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Around The Surfing World

Surfing 101: Know Your Surfeneese

Corky Carroll, the King of Surfeneese"

While browsing through my mammoth stack of unread surf magazines the other day, I happened to run across the May 2010 issue of Surfer, which contained yet another article on surfing lingo entitled “The Language of Surf.”

It seems like about once every decade, the current language of surf, or as Corky Carroll says, our surfucabulary, must be tossed aside, and replenished with a whole new various assortment of nouns, adjectives, verbs and phrases.

Now, Corky is the King of Surfeneese. He is currently compiling his entire surfucabulary over on his website. Corky goes so far as to give you the meaning of each term, as well as how to uses it in everyday conversation. Case(s) in point:

KICK OUT:  a maneuver used to get out of a wave.  Also used to mean “leaving.”  Kinda like, “This party sucks, I’m kickin’ out.”


LOG:   another word for a longboard.  “Ah man, here comes Mickey on that giant log again.”  Why are all loggers named Mickey?  A group of loggers create a logjam.

While Corky is compiling his own list of surf terms, his surfucabulary does contain many of the terms that appeared in the recent Surfer article. “The Language of Surf” was done quite nicely, an in-depth look into current, as well as past, terms and phrases.

My personal favorite was Fish Killing, which Surfer defined as:

“Also known as the “Huntington Hop,” a pathetic up and down maneuver to keep the surfer moving forward.”

I, personally, couldn’t agree more. The move is pathetic. Granted, we see it in competition all the time, where it comes into play as a viable way to achieve a higher score on a wave. But if you’re not in competition, casually surfing your local break, trust me, you look like an idiot. If you’re just getting into surfing, listen to the Surfer editors, man. That pumping up and down, or Fish Killing, is a bad habit to get into.

As well as introducing a few new terms, Surfer writer Brad Melekian offered up a sidebar entitled “The Words I Won’t Say,” and the editors even created a cemetery for terms and phrases they claim to never use again.

And I must admit, I am deeply saddened at the passing of one in particular: Hot DoggingSurfer’s heartfelt eulogy to Hot Dogging read:

“In the prime of its life, Hot Dogging existed at the highest level of our culture’s performance. Cutbacks, noserides, cross-stepping – Hot Dogging encapsulated them all. Long-suffering, its deathblow came at the hands of college students who used it to describe a lewd prank. Attempts by hipsters to revive this unfortunate soul have, so far, proven unsuccessful.”

How sad. Rest in peace Hot Dogging. You will be dearly missed.

You see, my older brother Jimmy was a Hot Dog, and before he ever let his little brother even attempt to surf, he sat him down on the seawall of the China Casino (now the Courtyard Marriott), at the foot of 15th Avenue North in Jacksonville Beach, during the summer of  ’64, and stressed to him the importance of knowing the correct surf lingo.

That day, Jimmy pointed out a couple of other Hot Dogs, way too many Ho-Dads and quite a few Beach Bunnies that he considered Bitch’n, all of this to a little 7 year-old Gremmie who just wanted to hop on the nearest Hot Stick and surf.

My brother Jimmy and I, 40 years after he taught me the "Lanugage of Surf"

And as it would turn out, that lesson would prove invaluable, for you can’t bingo if you don’t know the lingo, right? And once Jimmy felt I was ready, that same summer, I rode my first wave, a mushy little pile of whitewater, on my beloved brother’s 9’0” Log, straight towards shore. Man! Talk about Stoked!

Every journey has its genesis, and now, 46 Gnarly years and thousands of Primo waves later, I am, ironically, squeaking out a living at the hands of the proper use of surf terminology, or surfeneese, as Corky would say.

Thanks for the lesson Bro. You’re still one Totally-Rad-Dude.

Marion Stratford

Marion Stratford is a freelance writer from Jacksonville Beach, Florida. A surfer for 45 years, he has covered surfing as a correspondent for the Florida Times-Union and is currently a National Surfing Examiner with

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13 years ago

We always called fins “Skegs” (prononced skaggs), what happened to that term? Also we used the term “soup slider” for beginners who rode white water waves. Redondo Beach, CA circa 1962.

Sand Sock Girl
13 years ago

Nice post! I’ve learned something from surfucabulary. Thanks for sharing!

Pauline Ferrer
6 years ago

Hello Marion, thanks for this article. Do you have any video footage/links showing what hot dogging looks like?

HotDog Bob
HotDog Bob
13 years ago

Hey Squidlips, those are some bitchin’ definitions. You left out spinner, coffin, quasi-modo, baggies, juaraches, ding, pearl, cheater five, goin’ over the falls, surfer’s knots, pop-out and a couple more – what are you – some kind of gremmie? Paddle out and fish-kill for a while!

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