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a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

A
aerial ("an air") – a maneuver in surfing where the rider launches into the air, then lands again.

air horn – compressed air canister that emits a sharp horn sound when activated, used in most surfing competitions to mark the beginning and end of heats.

airdrop – to fall through the air with your surfboard still under your feet.

Aloha – Hawaiian for "Greetings" or "Be well."

amped – to be energized or excited to do something.

'aumakua – in traditional Hawaiian culture, a personal family deity, such as a shark, sea-turtle, egret.

B
back – the back of a wave.

backwash – outward-moving currents that collide with incoming breakers, causing the breakers (and sometimes the riders) to get bucked upward.

Backdoor (Pipeline) – a wave that breaks to the right off the Pipeline peak.

barrel – the hollow cylinder at the heart of a wave, formed by the falling curl. (See also: tube)

barrel-roll – to circle upside-down inside the barrel of a wave—a common bodyboarding maneuver, but one that is rarely ever attempted and executed in stand-up surfing.

beef – to fight, in Pidgin English. "Like beef?" means: "Want to fight?"

Bermuda trunks – shorts (or a bathing suit) that extend down to the knees or lower.

Bertlemann (bert) slide – to fling your feet and board out 180 degrees while doing a semi-layback. Invented by Larry Bertlemann, who hails from the Big Island of Hawaii.

bodyboarding – riding the surf on a small rectangular board made of foam. Used to be called boogie boarding.

boil – an upwelling of water, usually over a reef, sometimes used by surfers to mark the takeoff spot on a wave.

bomb – a big wave, or a wave that is bigger than most during a particular surfing session.

bombie – common Australian usage, short for bombora. A bombie is a wave breaking far offshore, usually over a deep reef.

bottom drops out – a wave whose trough suddenly becomes radically concave.

bottom turn – a turn performed at the base of the wave, aiming the surfer back towards the wave face, or "down the line."

bowl – a hollow tube section. (See also: inside bowl)

brah – Pidgin English for "buddy," "you," or "sir."

breaker – a breaking wave.

bull shark – an aggressive, unpredictable tropical shark known to attack humans.

bust – to bust a move: to attempt a maneuver. (See also: pull)

C
carving – to do rounded turns on a wave face.

caught inside – when a surfer is caught inside of breaking surf and pushed towards the beach by the currents.

cave – deep crevices in the Pipeline reef that surfers have been pushed into on wipeouts. (See also: hole)

chandelier – water falling in pieces at a barrel opening, threatening to bar the rider from exiting the tube.

channel – a pass, usually between two reefs, where surf typically doesn't break. Channels are used by surfers to safely approach a lineup, and by photographers as a safe vantage point from which to view the waves.

clean (surf) – smooth, glassy (not lumpy) water surface with esthetically balanced waves. (See also: glassy)

closeout/closing out – a wave and/or tube that does not taper evenly, but folds over all at once. (See also: shutting down)

Cloud 9 – a reef break in the Philippines that sometimes resembles Backdoor Pipeline.

cloudbreak – any wave that breaks far offshore, towards the clouds on the horizon. Cloudbreak proper is a world-famous wave located in Fiji.

coin-toss magic – a mystical part of the Experience Pipeline script that unlocks an electronic door, launching the reader on a real-life treasure quest.

comber – a wave before it breaks that rolls in slowly, "combing" the bottom contours, sometimes shifting shape.

coral head – a protrusion of coral that extends up from the reef, usually the shape of a cauliflower, ranging from three inches to twenty feet across, and dangerous to fall on.

cranking – when the surf is good and consistent. (See also: pumping)

Crouching Lion – coastal ridge rock formation on east Oahu that resembles a kneeling lion.

curtain – the falling lip of a wave.

cut back – to sharply turn and reverse direction while riding a wave; a turn performed to get back to the section of the wave that has the most push.

D
Da Hui – legendary North Shore legion of experienced surfers, waterman, and hardcore locals. Once possessing a fearsome, gang-like reputation, now slightly less organized but still commanding respect.

da kine – Pidgin English for "the best," or, referring to something as "that one."

deck – the top of a surfboard.

deeper – to be closer than other riders to the peak of a wave or its breaking curl. It is considered a violation in contest surfing to "drop in on" someone who is riding closer to the curl.

ding – a crack, hole, dent, or puncture in a surfboard.

double-up – when two waves or partial waves merge into one, forming an extra-thick breaker.

down-the-line – when referring to a wave, means a fast, long, peeling wave.

drop in – when a surfer goes from a prone to standing position and rides down the face of the wave. Also, when a surfer rides down the wave in front of another surfer, cutting them off. Dropping in on people is considered poor etiquette. (See also: snake)

dry reef – when water is drawn up the face of the wave, coral can surface at the base of the wave, presenting a serious hazard to surfers.

duck-dive – when a surfer drives their board underwater with the strength of their arms and knees or feet. When performed successfully, the rider will emerge at the back of the wave and have some momentum to continue paddling forward.

E
epoxy – a type of resin used to coat surfboards, said to be lighter and stronger than traditional resin.

F
face (wave face) – the front or wall of a wave, extending from the trough to the crest.

fa'afafine – a Samoan man who dresses and behaves like a woman.

fait accompli – (French): an accomplished fact, presumably irreversible; a "done deal."

fakie – to ride a surfboard backwards with the fins in front and the nose of the board in the rear.

falls – the lip of a wave as it falls down, like a waterfall.

false crack – (Pidgin English) to hit or punch, as in to hit someone in the head.

false crack medivac – Pidgin English for "to beat someone so badly they have to go to the hospital."

faux check – giant poster-sized cardboard check handed to competition winners. The actual prize money is usually distributed in the form of a certified check or wired as a direct deposit.

First Reef (Pipeline) – the main Pipeline break, about fifty yards offshore, where the wave is most hollow.

fish – a "retro," short but wide surfboard, usually between 5' 6" and 6' 6" in length, that has the stability of a longboard but a degree of maneuverability more like that of a shortboard.

flats – the flat water in front of a breaking wave.

floater – a maneuver in which surfers glide on top of a barrel for a short period of time.

foam – the airy, bubbly water that is the aftereffect of a breaking wave. In big surf, the foam can be three feet deep. If a rider surfaces in this, they can be suffocated by it. (See also: soup)

free surfing – to surf recreationally, free from contest constraints.

freefall – when a surfer falls through the air from high up on a wave, usually during a wipeout. (See also: airdrop, over the falls)

full-on – to the maximum extent.

G
glassy (surf) – waves that are so smooth, they resemble glass. Requires an absence of wind.

gnarly – highly intense and/or critical.

gun (big-wave gun) – larger surfboard made for paddling into big surf. Usually between eight and eleven feet long.

H
hairy (or hairball) – scary, dangerous, and/or difficult to negotiate. (See also: gnarly, heavy)

Haleiwa – pronounced "holly-a-vah." A high-performance surfing break fronting historic Haleiwa Town on North Shore. It is one of the three venues for the Triple Crown of Surfing competition, the other two being Pipeline and Sunset Beach.

hang loose – Pidgin English for "take it easy."

hang-time – the amount of time one remains in the air during an aerial, ollie, or while going "over the falls."

Haole – Hawaiian for a Caucasian, usually used harmlessly but sometimes pejoratively. Literal translation: "Person without a soul."

Hawaiian scale (wave height) – in Hawaii, waves are measured by their backs (as opposed to by their wave faces, which is the case in every other part of the world). A wave that has a ten-foot face would be called a five-foot wave in Hawaii.

heat – one round in a surfing competition, usually lasting between twenty and forty minutes.

heavy – powerful, ominous or extreme. A potentially consequential wave or situation. (See also: gnarly)

Himalayas – a low-key big wave surf spot on North Shore, far west of Pipeline, which gets big, dangerous, and sharky.

ho – Pidgin English for "hey" or "eh," such as in: "Ho brah, howzit?"

hold down – to be held underwater by a breaking wave in the impact zone, usually after a wipeout. A combination of tumbling water and heavy currents can make it difficult for a surfer to swim to the surface.

hole – a deep spot in a reef or sandbar. Can also refer to a current which holds a paddling surfer in place, preventing forward progress.

hotdog – to ride playfully and with skill, to show off.

Howzit? – Pidgin English for "How are you doing?" or "What's new?"

I
impact zone – the area where waves crash down.

in position – to be in a suitable place to catch a wave.

inside – refers to the area between a breaking wave and the shoreline.

inside bowl – a section of the wave (that forms after the wave peak has broken) towards the inside, characterized by a tubing section.

J
Jacala Boy Bones – often misinterpreted, hard to predict Pipeline local and contest minotaur. JB has one daughter and seven tattoos.

Jeff Clark – pioneer of Mavericks big-wave surf spot in Northern California.

Jet Ski – a brand of Personal Water Craft (PWC), manufactured by Kawasaki. (See also: PWC)

judges' box – a raised structure built for surf contests where the judges sit. The judges' box commands a clear view of the lineup and is often equipped with an overhead scoreboard, on which competing surfers and spectators alike can see the running tallies.

K
k den – Pidgin English for "Okay then."

kala mai ia'o – Hawaiian for "I'm sorry."

kava – a mildly tranquilizing drink made from the ground root of the pepper plant. It is drunk both ceremoniously and informally. Consumed in excess, Kava can induce a stupor of fatigue and forgetfulness.

kick out – to exit a wave by riding or hopping off towards the wave's back.

kneeboarding – riding a short and fat board on one's knees.

Kona winds – south winds that hit Hawaii occasionally in winter. (See also: trade winds)

kook – a derogatory term in surfer parlance that describes a fool or person lacking in surfing experience or etiquette.

L
launch ramp – what surfers call a formation of water that appears like a perfect ramp in which to launch an aerial from.

ledge – the top portion of a steep wave.

lineup – place just beyond the breaking surf where riders want to catch the waves. "The lineup" can also refer to all the individuals that make up a group out surfing. Example: "All the pros are out, it's quite a lineup!" (See also: takeoff spot)

lip – the leading edge of the wave that falls as a wave breaks. Also used to refer to the crest of the wave.

log – a longboard, usually a particularly heavy and/or old one.

lolo – Pidgin English for "crazy" or "recklessly brazen."

lull – a period between sets of no wave activity.

Lycra jersey – a thin, tight vest made of Lycra (also known as Spandex) that competitors wear in a surfing contest. Each vest is colored differently so that the judges can easily identify the surfers.

M
macking – big, as in "That's a macking wave!"

mahalo – Hawaiian for "thank you."

mahalo nui loa – Hawaiian for "thank you very much."

mainland – the continental United States of America.

maki – Hawaiian for "dead."

maki die dead – Pidgin English for "very dead."

make the drop – to successfully ride down the face of a wave.

Mavericks – big-wave surf spot in Half Moon Bay, California, pioneered by surfer Jeff Clark.

mini gun – a surfboard roughly between seven and eight feet long. Larger than a standard shortboard, but smaller than a big-wave gun, it's a "mid-range" board made for surf between approximately ten and sixteen feet.

moke – Pidgin English for big Hawaiian dude.

Moray eel – coral-dwelling salt-water eel with sharp fangs.

mushburger (or mushy) – a crumbling, usually slow breaking wave, as opposed to a fast and steep wave.

N
Neil "Nelly" Yater – six-time world champ who makes everything look easy.

North Shore – The North Shore of Oahu, the most famous surfing arena in the world. Home to numerous large, heavy surf breaks, such as Pipeline, Waimea Bay, and Sunset Beach. When big, it's an experts-only realm.

nose (of a surfboard) – the front or leading tip of a surfboard.

O
offshore (wind) – a wind that blows from land out to sea and often helps to create a more hollow wave.

off-the-lip (or: off-the-top) – a surfing maneuver: to go up the wave face and turn sharply at the lip of the wave.

'ohana – Hawaiian for family.

ollie – while surfing, to hop up into the air with your board still "sticking" to your feet. Requires advanced skill and dexterity.

onshore (wind) – a wind that blows from the sea toward the land. Usually creates crumbly, or poor quality waves.

out the back – further out to sea than the common lineup. (See also: outside)

outside – further out to sea than the established lineup. "Outside!"—when yelled by a surfer—means a wave or set is coming that is bigger than the average wave that has entered the lineup.

Outside Log Cabins – a big wave break on the North Shore that sits far outside of Pipeline.

over the falls – to fall down with the lip of a wave as it is coming down, much like falling in a waterfall.

P
pay your dues – to take some bad wipeouts in big surf, or to struggle greatly at a given surf spot.

pearl – while surfing, when the nose of the surfboard penetrates under the water's surface, causing the rider to go headfirst into the water as if they were diving for pearls.

penetration – the ability to go through the surface of the water during a wipeout. In high-speed wipeouts, riders tend to tumble or bounce on the surface of the wave.

phat – common slang for exceptional, impressive, or admirable.

Pidgin English – an English-/Hawaiian-/Portuguese-derived dialect spoken by longtime Hawaiian locals.

Pipeline (also known as Banzai Pipeline) – a left-breaking wave on the North Shore of Oahu. The site of the Pipe Masters event, which is the final contest in the Triple Crown of Surfing competition, the other two sites being Sunset Beach and Haleiwa. Pipeline has earned a reputation as one of the best but most dangerous waves in the world. The right-breaking wave at Pipeline is called Backdoor, and can be just as perfect as the left, but often less predictable and more dangerous.

pit – the base or trough of a wave.

pitching – when the crest of a wave throws out.

pitted – getting barreled, riding in the tube, entering the green room, etc.

planney – Pidgin English for "plenty."

pull – to execute a maneuver, such as "She pulled an air." (See also: bust)

pumping – describes consistent, big and/or good surf. Also describes the subtle rhythmic weight shifting that a surfer does to generate speed while surfing.

punch out the back – to bodily penetrate through a wave face, lip or trough and escape successfully out the back of the breaking wave. Surfers use this method to exit a closeout wave.

PWC – Personal Water Craft, such as a Jet Ski, usually able to seat two or three people. Surfers use PWCs to tow each other into waves, and lifeguards use PWCs to make rescues.

Q
Queenie Bones – mother of Jacala Boy Bones and wife of Wiley Bones.

R
rail (of a surfboard) – the edges of a surfboard running lengthwise from the nose to the tail. Surfing "from rail-to-rail" means to surf radically off the rails, tilting steeply from side-to-side.

reef break – a wave that breaks over a reef.

reform – after a wave breaks, the swell energy can continue to travel forward and reform into another wave on its way to the beach. For example, on a big day at Pipeline, Third and Second reefs might be breaking, but surfers might choose to wait at First Reef, where the same swells that broke outside will continue to roll in, forming an entirely new wave at First Reef.

rep – representative, such as a sales rep.

retro – a design or style borrowing from bygone times.

rideable – a wave that can be surfed. However, this is not always a standard judgment – a wave that is unrideable to one person may be entirely rideable to another, depending upon their skill level, experience, attitude, and perspective.

riding prone – riding on one's belly. Once a surf contest has ended, all contestants must return to the beach by riding prone.

riptide – an ocean current that can carry you out to sea. Swimming parallel to shore may help you escape it. (See also: undertow)

rocker – the degree of the convex curve of a surfboard bottom. "More rocker" means a more curved, convex bottom, while "less rocker" means a flatter, more level bottom.

rogue wave – a wave that is far bigger than the biggest set wave of the day.

roller – a wave that rolls in for a long time before breaking.

rush it – to transition into the surf, or any activity, usually with haste.

S
Samoan – a descendant of the Samoan Islands, "the Cradle of the Pacific." Samoans and Hawaiian Samoans are stereotyped as having a large build.

scoring system – in surfing contests, scores of 0.00-10.00 are given to surfers based on their ride. At Pipeline, the most points are awarded for good tube rides. A wipeout, even at the end of a great tube ride, will negatively impact a score. There are usually between three and six judges in a surf contest, all grading a surfer's ride, and the average total of their score is what the surfer scores per wave. Thus, if one judge holds up a 7.0, the second judge an 8.0, and the last judge a 9.0, for that ride, the surfer will score 8.0 for the wave – the average. Typically, a surfer's three or five highest scoring waves are matched against his or her opponent's three or five best waves. Whoever scores highest, wins!

sea urchin – a spiky, ball-shaped reef dwelling crustacean whose infectious spines easily can penetrate one's skin and break off deep within the flesh.

Sea-Monkey – brand name for a small brine shrimp, Artemia salina, sold as a pet, with a plastic fish tank, in toy stores. To surf like a sea-monkey is to surf animatedly, with great energy.

Second Reef (Pipeline) – the next reef out from First Reef, about sixty yards further out. Second Reef starts to break when the waves are about twenty foot on the face, depending upon the tide.

set – a series of two or more waves.

shaka – the "hang loose" hand signal common in Hawaii, formed by extending the thumb and pinky while curling the other fingers down towards the palm. Is a sign of camaraderie and goodwill. To "flash the shaka sign" is to show someone else this hand-signal, often in recognition of a good deed, event, or as simple bonding.

shaper – one who shapes surfboards.

shifty – describes erratic, shifty, unpredictable waves.

shore break – waves that break close to shore or directly onto the sand.

shortboard – a surfboard between 5' 10" and 6' 6" in length designed for high-performance surfing.

shutting down – when a wave or section is not makeable because it is closing out. "She got shut down" means the wave did not allow the rider to complete her ride. (See also: closing out)

sick – (in surfer/skater lingo): of superb quality and/or gnarly.

sideshore (wind) – a wind that blows parallel to the shore.

single fin – surfboard with one fin, usually a longboard, but can be found in retro style boards and big wave guns.

skeg – the fin of a surfboard.

slab – a square-bottomed wave with a steep ledge, often breaking in shallow water.

slotted – to be slotted or in the slot means to be perfectly centered in the curving trough as the wave breaks. (See also: pitted)

snake – to drop in on another surfer who is already riding the wave. A "snake" is a surfer who is guilty of this breach of etiquette.

snowball – a "ball" of whitewater that forms deep within a barrel and tends to "roll" towards the cylinder's exit. A snowball can overtake a surfer who is riding too far back in the tube.

soup – ocean water churned up by wave activity.

spit – watery mist that shoots out of a wave's barrel, caused by intense air compression within the tube. A strong spit can blow a surfer off the front of his board.

sponsorships – contracts between surfers and surf product companies, in which the companies pay the surfer to use and advertise the company's products.

stall – to purposefully slow down while surfing. A maneuver used to prolong tube rides.

staying open – refers to a tube with an end that stays open, allowing a surfer to exit.

stick – surfboard.

stink eye – to give someone a cold and mean stare. (In Pidgin English: "bumb-eye.")

stoked – to be very happy, usually from a good turn of events.

stonefish – tropical fish with a poisonous venom that can be fatal if stepped on.

stringer – a thin piece of wood running down the length of the interior of a surfboard, making it stronger. Some big-wave boards are given thick and/or multiple stringers to reinforce them.

stuff – to prevent a surfer from making a wave by riding in front of him. Sunset Beach – an often big, shifty right breaking wave on the North Shore. One of the surfing venues in the Triple Crown of Surfing competition series, the other two being Pipeline and Haleiwa.

sweet – slang for really nice or desirable.

swinging wide – a wave that breaks to the right or left of the usual lineup.

T
tail (of a surfboard) – the rear (not bottom) of a surfboard. (See also: nose, rails, rocker)

takeoff – the moment when a surfer catches a wave and jumps to his/her feet.

takeoff spot – the place in the lineup or on a wave that is ideal for catching a wave.

tanks – Pidgin English for "thanks."

Third Reef (Pipeline) – the next reef out from Second Reef, about a hundred yards further out. Third Reef starts to break when the waves are about twenty-five foot on the face, depending upon the tide.

three-wave hold down – to be held underwater as three consecutive (big) waves break over you. An extremely dangerous predicament that is difficult to survive.

thruster – a fast and maneuverable surfboard with three fins, usually between six and seven feet in length.

tiger shark – a territorial tropical shark known to attack humans.

tingle bells – small gold and purple spots that appear before the eyes when holding one's breath for so long that the brain loses oxygen and is about to shut down. They are most commonly seen when the eyes are shut, and can occur after long hold downs. They are foretokens of death, meaning the surfer must make it to the surface and get oxygen quickly, or drown.

tita – Pidgin English for a large woman or "lady moke." (See also: moke) tombstone – during a wipeout, a surfer can be held so deep underwater that his/her leash is stretched taut, pulling most of the board underwater so that only the nose portion is sticking up, like a tombstone.

top-to-bottom – when referring to a wave, "top-to-bottom" means the wave is breaking steep and not mushing, and most likely producing a tube. When referring to a surfboard or style of surfing, "top-to-bottom" refers to a style that emphasizes going from the trough to the lip of wave often, focusing on tricky verticalness as opposed to "down-the-line" directness or speed. (See also: down-the-line)

tow board – a small but heavy surfboard equipped with foot straps, specially designed for towing into waves behind a PWC.

tow rope – a sturdy rope with handles used to tow surfers behind a PWC.

tow in – to get pulled by a tow rope on a surfboard behind a PWC (Jet Ski) into a wave.

track-top – treaded rubber grip applied to the surface of a surfboard in place of wax, for traction.

trade winds – the usual northeastern sea breezes of Hawaii. "The trades" tend to increase throughout the day and subside at night. They blow sideshore or offshore at many North Shore surf spots, including Pipeline and Sunset Beach.

tri-fin – surfboard with three fins.

Triple Crown of Surfing competition – the final three contests of the yearly pro surfing circuit, which take place on the North Shore of Oahu at Haleiwa Beach Park, Sunset Beach, and Pipeline, in that order. A highly anticipated and publicized event that sometimes determines who wins the Surfing World Title.

try move – Pidgin English for "get out of the way."

try wait – Pidgin English for "wait" or "be patient." Hawaii is not as fast-paced and tightly matrixed as the mainland, so patience is necessary.

tube – the hollow cylinder part of wave, at the trough and under the lip. The tube is a desirable and high-scoring place to be riding at Pipeline.

twin fin – surfboard with two fins, popular in the 1970s. Can be fast down-the-line but not quite as maneuverable as a tri fin.

two-wave hold down – to be held under the water as two consecutive waves break over you. (See also: three-wave hold down)

U
undertow – a downward-flowing current. A strong undertow can be dangerous, dragging a person underwater. (See also: hold down)

V
Velzyland – reef break on the North Shore, which has an amazing right-hand barrel at two- to ten-foot faces.

W
Waimea Bay – famous North Shore big wave surfing spot, mostly ridden going right. Until the late 1980s or 1990s, "The Bay" was considered the biggest rideable wave in the world.

wall – the front of a steep wave. "Wally" means a wave that has a steep front or face.

walled-up – indicates a wave face that resembles a vertical wall, and sometimes refers to closeouts. (See also: closing out)

water patrol – lifeguards trained in First Aid, CPR, and heavy-water rescues, who provide water safety for surfing events.

Wesside – Pidgin English for West Oahu, considered the stronghold of traditional Hawaiian culture.

wiki wiki – Hawaiian for fast or speedy

Wiley Bones – husband of Mrs. Queenie Bones and father of Jacala Boy.

wipeout – an unintentional fall while surfing, often a dramatic one.

worked – to get worked means to get thrashed about, usually during a wipeout or when caught inside. "I'm worked" can also mean simply "I'm very tired and my muscles are sore," but this can be from surfing good waves all day, not necessarily from wiping out.

WWII treasure – the Japanese are rumored to have left stores of gold and precious treasures throughout the Pacific during World War II. Today, treasure-hunting fanatics go to great lengths to find the elusive spoils.

X
xpipex.com – Experience Pipeline funsite.

Y
Yamamoto's gold – Japanese imperial treasures reputedly hidden in caves throughout the Philippines and parts of the Pacific during World War II by Naval Commander Isoroku Yamamoto. (See also: WWII treasure)

you (the reader) – a contender for the World Title of Surfing in Experience Pipeline.

Z
Zen mode – in surfing, when wiping out or being held under for a long time, some prefer to go into "Zen mode," or to relax instead of fighting against the churning whitewater. This can be an effective way to ward off mental panic and conserve oxygen.