How Well Do You Know Surfing Slang?

By: John Miller
Estimated Completion Time
3 min
How Well Do You Know Surfing Slang?
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

"Cowabunga, dude! Surf's up! Grab your twin fin and get stoked, we'll be part of the dawn patrol tomorrow!" Surfing is an entire subculture -- do you really know much about surfer slang?
Surfing in the Pacific ocean
John Seaton Callahan
What is a "kick out"?
A novice surfer
A type of surfboard
A finishing move
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

If you "kick out," it means that you're turning back over the top lip of the wave at the end of your ride. It's a controlled end to what was hopefully a good wave.

Falling Backwards
├é┬ęStudio One-One
If you're about to wipe out on a big wave, what do you do?
Fingerpaint
Bail
Call 911
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Don't let those big waves take you down! You gotta bail so that you can collect your board, your bearings and then try again.

Surfer
Yew! Images
A "bomb" refers to which aspect of surfing?
The surface of the water
A big wave
A surfboard with an integrated self-destruct mechanism
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A bomb is a really big wave. "Grab your boogie board, dude, we've got a bomb coming in!"

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Surfer
Yew! Images
If you perform a turn on top of a wave, what are you doing?
Carving
Copping
Clapping
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Turning on a wave is "carving." The best surfers can skillfully carve their way through waves of all shapes and sizes.

Surfer on wave at sunset
Stanislaw Pytel
If you perform a "cutback," what did you do?
Reversed the direction of your surfboard
Got a really cool surfer haircut
Sold your board for a very low price
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A "cutback" means to cut back the way you came, in other words, reversing the direction of your board. Novice surfers typically struggle with this maneuver.

Huge wave
Yoann JEZEQUEL Photography
True or false: Is it a good thing to be caught in a "washing machine"?
True
False
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

If you wipe out and wind up caught in a breaking wave, you'll feel like you're stuck inside a washing machine. In some cases, this can be a downright terrifying event.

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Surfer Riding a Wave
Photo by Joel Sharpe
What is the "barrel"?
Ocean debris
The underside of the surfboard
The curl or tube of a breaking wave
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The barrel is the inside tube of a big, breaking wave. Skilled surfers can ride right through the heart of the barrel without stopping or wiping out.

Surfer dives beneath a wave
Matt Porteous
What's most likely to be "cranking"?
That hot surfer girl
The waves
The tequila
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

When the waves are "cranking," they are great surfing waves that are rolling in with regularity. It's a good time to be out there.

Adie Bush
Man sitting on surfboard in the water
What's your likely reaction to another surfer who is being "aggro"?
You'll ask for his autograph.
You'll be aggravated.
You'll try to kiss him.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Aggro" means aggressive or perhaps even outright rude on the waves. No one really likes the aggro guy.

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A surfer heading out from San Francisco's Ocean Beach at sunset
Gregory Adams
Who goes on the "dawn patrol"?
Only surfers dressed in bikinis
The police
The earliest surfers of the day
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The dawn patrol refers to the surfers who are so excited that they start surfing right at sunrise. If you're part of the dawn patrol, you know that you're truly hooked on surfing.

man surfing rolling wave
Yew! Images
What's the purpose of a "turtle roll"?
To roll over and over again in the washing machine
To duck through a breaking wave
To eat raw turtles at the beach
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Surfers on long surfboards paddling out away from shore often must duck past breaking waves. They may grab the rails of the board and turn upside down to push efficiently through the wave.

Ocean waters with surfers
Vicki Smith
What's the definition of a "wave hog"?
A fellow surfer who won't share a wave
A pig that can surf
A wave that won't break
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Wave hogs are the aggro dudes who refuse to share a wave. They are the bane of courteous surfers everywhere.

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Surfing in the Caribbean Sea
John Seaton Callahan
What do you do with the "deck"?
You smash it
You eat it
You stand on it
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The deck is the standing surface on your surfboard. If you can't identify the deck of your board, you probably shouldn't take up surfing.

Two Surfers riding waves
Jill Ferry
What's a "party wave"?
A wave that several people are riding
A wave that happens during bioluminescent surf
A wave that happens on a holiday
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A party wave is a wave that numerous people are riding at the same time. A crowded wave can be fun, so long as people are careful not to run into each other.

Surfer
Catherine Ledner
What's the term for falling off your board while surfing?
Wax on
Wipeout
Wallaby knocker
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Wipeout" is one of surfing's most famous slang terms. It means that you've fallen off of your board while surfing, perhaps in a spectacular manner.

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Surfing in the Mentawai Islands
John Seaton Callahan
What's an "overhead" wave?
A wave that's taller than a standing surfer
A wave that happens only in Hawaii
A wave that drowns several people at once
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

An overhead wave is a big wave -- one that's taller than a surfer standing on his or her board. Good surfers love big overhead waves.

Surfing sunflare
Paul McGee
A "fish" board is good for which type of waves?
The biggest waves on the planet
Smaller waves
Hurricane waves
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Fish" surfboards are smaller, shorter and thicker boards. Their size and shape make them ideal for surfing smaller waves.

man surfing
Alistair Berg
What's a term for poor-quality waves?
Mush
Nug
Dusty
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Slow, low-quality waves that won't work for surfing are called "mush." Forget the mushy waves, dude, you may as well go home for the day.

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Female surfer paddling at sunrise
Specker/Vedfelt
If you mention "ankle busters," to what are you referring?
Small waves
Drunk surfers
Rampaging toddlers on the beach
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Ankle busters are small waves. They're hardly worth even trying to surf.

Surfers
Alistair Berg
What's a "booger"?
A piece of nose debris
A body board
A small surfer
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A "booger" is a body board, a small surfboard that's also called a boogie board. Many surfers look down on people who opt for boogers instead of full-sized surfboards.

Sunset at Uluwatu
John Seaton Callahan
What's the purpose of a "leash"?
To keep your dog on the board
To attach the surfboard to the surfer
To prevent drowning
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Leashes are common for many surfers -- they use a length of rope to attach the board to the surfer. Leashes can save surfers a lot of time and energy they'd otherwise expend trying to catch up to a board after a wipeout.

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Surfer with surfboard looking out to sea at dusk
Dougal Waters
What's a term for someone who doesn't surf, instead opting for safer areas near the shore?
Fluffyface
Paddlepuss
Snugglefoot
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A "paddlepuss" is the person who seems really leery of this whole "surfing" thing, instead preferring to mess around in the shallow areas where there are no waves. They aren't generally the most popular guys on the beach.

Surfer girl
Created by MaryAnne Nelson
The "rails" refer to which aspect of surfing?
The sides of the surfboard
The seafloor
The edges of waves
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The rails are the sides of the surfboard. All surfers spend a lot of time gripping the rails in anticipation of a big wave.

Surfer duck diving
subman
If you're really tired from surfing, you probably have ______.
Noodle arms
Noodle nose
Fettuccini feet
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Surfing is a physical sport, and you have to paddle a lot with your arms. You'll get noodle arms if you surf all day.

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Surfing in the Indian Ocean
John Seaton Callahan
What's another way of saying that you wiped out?
You poached it
You ate it
You slammed it
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Oh, dude, check out Randy, he's hanging ten! Oh wait, no, he ate it. Ouch, that had to hurt." If you "eat it," you wiped out.

Ocean Wave at Waimea Bay
John Seaton Callahan
What would you do with a "gun"?
Shoot people who spoil great waves
Scare away hodads
Ride big waves
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

You save your gun for the really big waves. A "gun" is a surfboard that's the right size for tackling the biggest and most powerful surf.

Surfer standing on rock
Stanislaw Pytel
What's another name for a surfboard?
Forest
Stick
Plinker
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Surfers usually just called them "boards." But sometimes they'll call their surfboards "sticks."

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Aerial Viewpoint of a bright sunrise and deep blue ocean waters with people surfing
Vicki Smith
True or false: Is it a good thing if someone calls you a "kook"?
True
False
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

You definitely don't want to be the kook on the beach. The kook is the surfer who breaks rules of etiquette and who probably tries too hard to look cool ... while failing miserably at surfing in general.

Surfer paddling with surfboard
Yoshiyoshi Hirokawa
What's a "hodad"?
A tiny wave
The best surfer on the beach
Someone who annoys other surfers
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A hodad is a person who stands around on the beach, typically not surfing at all but still managing to annoy people who want to enjoy the waves. In other walks of life, they'd be called posers.

Huge Wave Surfing
rhyman007
What's a surfing slang term for a shark?
Noah
Happy
Jaws
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

If a "Noah" is hanging out near the beach, your surfing session might be over. No one wants to deal with a shark.

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You Got:
/30
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