
Regular Stance- Left foot forward stance. Your right foot is your back foot.
Frontside- When riding a wave this is when your body is facing the wave.
Backside- When riding a wave this is when your body’s back is facing the wave.
Paddle- When a surfer is laying on their stomach and stroking the water to produce speed and glide on the surface.
Catch a wave- When a surfer has matched the speed of a wave in the correct section, the wave picks up the surfboard from behind and the surfer in now using the energy of the wave as momentum to stand up and ride the wave.
Pop-Up- When a surfer catches a wave they must stand quickly, known as a ‘Pop’
The Drop- As a surfer catches a wave and pops –up he or she drops down the face of the wave, sometimes to the very bottom of the face known as the ‘troff’. The drop is very exciting. Skateboarders would mimic this feeling by creating half pipes for them to ride.
Bottom Turn- Before reaching the bottom of a drop, a surfer will shift weight and turn the board, transferring energy from the drop into a turn. The surfer is now riding the wave parallel to the direction it is breaking. This is usually the first maneuver a surfer will do once they have dropped in. A good bottom turn is what makes a good top turn.
Top Turn- If the surfer produces too much speed down the line of the wave a top turn can be engaged bringing the surer back to the pocket of the wave. A very quick top turn is known as a snap or a hit.
Kickout- When a surfer is finished with a wave, he or she can ‘kick-out’ by driving the back foot into the board and turn quickly to exit the wave over the back. The most efficient way to dismount from a wave, keeping your board close to you.
Stall- A surfer can also slow down while riding on a wave by inserting a hand or even a foot into the wave face. Also can be done by putting pressure on back of the board, creating the nose to come up farther off the surface. This is done to dust off speed, stay in the pocket and to get barreled.
Tube /Barrel- The pinnacle of surfing. Some waves are big enough and break fast enough that a section creates a hollow tube shape. While riding the wave it is sometimes possible to fit both board and body inside this section, also known as ‘The Green Room’. The tube is often entered by stalling and exited by removing a stall and gaining enough speed to make it out. Most surfers consider this the most radical maneuver in surfing. At the very least, it is an incredible feeling to be inside a wave and come out again. What it’s all about for some surfers.
Duck Dive- In order to avoid being pushed back by an imposing wave, a shortboarder can dive both board and body under a hazardous wave, where is has far less power. The surfer must first push his nose down as deep as necessary right before the oncoming wave has approached, then right at the exact moment of the wave coming over the surfer, he/she pushes down with either their foot or knee on the tail of the board. Causing the board to be pushed back to the surface. An essential defensive maneuver that takes time to master. Timing is everything.
Turtle Roll- The most effective defensive maneuver a surfer on a longboard can execute. The surfer grabs the rails of the board, when the approaches the surfer rolls onto their back. Making sure that they are getting the nose of their board as much underwater as possible. Once the wave has moved past, the surfer then rolls back onto their board and back into paddling position.
Hang Ten- When you get all ten of those little piggies (your feet) over the nose of that board.
Hang Five- 5 little piggies over the nose.
Cutback- When a surfer makes a top turn that keeps going back to where the white water is and turns into it. Looks like an “S”. While doing this you will transition from going frontside to backside back to the original frontside, and vice versa if you are going backside on a wave when you start your cutback. Very important maneuver to keep you in the pocket.
Floater- When you ride over and/or along the top of the lip of the wave.
Aerial- When your board leaves the wave, goes above the lip.
Pump- Pumping on a wave gathers the surfer speed. Either to make it around a section, gather speed to do a big maneuver or speed up for a tube. Surfer goes from the top of the wave to the bottom then from the bottom to the top, gathering as much speed as desired.
Areas of the Beach:
The Shore- Safely on the sand
Shorebreak or shorepound- The breaking area of a wave closest to shore. A strong shorepound can be difficult to paddle through making a challenge for a surfer entering or exiting the water.
Impact Zone- Area of the surf break between the shorebreak and the safe sitting zone where all breaking waves are in proximity. Not the ideal place to hang out.
A Channel- An area of water that is deep or where a reef is broken, meaning waves will not break here. Often a wave will finish into a channel allowing a surfer to exit the wave with ease and paddle back to the peak without encountering more waves on the way. Thus, a channel is optimal when paddling to the peak as the surfer does not get pushed back by impeding waves.
Line-Up- A pecking order of surfers waiting for a wave near the peak. The top of the lineup has priority as long as the surfer is capable of making the wave without error.
OutBack- When sitting in the line-up and waiting for waves the area further towards the open ocean is known as ‘Outback’. Bigger waves break outback more inconsistently, usually.
Inside- The inside is the area closer to shore. Usually a good place to catch non set waves, just remember to stay out of the way of the other surfers that are catching the waves from out back. Also be prepared to get crushed by the set waves. You normally don’t want to sit here if you are a beginner, must pay attention to other surfers behavior. If you see them paddling for the horizon that may mean you are in trouble.
In Deep- Very close to the peak or pocket. A surfer deepest on a wave is the one closest to the peak.
Kook- A dumb, stupid, silly, or unskilled maneuver. A surfer who does this on a wave thus ‘kooks’ the wave. A surfer who does this often enough is known as a ‘kook’.
Make a call- Surfer at the peak often call out who will take a wave from priority position. The surfer usually whistles or calls out ‘my wave.’ This is designed to avoid any interference with the ride and should be practiced at all times in a crowded lineup. Unfortunately, this does not always happen because if a surfer calls the wave and then kooks it, he or she has messed up the wave for everyone else who could have been riding. If you are surfing a wave that has both option of going left or right, a friendly ask of “ Which way are you going?”, “You going left?”, a generous “ I am gonna go right”, can save the day and allow one surfer to go left and the other right.
A ‘Drop In’- Not to be confused with the drop. For safety and etiquette reasons a wave is usually surfed by one surfer at a time. The person closest to the peak or first to their feet, generally has right of way. If another surfer tries to take a wave someone has already engaged from the peak or makes a drop down the face of the wave just in front of the surfer with priority, it’s known as a drop in or snake. This can interfere or be dangerous to the surfer already riding the wave. If the deeper surfer makes the wave, the one who dropped in should kick out as soon as possible.
Surfboard Repair Vocabulary:
Board Construction- The modern surfboard is essentially a foam core blank, shaped and then glassed inside a hard, waterproof shell. There are 2 main types of board construction: PU & Epoxy. SurfBoards made of PU- or Polyurethane foam – are glassed inside a fiberglass shell.
Surfboard Boards glassed inside an Epoxy shell use a Styrofoam blank and then most often painted with a lacquer based paint. Repairs must be done accordingly.
Repair- Once a surfboard’s shell is “open” it can take on water, which slowly destroys the foam inside and or and makes the board heavy. The larger the ding, the faster water enters, the more foam you damage, the tougher the repair. One way to check and see if a ding has absorbed water is after a surf session is to allow it to sit in the sun a few hours and then try to suck water out. If you taste salt water, then it is time for a repair. Water inside can make the board heavy and you do not want to close a ding while there may be water trapped inside.
The most basic premise of a repair is – once all the water is out of the foam – refurbish the damaged foam if necessary and then reseal the shell. There is a slightly different process of repair based on the boards construction and the materials needed. This is primarily because, using fiberglass resin to seal an epoxy board will destroy the Styrofoam core.
Cosmetic issues- Often cosmetic issues get confused as dings. Some examples are small compressions on the deck or under deck, flex lines, sun-damage or fading, scratches in the top layer of glass or paint, spider and coke bottle shatters. These look bad and in some cases could lead to a little further wear and tear, but overall they are cosmetic. For the most part, cosmetic wear simply lowers the value of a surfboard because it is “looks more used” and “looks bad,” but should not affect the physical condition of the board in any physical way.
Dings- Open holes in the shell that will allow water to corrupt the integrity of the surfboard.
Damage- Large dings, gouges, smash-ins, punctures & slices are just some examples of damage. Harder and more difficult ones to repair are broken fins or finboxes, buckles and breaks in the surfboard.
Delamination- When the bond between shell and foam has begun to separate a surfboard and start to delaminate. This area is often soft and squishy, depressible with a slight touch. Delamination is often referred to as cancer, as it can spread through the board. It can grow quickly or slowly depending on use and storage habits. Delamination is not necessarily critical damage to your board unless it has crossed a stringer. When this happens the structural integrity of the board is compromised and it is very likely to break or snap in the weakened section of the board. Thus it is often best to repair the delamination before this happens.
Different Types of Waves:
Rights- From the surfer’s perspective, a wave going right. For regular foot surfers this would mean they would be surfing frontside, and for goofy foot surfers this means they are gonna be on their backsides.
Lefts- From the surfer’s perspective, a wave peeling left.
A frames- Typically at beach breaks but can also been found at reefbreaks such as trestles. The iconic wave, usually seen as tramp stamps on old surfers from the 90’s. This picturesque wave offers a right and a left. The lip of the wave crashes at the center of the peak and peels both ways. Making for you and a pal to catch the same wave. Also makes it more important for each surfer to make a call which way they are going.
Beach break- Sand bottom beach. Many waves breaking along a sandy beach. Beach breaks offer more diversity than point breaks, usually having rights and lefts. They are tide dependent but different beaches react differently to different tides (say that three times fast please), and always rely on where the sand is.Important to pay attention to rips, and where the current is pushing.
Point break- A surf spot where the wave breaks at a certain spot all the time. Can be a jetty, a reef, stone bottom. Offers up only one option, a right or left. Usually peels a lot longer than a beach break, makes for longer rides. Crowd factor tends to heat up though, harder to catch your waves and have to mind the pecking order.
Reef break- A wave that breaks over a reef, coral, rock, cobblestones. Breaks similar to a point break as in it is usually always breaking in the same spot, but can produce lefts and rights. Usually creating an epic wave. Think Pipeline in Hawaii or Trestles in San Clemente.
WetSuit- Surf wetsuits are designed for freedom of movement and to preserve core temperature. Spring suits are designed to keep your core warm while allowing your arms and legs to not be covered, giving you more comfortability.
Leash- Connects you to your board. They weren’t always around so appreciate them. Give thanks to Jack O’neill for inventing them and donating one of his eyeballs to their creation. For a shortboard you want a shorter leash, one that is not too thick, if you have a longer board, longer leash. You never want your leash to be much larger than the craft you are surfing.
Leash Rope- The little string that goes into your leash box and gives you something to attach your leash to. Make sure it is correct length. You don’t want it too long or else when your board gets ripped away from you the string can cut into your tail.
Wax- Goes on the top deck of your board, not on the bottom!!! This sticky stuff repels water and creates traction for your feet. Without you won’t be able to stand on your board. Make sure you get the right wax for the right water temperature that you will be surfing in. The colder the water, the harder the wax, the warmer the water, the softer the wax.
Booties- These are boots for your feet. Sometimes worn for warmth in cold water and other times worn to protect your feet against the reef, urchins, rocks or any other hazardous object that can lay on the ocean floor.
Surf Racks- The racks that are necessary for you to transport your boards on top of your car. Usually consists of a few bars and padding, and use straps to hold them on. Make sure you put your boards on correctly, biggest to smallest, Think aerodynamically as well. Also make sure they are secure, you always hear a horror story of someone losing boards off their roof.
Traction Pad- Goes on the top deck of your board, usually near the tail, above the fins. Prevents you from having to wax there and gives you more traction. Basically, a piece of rubber that has adhesive that sticks to your board. Typically used on shortboards. In the 80’s surfers would put these on the entirety of their board, not so common now. They aren’t a necessity but some like it. An alternative to using wax.
Board Bag- The bag in which you carry your board. Some are built for heavy travel, some are merely socks. If you got a board you love, make sure you are gonna keep that shred stick in a bag while you are not surfing. Protects against sun and the more durable ones can protect your board from getting out of water dings.
Wax Remover- A liquid that when rubbed on your board will help you remove the wax, remember water won’t work.
Wax Comb- One side has teeth and the other side has a flat side. Flat side is for removing wax and the teeth side is for rubbing across the board to bring the old wax back up. A good tool to use if you don’t have any wax to bring the old wax up and create traction. If you don’t have this, and you don’t have fresh wax well then you’ll have to use your fingernails, it will make them smell nice.
Boardshorts- Bathing suit, swimwear, shorts that are comfortable for you to surf in. Cause you can’t surf in those jean shorts now can you?
Rash Guard- Also known as a rashie. A T-shirt that can protect your body from the sun and your belly from the wax on your board.
Fin Key- Small allen wrench that fits in your fin boxes for removal or putting in your fins. An essential tool if your fins are removable and you need to put them in or take them out. If you are going on a surf trip make sure you pack your fin key!
Nose Guard- Goes on the nose of a surfboard to help soften the tip of the nose. Can save your eyeball!
Sunscreen- A cream of lotion that is rubbed on the skin to protect from the deadly rays of the sun. Whenever surfing, you should always wear protection. Even on an overcast or cloudy day. Sunburns look good on nobody, ever. Strength of sunscreen is rated by the SPF, the higher the SPF the stronger the sunscreen. Please make sure that the sunscreen you are wearing is waterproof. Be careful of getting the sunscreen in your eyes as it can burn.
Parts Your Surfboard:
Nose- The front part of the board. Where the two sides meet. Can be semi-circle in shape, triangular, or pointy. Shape of the nose can vary depending on a shaper’s imagination.
Tail- The very end of the board. Can be very different on every board, Many different types of tails for different uses. Pintail, squash, diamond, and swallow, are a few of the different types of tails.
Rails- The sides running down the board.
Deck- The top of the board. Can be domed or flat.
Bottom- Did you guess the bottom of the board? You were right, give yourself a pat on the back.
Fins- Are underneath the tail, help you catch waves, maintain stability. Fin set-ups can vary. Single, Twin, Thruster, Quad. When surfboards were first being built the old shapers thought of this as the keel, and that the board was the boat. Alot has changed since then. The material you choose your fins to be made out of is optional, and the variances are vast. Weather you have glassed-on fins (meaning that are attached to the board indefinitely) or you have removable fins. The world of fins is amazing and once you are a skilled surfer you should play around with different fin set-ups. The tail and the fins, work together to give your board a specific feel for when slicing through water.
Fin Box- The box that your removable fins are attached to. Necessary to have a fin key or screwdriver so that you can tighten them in or take them out. Pay attention to the fin box when buying a new board. It is important that they are in good shape. If you have any dings around the fin box it is important that you get them fixed.
Leash Box- This is what your leash rope, and leash attach too. The leash box is usually circular, has a little bar in the middle that you put your leash rope through.
Concave- The shape of the bottom of the board is designed with a concave. There can be single and double concave. If you hold the board fins up, and look closely at the bottom of the board. you can see that from rail to rail the bottom is not flat. Most boards have some kind of concave. Concave affects how water flows from the nose of the board to the tail.
Rocker (front rocker)- Is the curve coming up from the middle and bottom of the board. Notice if you lay your board flat on a table, or the ground. The nose points up, or lifts up a little, or a lot. This difference is what makes your board ideal for certain waves. A heavy rocker the nose will look more like a banana and will be noticeably angled up, the lower or lighter the rocker, that flatter the nose will rest against the ground or table. Too much rocker your board can “push water”, which means the board will not effectively let you paddle. Too little of rocker makes dropping in on very steep waves more difficult.
Tail Rocker- From the middle of the board to your tail this is the curve coming out at the tail. Tail rocker and your front rocker work together to give your board a specific feel. Usually has to do with what style of wave you will be surfing and what you want to be doing on those waves.
Stringer- A stringer is typically the piece of wood that is going down the middle of your aboard. Use to be made solely of wood. Could be balsa, the most popular, but you can also get cedar and other types of wood. Nowadays boards can come with carbon stringers, or no stringers at all like some epoxy surfboards. The Stinger holds the foam together and acts as the core.
Surf Vocabulary / Slang:
Beginner- Someone who is new to surfing, typically lacking both skill and understanding.
Kook- Someone oblivious to the fact they are new or goofy looking in the surf. Often silly looking or even dangerous to experienced surfers. Synonymous with a goober or a barney.
Grom- A grommet is a young child surfer, usually full of stoke!
Men in the Grey Suits- Sharks. Despite popular belief, they are not really a direct hazard of surfing. For the most part they couldn’t care less about you. More surfers every year have life threatening Jellyfish stings every year. Mosquitos are the most deadly animal on the planet.
EPIC- As good as it gets.
Stoke- The euphoric feeling a surfer has after a great wave!