How is an Ocean Rip Current created

Beach Break, Green Wave, Rip Current? Terms that every surfer should know.

What a day at the seaside! Light offshore wind. Perfect green waves. Surfer in the line-up. The dude with his shortboard under his arm seems completely stoked. Tells something about overhead, barrels and endless lefthanders. The ride of his life.

You rejoice with him. But still ask yourself - what does he actually mean? The following guide through the wave vocabulary and surfer slang brings light into the darkness. And will help you to understand the language of the surfers.

As a beginner to surf, you sometimes feel like the last idiot. Do not worry about it. Everyone is like that!


What a beauty! The wave breaks evenly to the left and right. You can choose which direction you want to surf.

Beach break

Surf spots where the waves break on the sandbanks of a sandy beach. Great for beginners. Sandy subsoil and therefore mostly harmless.

Big waves

Huge waves. Really high.


Where there are surfers there are often bodyboarders in the water. Bodyboarders ride the waves lying down with a short foam board in front of their chest. Mostly with fins for quick paddling.


The water of broken waves has to flow back into the sea somehow. Backflow areas are formed. Experienced surfers use the so-called channel to be able to paddle more easily into the line-up.

Close out

Seemingly endless waves on the beach but no surfers in the water? Closed-out waves break simultaneously at every point in their existence. Do not allow surfers to enter or exit.


The moment immediately after the take-off. Is referred to as a start especially with high and steep waves.

Drop in

Take right of way! If you paddle a wave on which another surfer is already going, you have to cancel your take-off. If two surfers start at the same time, the surfer closer to the peak has right of way. Should you accidentally cause a drop in, give him / her a short token of remorse.


If a mighty roller of water rolls over you there’s only one thing - through below. With this technique, surfers can dive through the wave with their board.


The surfer stands with his right foot in front of the surfing direction. Regulars have the left foot in front.

Green Wave

The ultimate goal of all surfing students: surfing a green wave. Can't be described. You will feel it. But sometimes completely emotionless - denotes the part of a wave that has not yet been broken.

High tide

Highest water level after the flood. Surf conditions change with the tides. Quite different for different surf spots. Best to watch.

Impact zone

Take a deep breath and get out of here quickly. Big waves hit right in front of you.


A rubber line. Without it, you'd have to keep swimming after your board. Connects you and your board. After a fall, she'll bring you back together quickly.

Left (hander)

Indicates the direction of the wave in which it breaks. Seen from the sea to the left. For observers on the beach, the surfer moves to the right into the wave wall.

Line up

Gathering of surfers in the water. Lies behind the surf zone. Here the surfers are waiting for the next set.


Surfers who live in the area. Respects home law. Watch them and learn from them.

Low tide

Lowest water level after low tide. The tides are to blame.


Waves larger than head height of a surfer.


Offshore wind direction. Increased heart rate among surfers. Waves build up steeper and break cleanly.


Wind direction from the sea. Onshore. Makes the water choppy and makes the waves break less clean.


The optimal point for the take-off. Here the wave is highest and begins to break first. Who starts here surfs the longest.

Point break

Compared to a beach break, the waves do not break on the sandbanks of a beach but at a fixed, unchanging point. The swell hits the headland from the side and often forms very long waves.


Surfers who just surf really well. You could watch for hours. Not to be confused with Bro!


The surfer stands with his left foot in front of the surfing direction. Goofys have their right foot in front.

Right (hander)

Indicates the direction of the wave in which it breaks. Seen from the sea to the right. For observers on the beach, the surfer moves to the left into the wave wall.

Rip Current

Surf return current. Huh? Rip currents are strong and sometimes dangerous currents away from the beach. Difficult to make out from the beach. If the current catches you, you will drift into the open sea.


A group of waves of different heights that hit the coast at more or less equal intervals. Not to be confused with the comparatively smaller waves that break continuously in the beach area. Set breaks are used between individual sets. Time to take a breath or paddle into position.


Waves break either immediately in front of or directly on the beach. Surfable only for experienced board sports representatives.


Aaaaaaah. Expression of incredible bliss. Euphoria and enthusiasm of a surfer after a successful surf session cannot be put into words.

Surfed out

At some point it's over. Nothing works anymore. Surfed out. Break. But usually doesn't last long.


The English term for swell. Provides a feeling of happiness for surfers at the right height and with the appropriate period. Violent ocean storms are responsible for transferring their energy to the water. Storm waves arise. Completely wild and disordered. Outside the storm area, storm waves form into orderly waves, the so-called swell. As they migrate through the seas, energy is transferred and surfable waves are created in the shallower coastal regions.

Take off

The moment of transition from paddling the wave to standing on the board. Sounds easy. It does take some practice, however. Surf students first practice the sequence and the right timing on the beach. Mostly recognizable by the collective paddling in the sand and synchronous jumping on the board.


Every surfer's dream. Slide once in the tube. A tube, also known as a barrel, is created when a steeply breaking wave hits the rapidly rising seabed. The lip breaks far forward onto the surface of the water and forms a hollow wave that is open to the side.


Take turns in the wave. Either top or bottom turn. Depending on where the surfer is navigating through the wave.


Inevitable. No matter if you are a beginner or advanced. Describes a spectacular departure after a fall or when a surfer is suddenly caught and caught by a large wave. Reminiscent of a rinse cycle in the washing machine. Short adrenaline rush. Passes by.

White water

White water waves. Waves that have already broken Popular with surfing beginners because you don't have to paddle too much to stand on the board.