English surfing slang you should know

The culture of surfing has been existing for thousand of years as this kind of sport is regarded as the oldest one in the world. Needless to say, for all this time, surfing culture has been developing and today many languages have their own surfing slang. Certainly, English is a perfect example of such a language as this is lingua franca of the world and, according to many experts of surfing, this sports as we know it today started in California, the USA even though the origin of surfing was Hawaii.

For that reason, you might be curious to learn common terms used by surfers in English. This article will help you to expand you surfing vocabulary in English.


You might have come across a word surfaris or a phrase “surf safaris”. These terms are equal and they mean a trip which is usually taken during a weekend by a group of surfers who are travelling along a coast making stops for surfing at different spots.

The first place where people created the culture of surfaris was California, however, many other locations of the world will provide you with an opportunity to enjoy surfaris as well.

Hang eleven

One of the least obvious terms used by surfers is “hang eleven”. Actually, this phrase is used for calling a specific surfing session performed by a naked male surfer.


Of course, if you are a real devotee of surfing, you should also know the name of this sport in Hawaiian as Hawaii was the place where surfing was developed. The Hawaiian word for surfing is he’enalu. This word literally means wave sliding.

Neptune Cocktail

If you happen to gulp some of seawater unintentionally during a wipeout, this unpleasant experience can be called Neptune Cocktail.


Sometimes, you might come across hodads on the coastlines. These are people who are trying to appear as surfers, albeit in the reality, they are not.


According to the surfing spelling, a barney is a surfer who lacks experience or just a person who needs to practice surfing more.


Benny is a term which is quite similar to barney, although it has a different meaning. A barney is a surfer who is not local.

Tube or barrel

A tube and a barrel are two synonyms of a specifically enjoyable surfing experience when the breaking of a wave makes it hollow.

Beach leach

You can also come across a term of a beach leach who is a person coming to surf without once board wax or own equipment and has to borrow the ones from someone else.

Drop in

Pay a particular attention to the term to drop in when it comes to the surfing slang. This is one of the most unwanted things to do while surfing as it literally means to steal a wave. As you can imagine, it can happen when one is already riding a wave and another person is getting to it as well.

Men in grey suits

The mysterious men in grey suits are actually the ones whom you do not want to meet by any means as the term stands for sharks.


Pipelines are waves which are particularly popular with tourists. This term is especially used with waves which are photographed more often.

Tidal bores

A tidal bore is a special term which is used for some rivers which have a unique feature of creating a backflow at particular times of the year. This extra flow creates tides which allows surfers to enjoy their favourite activity on the rivers.