Have you ever overheard a conversation between two surfers and wondered “What language are they speaking?” Surfer talk is a dialect that uses borrowed terms, completely made-up words, a wide array of sound effects, and body language to describe and translate the experience.
What follows is a surfer’s monologue, decoded and with footnotes to shed some light on its meaning.
Dude, this morning was epic! You should have been here an hour ago. Big perfect A-frames rolling in and draining off the bar. These things were just detonating and spitting their guts out.
I’d say it was double overhead on the sets. I took out the gun. I was sitting out the back and saw this absolute monster almost breaking on the outer bar, so I paddled super deep. It came in, and it just started sucking up. It jacked up, and I turned and scratched into it.
I almost got hung up on the lip and air dropped (surfer will strike a pose here, limbs fully extended, like doing jumping jacks) down the face. I nearly ate it. I barely made the bottom turn.
This thing just started to heave. I pumped and pulled into the biggest barrel I’ve ever seen. I had to back door, the thing was so deep. The lip came over, and this thing was an absolute cavern. (Arms held wide in full extension to indicate the width of the barrel.)
It started sucking up off the bar, just dredging. Total evil slab. (A hand held up like a sort of claw, fingers flexed and arched, and a sound effect: “Gggrrrraahhhhhhh.”) I got so pitted.
I pumped again and grabbed the rail, pig-dogged my way through, dodged a chandelier, and got spit out so hard. There was a big open shoulder, and I did a huge cutback. (A hand flashes by in a swooping arc.)
 Very high quality.
 A trope among surfers: the suggestion it was better right before you got there.
 A wave with a central peak, breaking in both directions.
 Pulling water off.
 Breaking with extreme force.
 Spraying water vapor. This happens because the pressure inside a barreling wave rises as its volume decreases, which creates a pressurized mist that sprays forcefully out the end of the barrel.
 Waves are measured in relation to the size of the human body. Double overhead is approximately 10 to 12 feet tall.
 A series of waves that is larger than the median size.
 Surfboard designed for bigger waves.
 Out past the breaking waves.
 Shallow banks far offshore.
 Closer to the peak.
 Drawing water off the sandbar and becoming hollow.
 Grew taller.
 Paddled vigorously.
 Breaking edge of a wave.
 A free fall into the wave.
 Wiped out.
 Drawn-out turn done at the bottom, flat portion of a wave.
 Throw its mass forward.
 Driving one’s momentum up and forward along the face of a wave to generate speed.
 Committing to being inside the barrel.
 This word indicates you are most likely hearing a lie.
 The hollow interior of a breaking wave.
 Enter a barrel from behind the peak.
 A big, dark, wide, scary-looking barrel.
 Pulling water off the bar so forcefully it draws sand and stones up into the surfer’s face.
 An especially heavy, intense barrel that breaks in shallow water.
 Barreled; inside the hollow barrel of a breaking wave.
 The edge of a surfboard.
 Crouched low, holding the rail for dear life.
 A section of a wave’s lip that breaks away and falls into the barrel.
 Exiting the barrel with the mist of spray produced by fast-breaking, hollow waves. See footnote no. 8.
 The unbroken, open section of a wave’s face.
 Big, swooping arc-shaped turn.
 Made, did.
 A maneuver in which the surfer launches off the lip of the wave and lands. (This statement is also probably a lie.)
 Rode along the top of the lip of a breaking wave.
 A term with broad meaning, from really good to really bad. Dangerous, high quality, scary, amazing.
 Overwhelmingly excited, fired up, bursting with vitality.
 A young, energetic, frothing surfer kid.