Lindy Taverner

Surf speak translated

2011-05-19 10:25
Sport24 columnist Lindy Taverner (File)
Lindy Taverner

The J-Bay Billabong Pro coming up July 14, so I’ve done a few translations to improve your ‘street cred’ if you’re a mere civilian...

A grom or grommet is a young surfer and sic or sick is a descriptive word for something impressive, cool or thrilling... probably words you’ve heard before.

Stick is a slang word for a surfboard and the rails are the sides of the board. The rocker generally refers to the bottom curve of a surfboard from the tail to the nose, more visible as the horizontal up-turn of the nose of the board. Flatter or more curved rockers give the boards different performance capabilities.

Serious surfers tend to have a large quiver or collection of boards to suit different surf conditions. A gun is a long and thin surfboard ranging from 6 to 10 foot, used for big-wave riding. The name derives from the term "elephant gun", and means the board is the surfers' gun for hunting down giant surf.

A point break is a wave that breaks onto a rocky point and the impact zone is the spot where the waves are actually breaking. The white foam of the broken wave is the soup and mushy describes slow, sloppy, powerless and unpopular waves.

The barrel is where the wave is hollow (extremely concave and curling) when it is breaking. A surfers life mission is to ride in the barrel, otherwise known as the tube or green room. The green refers to the colour the wall of the wave, with the light shining through from behind the breaking wave. Getting shacked is the newer, cooler word...

The lip is the top of the face of the wave which usually curls forward a bit and the pocket is the arc beneath the cresting lip of the wave. The face is the part of the wave where the lip begins to curl overhead and the pit is the place directly in front of the crest of the wave… the bit you land face first in when you wipe-out!

A bowl is the shallow spot in the path of the wave that causes the wave to break a little harder and being caught inside is when you’re stuck on the shore-side of a breaking wave  and going to take it on the head!

The line-up is the place in the water just outside of where the wave breaks where surfers wait to catch a wave.
To snake or steal a wave by dropping or cutting in front of someone else of the wave when they are closer to the breaking point than you,  is punishable by death in some parts of world...

A clean-up-wave breaks outside of the line-up and dumps on the entire line-up. A close out is a condition where waves break across a normally safe channel rendering a surf spot unridable because surfers can't paddle out to the line-up. Dumping is a similar scenario where a wave breaks in big sections making it un-surfable.

New School describes the modern style of performing tricks. Check out the moves of surf freak Jordy Smith, SA’s top surfer and ranked second in the world.

Carving means turning the board on or through waves.  A bottom turn is made at the base of the wave when coming down off the face of the wave and an air is achieved after a good bottom turn with lots of speed, head up the face, off the lip and into the sky. Ripping is executing drastic and radical manoeuvres on the wave.        
A cut-back is a 180° turn that's done on either of the two rails of the surfboard, basically reversing the direction that you are surfing in, and a drop is the initial downward slide on the face of the wave after taking off and before the bottom. A slash describes a rapid turn off the top or lip of the wave, usually throwing up loads of spray.

Tailslide is a surf manoeuvre where the surfer allows the tail of their board to slide across the lip of the wave, usually with the fins out of the water. The top turn is similar to the re-entry, but the approach is less vertical and performed to gain speed. The layback involves literally laying backwards on a wave… a difficult trick to execute!

To get pitched means tossed off the lip (top) of the wave and usually off the board, and to get worked is to wipe-out and then get thrown around under water while being held life-threateningly under by the force of the wave.

But it’s still all worth it for the surfers out there. Stoked describes an awesome ride and elated state of mind. TheBOMBsurf, SA’s leading surf magazine and website aptly sum it up with the words, “spread the stoke”, meaning “spread the love of surf”.

Next week I’ll detour into Big Wave Surfing as I have been slowly ticking off my list the big guns in surfing in my search for SA’s most hardcore extreme athlete, and these guys are coming out ahead...

Lindy Taverner is the editor of the RUSH magazine that was based in the Eastern Cape and recently relocated to Cape Town. Previous issues and updated extreme sport news can be found on her site

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.


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