Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Surf lingo revisted: 1976 to 2019

Dude, did you see that slab?

Mini Simmons: A short twin fin modeled after the surfboards of 1950s board builder, Bob Simmons, who drowned near Windansea Beach.
Mini Simmons: A short twin fin modeled after the surfboards of 1950s board builder, Bob Simmons, who drowned near Windansea Beach.

When Jim Mullin wrote about “San Diego Surf Lingo” for the Reader in 1976, most surfers in our area were riding seven-foot single fin surfboards, smaller twin fin, Fishes, or the newly revived longboards. Progressive moves at the time were off-the-lips and roundhouse cutbacks while bottom turns, tube rides, and noserides were still in vogue.

A new surfboard cost about $125 and Gordon & Smith and Hansen were the largest surf manufacturers in town. International Professional Surfers (IPS) had just been launched, and Australia’s Peter Townend was its first professional world champion. There was no women’s tour until 1977, when San Diego native Margo Oberg won the title.

Surfing has changed dramatically in the past 43 years. New words were required to describe the evolution of the surfboards and the moves performed on them.

While some of Mullin’s terms like "dawn patrol,” “feathering,” “stoked,” and “gnarly” are still regularly spoken, others like “BSB” and “body flyaway” have fallen from common usage.

The following are part of a surfer’s language in 2019:

Carve: A hard turn

Snap: Radical direction change

Thruster: Three-finned surfboard

Mini Simmons: A short twin fin popularized by San Diego standout, Richard Kevin, and modeled after the surfboards of 1950s legendary board builder, Bob Simmons, who drowned near Windansea Beach

Shacked: To ride inside a breaking wave. AKA tubed, barreled or locked in

Slab: An extremely thick and powerful wave

Bomb: Big wave

Doggy Door: The exit point from a tubing wave

Pigdog: Backside rail grab, usually in the tube

Air/Aerial: A move borrowed from skateboarding where surfer and surfboard are launched above the wave. Aerials were in their infancy in the mid-70s and only made possible by use of smaller, lighter surfboards

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

The Truth: no better suited than Catherine Deneuve

Hers truly is an imitation of life.
Next Article

Matthew Stewart’s protest song earns heavy spins online

“Alternative Facts” uses the catchphrase coined by presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway
Mini Simmons: A short twin fin modeled after the surfboards of 1950s board builder, Bob Simmons, who drowned near Windansea Beach.
Mini Simmons: A short twin fin modeled after the surfboards of 1950s board builder, Bob Simmons, who drowned near Windansea Beach.

When Jim Mullin wrote about “San Diego Surf Lingo” for the Reader in 1976, most surfers in our area were riding seven-foot single fin surfboards, smaller twin fin, Fishes, or the newly revived longboards. Progressive moves at the time were off-the-lips and roundhouse cutbacks while bottom turns, tube rides, and noserides were still in vogue.

A new surfboard cost about $125 and Gordon & Smith and Hansen were the largest surf manufacturers in town. International Professional Surfers (IPS) had just been launched, and Australia’s Peter Townend was its first professional world champion. There was no women’s tour until 1977, when San Diego native Margo Oberg won the title.

Surfing has changed dramatically in the past 43 years. New words were required to describe the evolution of the surfboards and the moves performed on them.

While some of Mullin’s terms like "dawn patrol,” “feathering,” “stoked,” and “gnarly” are still regularly spoken, others like “BSB” and “body flyaway” have fallen from common usage.

The following are part of a surfer’s language in 2019:

Carve: A hard turn

Snap: Radical direction change

Thruster: Three-finned surfboard

Mini Simmons: A short twin fin popularized by San Diego standout, Richard Kevin, and modeled after the surfboards of 1950s legendary board builder, Bob Simmons, who drowned near Windansea Beach

Shacked: To ride inside a breaking wave. AKA tubed, barreled or locked in

Slab: An extremely thick and powerful wave

Bomb: Big wave

Doggy Door: The exit point from a tubing wave

Pigdog: Backside rail grab, usually in the tube

Air/Aerial: A move borrowed from skateboarding where surfer and surfboard are launched above the wave. Aerials were in their infancy in the mid-70s and only made possible by use of smaller, lighter surfboards

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Football: a career low for Lucille Ball

A darker shade of twilight
Next Article

Dead Cross cover Black Flag’s “Rise Above” in solidarity with Black Lives Matter

Jonny Tarr, Dead Cross, Electric Mud, Howard Blank’s Outsiders, Trees
Comments
1

Thanks for the update Chris Ahrens. I'm now more hip than I was minutes ago. You've always been many's connection, mine included, to the surf world. I look forward to more of your surf stories in the Reader.

Jan. 28, 2019

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close