How to Sound Like a Maui Surfer

maui surfers

Surfing has its own culture – its own way of life and even its own language. In this Hawaiian sport, a style of slang has developed that unites its members into a unique surfing community. So to be a part of this community of Maui surfers (or at least to understand what they’re talking about), you’ll need to know some of the basic Maui surfing verbiage. So check out the glossary of surfing terms below:

Air or catch air – a surfing maneuver where the surfer and his/her surfboard gets airborne.

Aloha – greetings/farewell , affection, peace. “Aloha Spirit” denotes a friendly, easy-going, accepting attitude.

Amped – excited, full of life, stoked

An Den (“AHN Dehn”) – Phrase meaning “What’s up?” or “How are you?”

Anglin’ – Turning left and/or right on a wave; surfing at an angle across a wave instead of surfing straight toward the beach.

Bail out – To jump off or get away from your surfboard before a potential wipe out.

Barrel – When the wave has a hollow channel or tube when it breaks and curls over.

Beach Break – A wave formed over sand or those that break across a sandy beach.

Braddah (“BRAH-dah”) – Brother

Brah – Surfer friend

Blown Out – When winds are blowing so hard that they chop up the surf and make it impossible to ride.

Carve/Carving – Making a radical turn on or through the wave.

Channel – A deep spot where waves don’t usually break.

Choke – a big amount of something, a lot.

Curl – The part of the wave that is spilling over and breaking.

Cut-out – To pull out of the wave.

Deck – The top-side of the surfboard, the side you stand on.

Drop in – To cut in on another surfer’s wave. Not good surfing etiquette.

Duck Dive – Diving underneath the waves to get past breaking waves easier and faster.

Eat it – To fall off your board or wipe-out.

Face – The almost vertical front portion or surface of a wave where the wave begins to curl overhead.

Goofy-Foot – Riding the surfboard with your right foot as the lead foot.

Gun – A long surfboard made for riding big waves.

Haole (“How-lee”) – A native Hawaiian term for foreigner or Caucasian.

Kook – A beginning surfer who gets in the way or into trouble because of ignorance, or a wannabe who pretends to look the part but can’t surf.

Line-up – The place in the water beyond where the waves break where surfers wait to catch their next wave.

Lip – The top of the face of the wave.

Offshore Winds – When the wind is blowing off the shore, good surfing conditions.

Point Break – A wave that breaks on a rocky point.

Rail – The sides of the surfboard.

Reef Break – Waves that break over a coral reef.

Set – A group of waves. Larger waves will travel in 4 to 6 wave sets.

Snaking – To go around or behind another surfer who has the right-of-way on a breaking wave to get into a better position to catch their wave, forcing them to change direction and miss the wave. Cutting them off. Not good surfing etiquette.

Soup – The foamy or white water part of a broken wave.

Swell – Unbroken waves that move in groups with similar heights and frequency.

Tube – The part of the wave when the crest spills over the hollow barrel making a tunnel or pip-shaped wave; also Green Room or Barrel.


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