Surfing Dictionary A-B 
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A
Acetone

Flammable, volatile, toxic chemical solvent used to clean polyester resin from tools, etc.

Aerial
Complex small-wave maneuver in which both surfer and board launch into the air off the top of a wave, before dropping back down into the same wave. The surfer often grabs a rail of the surfboard for stability and to control the surfboard's rotation in the move. Originated from skateboarding. Surfing A-Z

A-frame
A peak-shaped wave, with left and right shoulders, and the highest point of the crest in the middle of the peak.

A peak-shaped wave, with left and right shoulders, and the highest point of the crest in the middle of the peak.


Airbrush
The tool used by an artist to spray color onto a surfboard. The airbrush is powered by compressor and sprays paint from a container (usually screwed or otherwise attached to the airbrush) out through a thin nozzle in a manner similar to an aerosol spray can. Surfing A-Z

Alaia
A type of surfboard, made of wood and usually around six feet in length, used by Hawaiian commoners to surf prior to the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in the late 19th century.

Aloha
Hawaiian word used as a greeting, a send-off, a sign of affection and/or a wish for good fortune or mercy. For more see Surfing A-Z

Angling
Original step toward performance in surfing. Refers to a surfer's riding across the wave face at an angle to the shoreline, rather than riding straight toward the beach.

Original step toward performance in surfing. Refers to a surfer's riding across the wave face at an angle to the shoreline, rather than riding straight toward the beach.


Artificial Reef
An underwater structure man-made for one or more reasons: 1) aiding ailing ocean ecologies by giving sea fauna a home/feeding ground or 2) creating quality surf where there's otherwise none or 3) helping with beach erosion by lessening impact of swells pushing sand away from shore. For more see Surfing A-Z


Asymmetrical zippers
Wetsuit zippers with staggered teeth, invented to keep a tighter seal and let less water in. Common in newer zippered suits.

Atmospheric pressure
The air pressure or force exerted on the Earth's surface caused by the weight of the air above, usually between 950 - 1050 millibars at sea level. Air pressure is also measured to indicate the presence and movement of weather producing high and low pressure systems.

Axe/axed
A heavy wipeout, usually involving the wave's lip impacting directly on a surfer. Also called drilled, pummeled, etc.

A peak-shaped wave, with left and right shoulders, and the highest point of the crest in the middle of the peak. Original step toward performance in surfing. Refers to a surfer's riding across the wave face at an angle to the shoreline, rather than riding straight toward the beach.


  
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B
Backdoor
(verb) The act of taking off deep behind the peak or a section on a hollow wave, and surfing through the barrel or tube of the wave to the other side of the peak. (Also a proper noun: the short intense right peeling off the reverse side of Pipeline in Hawaii.)

Backing off
The action of a wave as it passes from shallow water into deeper water closer to shore. The wave becomes less steep, or the broken whitewater fades away. Tends to occur shoreward of offshore reefs or sandbars. The wave may reform and break again in even shallower water closer to shore.

(verb) The act of taking off deep behind the peak or a section on a hollow wave, and surfing through the barrel or tube of the wave to the other side of the peak. (Also a proper noun: the short intense right peeling off the reverse side of Pipeline in Hawaii.)

Backside
Surfing with your back to the wave, a goofyfoot going right, or a regularfoot going left. (Also called 'backhand'.)

Backwash
A reflected wave, caused by water pushed up onto a steep grade of beach, which then rushes back out to sea against the general wave movement. This can create spectacular explosive wave effects, as the backwash and incoming waves collide.

Bail,Bail out
To abandon or ditch one's surfboard before getting wiped out by the wave, either paddling out, or while riding the wave.

Balsa
Light, porous wood used through the 1940s and 50s as a key core material for surfboard manufacture. Balsa grows only in Ecuador and must be imported to the USA; it became popular when laminating techniques allowed surfboard cores to be sealed from contact with water. By the early 1960s it had been largely replaced by polyurethane foam, but is still used for some big wave guns and collector pieces.

Bamboo
Can be used in thin laminar sheets as a replacement for fiberglass in the surfboard manufacturing process; i.e., Bamboo Surfboards Australia.

Barrel
The space inside a breaking wave between the lip and face. A surfer may be completely hidden from view during a barrel ride, especially from shore. One of the most difficult, best and most enjoyable acts in surfing, but often very difficult to complete due to changing variations in every different wave. Another name for tube.

Bathymetry
The measurement of depths of water in oceans, seas, and lakes. The topography of the ocean floor or underwater bottom.

Beach break
Waves breaking over a sand bottom.

Beavertail
Early wetsuit design in the '70s with a large flap affixed to the suit's lower back, wrapped under the crotch and secured in front. Designed to hold the suit in place, the innovation didn't really work and surfers took to letting the slab dangle. (Hence the term, "tail".)

Blank
The original block of foam used to shape a surfboard. A blank often comes from a pre-shaped mold with a basic outline and rocker depending on the length and type surfboard being shaped. Usually made from polyurethane foam.

Blindstitched
Seam that's glued together, then sewn halfway through the material so you don't see the stitching on the other side; generally on higher-end suits and considered flexible, fairly watertight and durable.

Blown out
A surf condition caused by strong onshore winds, which create ugly chop on the wave faces and through the lineup. Generally considered unridable.

Bodyboard
A small soft foam board used primarily with swim fins, and ridden prone (occasionally drop knee). Originated with the Morey Boogie-board invented by Tom Morey in the 70's. Surfing A-Z

Bodyboarder
One who rides waves lying down on a bodyboard. Often beginners, although some bodyboarders, like Hawaii's Mike Stewart, are considered among the best surfers in the world. Surfing A-Z

Bodysurf
The act of catching waves by swimming without a board. The most original form of surfing. In shallow water bodysurfers can push off the bottom, but usually need swim-fins to catch waves in deep water.

Bomb
Bomb-A very large wave, well beyond the session's normal wave size.

Bombora
Australian term for big waves breaking further out and isolated by deep water. Also called bombie or cloudbreak.

Bonzer
A surfboard design first invented by the Campbell brothers, Duncan and Malcolm, in 1971. Forerunner of today's popular single-to-double concave bottom shape.

Bottom
Bottom-The underside of a surfboard.

Bottom Curve
(see rocker) .

Bottom Turn
 A turn made at the bottom of a wave, following the drop down the wave face. Often (but not always) the first real move of a ride, a bottom turn is a sweeping, powerful move that enables the surfer to establish speed and direction for the ride. The bottom turn also establishes or re-sets the rhythm of turns to be completed during the course of the ride. Probably the most important turn in surfing as it sets up all other maneuvers. Surfing A-Z

Bowl
 A section of a given wave in which the line of the wave bends, or appears to bend, toward the shore. The bend creates added intensity, often causing the wave to build into a peak, or grow hollower or steeper throughout its general curve. Nicknamed "bowl" because the wave suddenly becomes concave from a variety of angles, not just from the base or lip.

Break Line
The line where waves begin to break. All things being equal, waves will begin to break when they reach water depth equaling approximately 1.3 times the wave face height.

Breaking
Breaking-When a wave passes from deep water to shallow water it steepens as the wave energy is forced upward. We call this "shoaling". With increasing steepness, the wave face finally becomes too unstable and the crest or top part of the wave tumbles or "breaks" down the face of the wave.

Broken up
 A surf condition in which waves approach the beach and break apart into different peaks/lines with a clear separation between the ridable shoulders. This is usually caused by two swells from different directions and or periods overlapping the same break. Also called "scattered peaks".

Buckle
(see crease) .

Bumpy
Bumps on the ocean surface created by wind, usually between 6-10 knots in velocity. Definitely not clean but not choppy or blown out either.

Buoy
A floating object moored to the bottom of the ocean to mark a channel, anchor, shoal, rock, etc. Buoys with sensitive meteorological and oceanographic instruments are also moored in deep-water locations to measure wind, weather, and wave information. This information is used to help forecasters monitor the progress of swells as they pass the buoy location.