The basic vocabulary for surf beginners

Nov 26th, 2015

Category: Learn to surf

The basic vocabulary for surf beginners

If you want to learn how to surf it goes a lot easier when you master it’s ‘slang’ or surf specific vocabulary. Like every other sport surfing has it’s own terms and you will learn a lot faster if you understand what your instructor or fellow surfers mean :) So let’s start with a small dictionary explaining the most basic terms used in surfing:

Choppy:  The ocean is messed up, chaotic, usually caused by the wind
Glassy: This is ultra-clean surf without a ripple that often looks like glass.
Flat: There are no waves, the ocean is flat.
Spot: A place where waves are breaking you can surf
Line up: The line up is the place just outside the breaking waves where surfers wait for their waves
Peak: The highest part of the wave, there where the wave starts to break
A left: A wave breaking from the right to the left (looking from the ocean to the shore)
A right: A wave breaking from the left to the right (looking from the ocean to the shore)
The wall: The part of the unbroken wave you can surf
Close out: A wave which is neither opening to the right nor to the left, it’s breaking everywhere at the same time.
Reef or reef break: Wave breaking over rocks or another hard surface
Beach break: Wave breaking over sandy underground
Wind off shore: the wind blowing from the beach direction ocean.
Wind on shore: the wind blowing from the ocean direction beach.
Party wave: A wave surfed by several people at once.
Goofy: Surfing with the right foot in front.
Regular: Surfing with the left foot in front.
Take off: The moment when you put the feet on the board after paddling.
Wipe out: an unexpected fall off a surfboard while surfing a wave
Shaper: A person who makes boards, usually by hand.
Local: a surfer who is from the area
Wax: a paraffin-based product which is applied to the surfboard deck to increase traction and reduce slippery

Up to here we have some vocabulary for beginners, over the next articles we will focus on more advanced terms. In our surf school in Fuerteventura we use a step by step teaching method, that will learn you to surf in your own rythm little by little, so there is no use in overloading you with information here. It’s all about having lots of fun when learning to surf!

Hope to see you soon in the water with us!
The Protest Surfcenter Team