Just like Eskimos have many different words for snow, surfers have always had different terminology for waves and conditions. In recent years the women’s surfing industry has begun developing its own language, and Roxy is pioneering the move to get the dialect recognised by the United Nations. It means more people will understand the language of ‘salty kisses’, ‘manifesting abundance’, ‘finding your passion’ and, wait for it, ‘live your truth’. The following list of lingo is by no means exhaustive, so please feel free to add to it….
sista – Unless we share a parent we are not siblings. And you can’t spell
bro – see above
dude – marginally better than bro
bliss – overused. End of.
flow – as in ‘just go with the flow’. My reaction to this is a two-word phrase which begins with the letter ‘f’ and ends with the letter ‘f’
believe / manifest – not today, but thanks for asking
badass – only if you were in an 80s female rap band. Or if you lost blood, or a tooth
Journey – Or sometimes referred to as ‘your path’. Three words come to mind here: ‘no’, ‘thank’ and ‘you’.
gnarly – Dinasours were gnarly. If you say the waves are ‘gnarly’ you’re just going to sound naff.
mermaids – just stop it now. They don’t exist. See also ‘goddesses’
Intention – When anyone asks me to set an ‘intention’, my intention is always to punch the person who mentioned that word
Be present – Don’t worry I’m here and I’m not planning on going anywhere else unless you’ve got a tardis.
Energy – Usually referred to as in ‘feel the energy of the wave’. See below.
Sweet spot – Euuchhh, sounds too sexual, especially when male surf instructors are teaching Nordic female students. Just put your weight on the middle of the board.
Relax – but it’s hard to relax when you’re learning to surf and there are 6 foot walls of water towering over you and you’re about to lose your bikini top.
Life-changing – births, marriages and deaths are life-changing. Standing up on a surfboard usually isn’t.
surf goddess – Only if you have supernatural powers and attributes and were born in the 17th century.
Gratitude – if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that word this year…..
Sanctuary / haven – that just sounds douchey
Abundance – usually used by people with a trust fund, or a rich spouse
Chia – pronounced CHEE-aahhh. Very popular amongst the savvy surf set. The WSL announced that 2015 was the International Year of Chia, and it’s now as mainstream as rice.
Pre-surf yoga stretches – Anyone would think it’s illegal to enter the ocean with a surfboard unless you’ve done the obligatory yoga stretches. Listen up people, you don’t have to be a yoga master to enjoy surfing
Boutique hotel – Surf camps often announce that they’re based at a ’boutique’ hotel, which makes it sounds like they’re located in a high-end store selling handbags and floaty dresses. If it’s based at a small, independent hotel just say that.
Feel the energy of the wave – are you referring to that thing that thing that just exploded all around me and smashed me on the bottom of the seabed? Yeah, I felt it.
Nourish – I’ll just take the burger and fries
Frothing – Actually frothing is ok, even if does provoke images of rabid dogs
Mellow waves – What’s mellow for one surfer might not be mellow for the next surfer. The exception is the summer in UK when the waves are so mellow that they are flat most of the time.
Detox – Shun anyone who suggests you go on a surf and detox retreat. After surfing is the only time you can with immunity scoff down 5 donuts. I find urinating in my toilet is a great way to detox, and it costs $0.
Pamper – do I bring my poodle dog?
Surrender – will the police be at the retreat?
Paradise – surf, sand and sun, what could be better? But Utopia can have a dark underside, especially the exploitation of third world employees. Please remember to tip the maid, server and taxi driver.
Doing a busdriver – this is actually my favourite piece of surfing slang and I wanted to end this piece on a positive note. A surfer does a busdriver when he or she rides down the face of the wave whilst still on the stomach, not on the feet. The surfer then attempts to popup in the trough of the wave. Even if they do manage to pull this off they still look like a total pratt. When I get better at this blogging malarkey I will attach a video of me perfectly performing the busdriver at Las Flores, El Salvador.
Poo head – Just one last piece of great surfing lingo. A poo head is a surfer who surfs a lot in a wetsuit. They have a white body and a brown tanned face. It works best if you shout at them “hey poo head, poo head … did you stick your head in some poo?”
Important side note: I got the idea for this blog post when I read the blog post ‘words we loathe and abhor’ at the hugely awesome site http://recoveringyogi.com I shamelessly stole the idea and applied it to surfing, so check out their smart and sassy site.