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75+ Gnarly Surfing Phrases Surfers Say

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“Whoooaaa!” “Dude!” “Hawwwww!”—these are some of the most common phrases you’ll hear if you spend any time around surfers. And with good reason: These guys and gals spend a lot of time in the water, and they have history with some pretty gnarly waves.

But, as they say, the more you surf, the more you realize that the board is just the vehicle for the fun. With that in mind, here are some things surfers say.


To be a surfer, you need to know some popular surfing slangs. Here are 40+ surfing phrases, 20+ surfing slangs, and 15+ surfing quotes.

Popular Surfing Phrases

Here are the mostly popular phases you would likely hear surfers say:

  • It was sick.
  • It was pumping.
  • You should have been here yesterday.
  • It was unreal.
  • It was killer.
  • It was totally gnarly dude.
  • This place used to be empty.
  • Lawyers don’t surf.
  • We’re all long boarders now.
  • Dude, don’t drop in on me again.
  • Lawyers do surf
  • First it was closing out and unrideable, now it’s just too full. It sucks.
  • He rips.
  • Surfing has sold its soul.
  • The O’Neill Highland Open is totally core.
  • I’m stoked, totally stoked
  • If you’re having a bad day, catch a wave.
  • Home is where the waves are.
  • I’m surfing the giant life wave.
  • I’m stoked, totally stoked.
  • Dude, don’t drop in on me again.
  • It’s a zoo out there.
  • Enjoy life, one wave at a time.
Surfing has sold its soul - quotes

Awesome Surfing Quotes

Want some wise words from surfers? Here you go:

  • “Surfing is for life.” – Bruce Jenkins
  •  “Your surfing can get better on every turn, on every wave you catch. Learn to read the ocean better. A big part of my success has been wave knowledge.” – Kelly Slater
  • “Surfing is the most blissful experience you can have on this planet, a taste of heaven.” – John McCarthy
  • “If in doubt, paddle out.” – Nat Young
  • “Out of the water, I am nothing.” – Duke Kahanamoku
  • “It’s like the mafia. Once you’re in – your in. There’s no getting out.” – Kelly Slater
  • “The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun.” – Phil Edwards
  • “Surfing is very much like making love. It always feels good, no matter how many times you’ve done it.” – Paul Strauch
  • “When the surfs up, your life is too” – Wilhelm Sverdvik
  • “I think when a surfer becomes a surfer, it’s almost like an obligation to be an environmentalist at the same time.” – Kelly Slater
  • “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” – John Kabat-Zinn
  • “You can take a surfer out of the surf, but you can not take surf out of surfer.” – Bob McTavish
  •  “If you’re having a bad day, catch a wave.” – Frosty Hesson
  • “There is not one right way to ride a wave.” – Jamie O’Brien
  • “We’re all equal before a wave.” – Laird Hamilton
  • “Live to surf, surf to live.” – Mike Doyle
  • “Surfing is almost a way to fly.” – Jeff Hakman
  • “The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun.” – Phil Edwards
The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun - Quotes

More Surfing Phrases

Here are more phrases by surfers:

  • Lawyers don’t surf.
  • Never drive away from good surf.
  • My passion for surfing was more than my fear of sharks.
  • Live slow, surf fast.
  • Surfing is like life.
  • Surfing is for life.
  • The rule of surfing is never tell anyone where you go.
  • Every wave and every day are different.
  • Surf and feel your life be changed forever.
  • Ridin’ the wave until the grave.
  • Surfing is attitude dancing.
  • Surfing has sold its soul.
  • When the surfs up, your life is too.
  • We’re all equal before a wave.
  • Here is a look at the history of surfing to the modern day sport.
  • You cannot stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.
  • Three most important things in life, surf, surf and surf.
  • The tide is high so don’t be shy.
  • We love the motion of the ocean.
  • Waves are toys from God.
My passion for surfing was more than my fear of sharks - Quotes

Surfing Words/Slangs and Their Meanings

If you meet a surfer, you would likely hear some strange words. Here are some surfing slangs and what they mean:

  • A-frame – A wave that has the shape of a peak that breaks towards the left and right directions equally
  • Aggro – Aggressive surfing/surfer
  • Amped – Pumped up feeling excited,
  • Akaw – Awesome, cool
  • 360 – A surf move that consists of turning the surfboard at 360-degrees while on the surface of a wave
  • Air or Aerial – It is a move in which the surfboard leaves the surface of the wave
  • Bailing – Jumping off from your surfboard into the water to avoid a bad occurrence
  • Crease– Damage brought to the surfboard by an impact
  • Clucked – Describing someone that is scared of waves
  • Curl – The part of the wave in which it is breaking
  • Backdoor – Going inside a barrel. It is also known as “curl of the wave”.
  • Ankle busters – They are waves which are too little to ride on.
  • Barney – A surfer that is not cool or a rookie.
  • Cutback – A kind of surf move that is done sharply in the wave to get back on a surf line
  • Deck – The top face of a surfboard
  • Dawn patrol – Going surfing the first thing in the morning
  • Maxed out – Waves too big to break without closing out
  • Making the drop – Catching waves and sitting on the lower area of shoulder of the wave
  • Nose riding – A longboarding move that the person stands on the nose of the surfboard
  • Men in grey suits – Refers to sharks
  • Offshore – Winds that blow from the shore towards the sea