How To Talk Like A Surfer? Top 10 Surfing Terms You Must Know

How to talk like a surfer? List of surfing slang and surfing terms

The surfer lifestyle is one of freedom and exploration, and the language reflects that. Surfers have their own special way of talking, a mix of pidgin English, Hawaiian, and California slang. It’s a colorful, expressive dialect that’s full of wit and humor.

Why is surfer slang so special? Because it captures the essence of the surfing lifestyle – a laid-back attitude, a love of nature, and an appreciation for good times with friends.

Surfer slang is also unique in its ability to bridge cultural gaps – whether you’re from Hawaii or California or anywhere else in the world if you’re a surfer, you can understand what someone is saying when they use surf lingo.

So how can you talk like a surfer, embrace the surfer’s slang and the surfing atmosphere in it all?

Here is the top 10 surfers’ lingo that if you use you will be understood and considered a surfer, even if you’re a kook.

Wait, what is a kook you’re asking? Keep on reading!

Top 10 Surfing Terms You Must Know

These are the top 10 surfing terms every surfer must know. It is more about the vibe and lifestyle of surfers rather than a complete guide to surfing terminology. Here we go:

Stoked – This is the most common word used by surfers and non-surfers alike. It means to be excited or happy about something, usually related to surfing. For example: “I’m stoked for the waves this weekend!”

Kook – A kook is someone who is a wanna-be surfer, and has all the gear but doesn’t know the surfing lifestyle and culture. For example: “Don’t be a kook and drop in on me!”

Aggro – When a surfer is being aggressive, usually in a negative way. You know them, they are just splashing water around them and others.

Gnarly – Big waves or dangerous conditions. Also could be a sort of way to say something is large. For example, “We have to check out the gnarly waves at that secret spot!”

Akaw – A surfer’s way of saying “oh my god.” Usually shouting it when they see a perfect curly wave coming toward them. For example: “Akaw! Look at that set!”

Amped – To be super excited about going surfing. “I am so amped for our session today!”

Hang Loose – A common surfer greeting, the most famous one. A gesture that means to relax and take it easy. Also called Shaka, is associated with Hawaiian culture.

Rad – Short for radical, it means cool or awesome. For example: “That new board is so rad!”

Sick – Something that is really good or great, can be used to describe a good wave. For example: “Dude, that wave was sick!”

Dilla – A low-maintenance surfer who couldn’t care less about what others think of them. One who is secure in being different but unique.

Waxhead – A surfer who is really into the surfing scene and culture. Loves to surf and knows everything about it. Surfs every day. For example: “Hey waxhead, what’s the best surfboard for me?”


See what we did there? There were actually 11 terms. You got one bonus, on us! Now try to think which one was it that we added at the last minute.

Until then, try to memorize these terms and put them to use the next time you’re at the beach.

Remember, it’s not just about the words you use, it’s about the attitude and lifestyle that comes with them.

Try to cultivate the surfing lifestyle and embrace the shaka culture of the aloha vibes. Too much of this goodness, we can’t have enough.

So relax, hang loose, and enjoy your next ride.