Surfing and surfing terms go together like salt and water. Surfers have such a diverse lingo of colorful phrases that they almost have their own language of surfing terms.
- Radical. While this surfing term has (or had) entered the mainstream cultural lexicon, it has a more specific meaning to surfers. While in mainstream culture "radical" is simply is a synonym for "cool," as a surfing term it refers to an extreme surfing maneuver. If a surfer performs an especially notable feat, it may be referred to as "radical."
- Cutback. This is when a rider cuts back the way he or she has come from. It repositions the surfer so that he or she is back to the middle of the wave. This is an important part of surfing, because if a surfer does not cutback, she or he will fall out of position.
- Swell. This surfing term is when a series of waves do not break, due to a storm like a hurricane. The storm need not be local; swells can be produced in a far-off location. Swells happen mostly from summer to fall in the Southern Hemisphere and from fall to winter in the Northern Hemisphere.
- Take-off. A part of every surfing maneuver, a take-off is when a surfer first positions her or himself on the board. A take-off includes paddling toward a wave, grabbing on to the board, and standing up. Only when a surfer is standing on the board is she or he scored in a competition.
- Bottom Turn. Bottom turn is the first step after take-off. The surfer starts at the bottom of the wave to get momentum for a maneuver. It is during this part of the ride that a surfer chooses a direction.
- Down the line. This surfing term describes what a surfer sees as he or she looks down after a bottom turn. During this part of a ride, a surfer can see down the side of a wave. This can be a thrilling experience.
- Tube ride. This surfing term is when a surfer literally rides within the "tube" of a wave. From a viewer's standpoint, the surfer is completely out of view. The surfer feels like he or she is going through a tube or tunnel.
- Re-entry. After the surfer reaches the break of a wave, she or he has to change direction. He or she rides back into the wave in order to continue the maneuver. This surfing term basically means that the surfer moves back up the face of a wave vertically.
- Offshore. Winds that blow away from the shore are considered offshore winds. Offshore winds cause waves to hold up better, and make for a smooth ocean surface. These winds offer optimal surfing conditions.
- Onshore. Winds that blow toward the shore are considered onshore winds. These alter the backside of waves that are breaking. This alteration negatively affects surfing conditions.
Posted on: Jul. 13, 2010