BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

16 October 2014
Wales Surfing

BBC Homepage
Wales Home

Contact Us

surfer on a shortboard - Getty Images

Surf Craft

Surfing lingo explained. This section is dedicated to all the different types of surf craft out there...

bodyboard - aka boogie boards, sponge, lid, ankle biter, speed bump, esky.

bonzer - in Australia, bonzer is equivalent slang for "Bitchin". The term was adopted by the Campbell Brothers of Southern California in the 70's for their 5 fin surf board.

Cant - angling the outside fins toward the rail so that the inner angle is 90 degrees + some number. Cant really puts the fin in a place where it needs to be. When you are doing a bottom turn, the inside fin is angled more toward the rail and is in a better position to hold the board in.This makes the board handle better on its rails.

concave - soft indentation running lengthways on the bottom of a board, believed to create lift.

ding - Dent or damage to the board caused by your board hitting something harder than the fibre glass!

down rail - the deck curves down to meet the flat bottom at a hard edge.

egg - refers to the slow rounded shape of a nose, tail or rail.

shortboard - shortboards are the most common, they range in length from 5' to 7'6", and tend to be used for high-performance contest-style surfing. Shortboards usually have pointed noses and three fins, although other configurations are common. A shortboard sacrifices paddling and floatation for the sake of performance.

fun board - mid size board designed for ease of ride in small conditions.

fish - retro 70's short board with added width and thickness, designed to improve wave catching capability while maintaining performance, great for small conditions.

flick nose - an increase in the rate of rocker near the nose.

gun - a board for big waves they are long, narrow, and pointy both at the nose and the tail for maximum rail contact. Usually thick and heavy and ranging in length from 7'to 10'
aka "elephant gun", "rhino chaser" so named because you take it with you when you are hunting big game...

hard rail - sharper edge to grab a wave.

hybrid - hybrids range from 7'-9' and attempt to give some of the floatation and paddling of a longboard as well as the performance of a shortboard.

kneeboard - aka kneelo, used with fins and knelt on.

log or stick - slang for surf board e.g. "He shred so bad he bust his stick!"

longboard - longboards are usually over 9' in length. Because of their size they are easier to paddle and get into waves sooner. On the downside, they are less manoeuvrable and can get pretty unwieldy in steep waves.

mal - a longboard in most places except America.

mini-mal - mid size board with longboard characteristics.

leash - a line attaching the board to the riders ankle (shortboard), calf just below the knee (longboard) or wrist (bodyboard). Modern leashes have little elastic property, in line swivels to stop fouling, and optional quick release pins at the ankle.

paipoboard - Hawaiian wooden bodyboard, modified in 1971 by Tom Morey to ride dangerous shallow reefs safely. Lay down and kick with swim-fins.

pin tail - pointed tail, aids in stability of board

quad - four fin board, two normal size fins with two smaller fins in line behind them.

rail - side edge of a board.

reverse "V' - hard chine protruding ridge running lengthways on the bottom of a board.

rocker - the arc of the tail that bends up, more rocker = easier turning & less speed.

skimboards - glassed plywood disc or oval for riding shallow beaches on the waters' edge.... run - throw it down - hop on.

soft rail - rounder edge so the board is looser.

spoon - concave in the underside nose of a longboard. Increases lift for nose riding.

square tail - with the introduction of multi fins, it became a advantageous to loosen the board up with a clean profile tail design.

squash tail - wide, rounded tail, introduced after the advent of advanced fin systems to loosen the board up.

swallow tail - double pointed tail with an indentation in the center. Functional on single fin boards to aid in the holding characteristics of the board.

tail kick - an increase in the rate of rocker near the tail.

thruster - three similar size fins.

toe in - pushing the front of the fins in, for some boards they would put the toe in such that a string from the nose of the board to the fin was the alignment for the fins--toe-in. Of course this represents a lot of toe-in! Toe-in causes pressure on the outside of the fins to be greater than on the inside, ie. making the board want to swivel to either side with little surfer input, thus eliminating tracking on the earlier twin fins, and making for a looser more responsive board.

tri fin - three fin board, one large and two smaller fins.

twin - two fin board

twinzer - four fin board, two normal size fins with two smaller fins mirrored a few inches outside and forward of them.



Shane, Cornwall
Grom - Learner but knows it all and gets in the way

em from san diego
logs are old school longboards that are really long and sometimes are paddled w/oars

Peter from Australia
The term "looser" is new since my surfing days of a couple decades ago. Presumably it means easier to turn? P

Niall lewicki from stephens frascott park
orphan - a radical manouver

Share your surf lingo - what have we missed?

The BBC reserves the right to select and edit comments. To submit a larger contribution or if you require a response please contact us.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy