Familiarize Yourself with These Surfing Terms

Surfing has its own language, and understanding specific terms is imperative to a safe and smooth ride. Before paddling out, be sure to know at least a handful of these important terms.


Closeout—A wave or large section of a wave that breaks at the same time, making it impossible to surf the open face.

Deep—The steepest part of the shoulder closest to the peak of a wave.

Down the line—Along the face of the wave.

Duck dive—A technique used to paddle out past a breaking wave. Use your arms to push the nose of the surfboard down while the knee pushes town on the tail.

Face—The open, unbroken part of a wave.

Green wave—An open wave which allows the surfer to ride along the face.

Kick out—To end your ride by surfing out the wave.

Lineup—The area where waves normally begin breaking. This is the place where surfers sit on their boards to wait for rides.

Peak—The immediately breaking part of the wave.

Shoulder—The unbroken section of the wave directly next to the peak.

Turtle roll—A technique used to paddle a board past a breaking wave. The surfer turns upside-down and propels the surfboard through the breaking wave.