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The Lingo of Surfing: A Non-Comprehensive Glossary
Surfing lingo is not the dude-speak that surfing movies have tried to tell you it is. All hobbies and movements have a distinct patois, a common hidden language that helps separate the informed from the clueless. Surfing is no different; it has a dense collection of terms all its own. Some are from the old Hawaiian language, some are derived from Australian slang, some are descriptive terms doing double duty. This guide will give you a head start: A-Frame: A wave that splits peaks and breaks both left and right. Aggro: An aggressive surfer. Ankle Busters: Small waves, no good for surfing. Backdoor: Entering a barrel from behind it. Backside: Riding with your back to the wave. Bail: To ditch your surfboard in order to avoid a wipeout. Barney: An inexperienced or poor surfer. Barrel: The hollow inside of a breaking wave. Beach Break: A wave breaking over a sandy sea bed. Blown Out: Wind conditions which have eliminated rideable waves. Boardies: Warm-weather shorts, long and light. Bomb: An unexpectedly large wave. Bottom Turn: A turn made at the base of a wave face. Carve: A sharp turn on a wave face. Chop: Rough ocean conditions due to wind. Crest: The highest point of a wave. Cutback: A turn on the shoulder of the wave, used to reposition the surfer back on the surf line. Drop: The moment after paddling in and standing up, just before the first turn of the wave face. Drop In: To cut in front of someone on a wave. Fetch: The distance the wind blows with no significant change in direction. Flat: No waves or surf. Glassy: No wind. Goofy Foot: Riding with the right leg in front. Grom: A young surfer, not necessarily inexperienced. Gun: A long, thin surfboard designed for big waves. Hang Ten: Riding a longboard with both feet at the nose of the board. Jake: A novice surfer inadvertently causing trouble for fellow surfers in the line-up. Kahuna: From the Hawaiian term for their holy men or magicians, a wizard or expert. Line-Up: The point just before a wave starts breaking. Surfers wait here to catch the next wave. Lip: The top of the face of the wave, usually curling towards the beach. Mush: Slow, choppy waves that are of little surfing use. Nose: The front of the surfboard. Offshore Winds: Wind blowing off the shore towards the water, offering ideal surf conditions. Onshore Winds: Wind blowing off the water towards the shore, giving poor surf conditions. Pearling: When the nose of the surfboard dips underwater. Pit: The area directly in front of the crest of the wave. Pitched: Thrown from the lip of the wave. Pocket: The area below the lip of the wave. Point Break: A wave that breaks onto a rocky point. Quiver: A range of boards for different surf conditions. Rail: The sides of the surfboard. Reef Break: A wave that breaks over a coral reef. Reflection: When a wave loses energy by striking a hard object. Refraction: When a swell loses energy by entering shallow water. Ripping: Performing dramatic stunts on a wave. Rocker: The curve of a surfboard. Different angles provide different performances. Sharky: Surf conditions that are choppy and cold; supposedly conditions only a shark would like. Shore Break: A wave that breaks over the shore. Shoulder: The edge of an unbroken wave. Shubee: A tourist; someone who purchases a lot of expensive surfing equipment but never uses it. Slash: A rapid turn at the top of the lip, sending spray everywhere. Soup: The broken foam of a wave. Stringer: The thin strip of wood running down the midpoint of the foam making up the body of modern surfboards. It provides strength and flexibility to the board. Surf Wax: Wax rubbed into the deck of the board to provide grip for the feet. Swell: The energy provided by wind to drive the waves. Tail: The rear of the surfboard. Template: The shape of the surfboard. Also called the outline. Trough: The bottom of a wave; opposite of the crest. Tube: Same as barrel; the inside of a hollow wave. Wahine: A female surfer. Wave Height: The difference between the crest and trough. Wave Period: The time between two crests. Wavelength: The distance between two crests. Wipe-Out: Falling off your board. Worked: To be wiped-out and then held underwater by the force of the breaking wave. Very dangerous; many surfers have perished this way.
The Grim Statistics
Since September 11, 2001, over 2.5 million soldiers have been activated and deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. In that time frame, 16,000 have sustained severe disabling injuries that have ended their military careers and made their civilian lives difficult, to say the least. Compounding this problem are the invisibly (but no less profoundly) injured, totaling 30,000 people with some form of traumatic brain injury, and almost half a million with varying degrees of PTSD. According to a 2010 study, 22 veterans commit suicide in the United States every day. Clearly, war is hell, and often one that lives and continues in the minds of those who survived confrontation. Operation Amped: A Healthy Challenge In the face of these bleak numbers, Tom Tapp, Dave Donaldson, and Joseph Gabunilas founded the nonprofit organization Operation Amped in 2005. With the intention of sharing surfing with seriously ill, injured, or disabled vets and their families, these three men hold clinics based in sound science and careful tutoring in the art of surfing. Holding to high standards in participant instruction and volunteer training, it is the goal of Operation Amped to achieve greater healing than can be found in standard clinical settings. In particular, the organization stresses the importance of positive change, that one’s past does not dictate one’s future, and that a client has responsibility and choice in their own healing process. Amped provides training and support for their disabled surfers, supports them during the learning process, and helps them to regain their sense of freedom and independence. How Does It Work? Surfing has always been associated with physical fitness and a laid-back attitude. In dealing with the immutable (the might of the ocean, the weather, the geography) and the changeable (one’s own skill level, attitude, and mood), surfing helps achieve a mind-body balance. There is no denying that surfing is an immensely demanding activity, but the experience of mastering a difficult skill—one with measureable gains—is essential to achieve a sense of self- worth and happiness. In committing to an unfamiliar sport (or a familiar sport with unfamiliar circumstances), veterans get to experience the freedom and happiness of catching waves and the beauty of the world around them in a calm but uncontrolled setting. Psychologists have named this feeling as “eustress,” the force of positive stress in one’s life. Surfing has been proven in these settings to re-introduce the sensation of adrenaline in combat vets, but re-framed in the positive sensations of joy, excitement, and “the rush.” The physical achievements are nothing short of amazing, especially for veterans who have undergone amputations. Pain from physical imbalance, weakened muscles, and trauma is a daily companion to many. With the buoyancy of water to help them balance, surfing is one of the most effective exercises for strengthening core muscles, which take much stress, strain, and pain away when trained properly. In some cases it has been possible for those with chronic pain issues to decrease or completely do away with narcotic painkillers with their doctors’ advice. Having a stronger, fitter, mostly pain-free and un-addicted body goes a long way toward reinforcing in a wounded vet’s mind about how a good life can still be waiting. When Giving Back Gives Back Volunteers for this program are carefully and thoroughly trained to provide the best and safest healing possible. Extensive experience in swimming and surfing skills comes with this, but the volunteers themselves also benefit from the program. Not only do they spend time doing what they love and get the satisfaction of volunteering for their community, they re-learn the joy of learning to surf for the first time. Teaching veterans makes surfing fresh and new to those assisting with the program, and it enhances their own surfing experiences. Other Programs Operation Amped is only one of many organizations across the United States working to bring surfing therapy to injured veterans. Virginia Beach has a program called AmpSurf. In the northeast, Boston has established Waves for the Brave. The program has even caught on across the pond in Cornwall, England, in an organization called Surf Action. More programs are being activated as time passes, and recently Operation Amped has begun work to bring stand up paddleboarding to vets in landlocked states. No matter what the type of water, it is a great equalizer, and one that has saved the lives of countless veterans in the past decade through Operation Amped. Further References http://www.lifezette.com/healthzette/sea-change/, http://www.surfermag.com/features/surfers-agent-of-change-operation-amped/#hkLOFc5sUuAF0vmL.97, https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org
Wave Dynamics: A Brief Introduction on Types of Waves
  Surfing is a rush, and nothing beats catching a wave. You’re sailing, steering, flying. It’s bliss on another level. There are many types of waves in the ocean, all with their own unique identities. We want to share with you a brief introduction on the types of waves that, as a surfer, you can catch. It’s useful information for anyone, but particularly for the amateur surfer, who will eventually know this information like clockwork. There are three main types of breaks. All waves generally fall into one of three: beach break, reef break, and point break. Beach break: These waves are formed on the sandy beach and vary depending on how the sand shifts. The swell of energy connects with the sand and produces a wave that varies in power and length of ride. It’s dependent on the movement of the sand, which requires a strong knowledge of the banks to know when you’ll get a quality wave.   A few well-known beach breaks are Playa Hermosa in Costa Rica, La Graviere in Hossegor, France, and Supertubos in Portugal. Reef break: These waves break on rock and coral on the ocean bed, and are more consistent in the size of the wave. Waves can be larger and more powerful because the power of the energy produced from the swell and rocks, and/or reef, can unload violently on the shallow rocks of the reef. Waves can also unload quickly, which is dangerous if you’re a novice surfer and not expecting it. Advanced surfers have been known to like reef breaks because of the large wave that is produced. Well-known reef breaks include Pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii and the Mentawai islands of Indonesia. Point break: Even for a beginner, this term might be familiar because of the famous Keanu Reeves film from the early 90s. This wave is formed when swell energy interacts with a point of land that juts out from the coast. Ocean beds for point breaks can be with sand, coral, rock or cobblestones. Point break waves are safer, in that they maintain their energy and size, and they characteristically create long waves that last for a while. Point breaks are popular because they allow surfers to ride out a less powerful wave for a long period of time. Famous point breaks include Snapper Rocks in Australia, Rincon in California, and Barra de la Cruz in Mexico. There are a number of different waves resulting from these breaks. Let’s start with the wildest and most difficult first: the double up. A double up is when two separate waves align at their crests and troughs. This energy can create a massive and powerful wave. It does hollow out easily and is therefore very dangerous. Yet, they have been known to produce once-in-a-lifetime experiences because of this characteristic. Ride at your own risk. Because they hollow out easily, they can be difficult to control even for the most experienced surfers. Tubes/Hollow waves are a type of wave created when the water pitches over the surfer so that the surfer is enclosed in the space between the water. It is an experience sought out by many. The surfer is enclosed in a small space, and the only way out is through the opening in front of the surfer. These waves first move through deep water, and then finish out in shallow water. Tropical reefs are popular for producing quality hollow waves because of their position near the Pacific Ocean, which produces powerful swells. Reform waves are waves that first go through deep water before reforming back into a swell. It is a whitewater wave with much less power than double ups and tubing waves. Reforms can be found at Second Reef Pipeline in Hawaii, for example, and Huntington Beach, California. Also called “mushy” waves, a crumbly is a good wave for a beginner. They are safe to wipeout on because the contour along the bottom is more gradual. Crumbly waves are also more forgiving because their speed is not as fast, and they aren’t as hollow or steep as other waves tend to be. Closeouts are waves that break before they peel. They create whitewater and can’t be surfed. So, next time you’re out surfing, especially for the beginner who is developing his or her skills for the sport, you can better determine what types of waves the ocean is producing. Surf Outfitter carries a variety of apparel and swimwear for women and men that is perfect for your style..