The glossary of skimboarding terms and slang

May 10, 2021 | Skimboarding
Skimboarding: a sport with its unique vocabulary and slang | Photo: Red Bull

Skimboarders have their own breed of language. The vocabulary of skimming has been growing since the sport was created in 1920s California.

Skim lingo and jargon evolved, like the sport itself, from a mix of surfing language and skateboarding terms.

So, if you hear someone say something like, "dude, you killed it last sesh with that no-comply before grindin' the railside! Steezy!" you will understand what they are saying by checking the following glossary of skim terms.

Once you learn the most commonly used terms and expressions in skimboarding, get out and "shred some gnar."

180, 360, 540, 720, 900 - the degree of spin of a skimboarder's board when performing a maneuver. For example, in a 180, the board does a one-half spin, so the tail goes to the front. A 360 is a complete rotation around - the board completes a full spin so that the nose ends up in front again;

360 shove-it - to make the board spin 360 degrees underneath the rider when jumping in the air;

540 shove-it - making the board spin 540 degrees underneath the rider when jumping in the air;

50/50 - a trick performed on an obstacle so that the board is sliding perpendicular and along it. The rider will either be leading with their frontside or backside edge. It is also called a railslide;

Acid drop - a way of landing on the board by holding it in one hand, running, dropping it, and landing on it in one smooth move. It is also named a suitcase drop;

Aerial - when you jump off of a wave - or rail - and land back down on the board;

Air - to get air is to jump and get the skimboard into the air. This can be achieved by either popping off a wave, rail or doing an ollie;

Backside - in flatland skimboarding, it is riding forward with the board at 90 degrees, leaning on the back rail, so the board is sideways and the skimmer's chest is facing the direction of the movement. In wave skimboarding, it is riding out into the ocean so that your back is facing the wave;

Bail - to fall or crash. It is also known as a wipeout;

Bail out - to give up on a trick halfway through by jumping or rolling off the board before a potential wipeout;

Bank - a surface area of sand that rises up from the rest of the ground caused by water erosion;

Barrel - when the wave surrounds the rider. It is also known as the tube;

Base - the bottom, smooth side of the skimboard; The side that glides in the water;

Basecoat - the bottom layer of wax put on the board first to provide a solid grip for the rest of the wax;

Beach bunny - a hot or cute girl who hangs out with skimboarders and watches them skim;

Beachwood - the best skimboarding conditions ever;

Beaver call - the act of slapping the board with your hand when someone lands a good trick or bails hard or funny;

Big spin - to do a 360 shove-it combined with a 180 body varial;

Blunt - to ride an obstacle using the tail end of the skimboard. The more vertical the board, the better;

Board - a short for a skimboard. It is also called plank, stick, or deck;

Boardslide - when the board is sliding sideways. When sliding on a rail, the board is perpendicular - also done on flats and waves;

Body varial - to jump into the air and spin without spinning the board. The rider will know they performed this right if they land with their back forward;

Boneyard - an area with lots of rocks, shells, sticks, or other debris - not a good place to be;

Bust-a-grumpy - a trick performed really well, and that is landed smoothly;

Butter - a move done smoothly. Also, a spin trick executed on a rail;

Carve - to turn the board in the water to go another direction. Skimboarders carve the wave;

Chronic - high quality;

Coffin - an easy trick done by laying down on the skimboard on your back, with legs straight out and arms crossed over chest as if you were dead in a coffin;

Comp - a short for competition. Also sometimes called jam;

Cruncher - a big wave that folds over too quickly and is very difficult to ride. It is often the result of onshore wind;

Deck - the top of a skimboard. It can also refer to the board itself, which can also be called a plank, stick, or sled;

Deck grip - a piece of foam or foam-like padding that is stuck onto the top of the board that gives the skimmer's feet a soft grip to control the board with. It is also called a traction pad or stomp pad;

Delamination - when the layers of the board - either fiberglass or wood - start to separate and come off the board. It may start to bubble or chip off;

Dialed - a move that is easy to perform by the skimmer. For instance, "I've got that suitcase drop dialed." It is also named stock or locked;

Ding - either the action of damaging a skimboard due to hitting or sliding over an object or the actual damage caused to the board from hitting or sliding over an object;

Doggers - super bright, crazy, busy, multi-colored swim shorts;

Down the line - when a skimmer catches a wave and rides it out - they are riding it down the line;

Dude - usually a term for a skimmer, but it can also just be a statement or expression;

Eagle eye - someone watching you from a distance while you are skimming;

Edit - a short, edited skimboarding video;

Epic - a description of a super awesome event or skimming conditions. For example, an epic skimboarding session;

Fakie stance - when the skimmer is standing on the board the way they would normally, but both the rider and the board are traveling backward, i.e., with their back foot first;

Fatty - this can mean either far or high - a skimboarding trick that covers a long distance or goes really high;

Fish stick - when skimming past someone who is standing still and smacking their hand with yours so that you start to spin on your board;

Flapjack - when you break your board in half;

Flatland skimboarding - a discipline of skimboarding that does not involve waves and is usually done along sand shorelines, rivers, puddles, or any smooth surface of water;

Flip - the act of flipping the board over, using any desired method, and landing back on the deck with the bottom back in the water;

Fly away - when the rider is launched off the board, into the air, either by going over a wave or the end of the rail;

Foamie - a skimboard made with a foam core for wave skimming;

Footy - video footage;

Frontside - in flatland skimboarding, it means riding backward with the board at a 90 degree (half) turn, leaning on the front rail, so the board is sideways and the skimmer's back is facing the direction of movement. In wave skimboarding, it is riding out into the ocean so that the skimmer's chest is facing the wave;

Gnarly (or gnar) - an extreme action or conditions that are intense, either very good or very bad - high on the scale of dangerousness and coolness;

Goofy stance - the foot position when a skimmer rides so their right foot is the front lead foot, and the left foot is at the back;

Grab - to grab the board by either rail;

Grind - to slide the board along an obstacle such as a rail, log or boat, etc.;

Grom (or grommet) - a young skimboarder who is a child or in their early teens;

Hand plant - to plant your hand on the ground like a handstand while holding your board in the air with your feet or the other hand;

Hippy jump - when the skimmer jumps off the board, so they go over an obstacle with an opening below, while the board goes under it, and then lands back on the board on the other side;

Indy grab - to grab the front of the skimboard with the rear hand;

Inland skimboarding - flatland skimboarding in rivers, quarries, puddles, ponds, etc., and not done on coastal shores;

Jam - a skim competition, but usually less formal;

Jib - a jib is an obstacle that the board slides on - rail, wood, tire, box, etc. To jib is the action of sliding the board on an obstacle;

Kick - where the tail and/or nose of the board curve upwards so they can be used to kick the board for tricks;

Kick out - at the end of the run, kick out the board forward to get it going again and jump back on for another ride;

Kill - to do a maneuver or trick perfectly;

Kink - where the angle of a rail or obstacle changes, bends, or kinks;

Legit - something that is cool, real, or truthful. It also refers to a well-executed maneuver;

Lip - the top edge or end of a rail;

Locked - a trick that is easy for the skimmer to do. It is also called stock or dialed;

Mellon Collie - when a skimboarder grabs the back of their skimboard with their leading hand while doing an ollie;

No compleezy - a no-comply trick done using the back foot;

No comply - to plant your front foot on the ground, spin the board around, get back on and keep riding;

Nollie - an opposite ollie. Place the front foot at the nose, the back foot in the middle, and kick down on the board to jump into the air;

Nollie stance - when the rider moves their foot position up on the board. Starting from their normal riding position, skimmers slide their feet forward so that the front foot moves to the nose of the board and the back foot moves to the middle;

Nose - the front end of the skimboard;

Nose slide - to slide along an object using the nose of the board;

Offshore wind - the direction of the wind when it is blowing toward the ocean (off from the shore). This is an excellent wind to skim in because it helps control the waves;

Ollie - to make the board jump up in the air while you're still on top of it;

Onshore wind - the direction of the wind when it is blowing toward the shore from the ocean (on to the shore);

One-footer - any trick performed with one foot;

Party wave - when a group of skimmers run together and ride the same wave at the same time, usually in a line. It is also known as train;

Peace/Peace out - goodbye, see you later, etc.;

Plank - slang for a skimboard. It is also known as board, stick, sled, or deck;

Pooched - a trick that didn't work out or was screwed up;

Pop - to jump to get the board out of the water. It also relates to the bounce a board has due to its rocker;

Pop shove-it - the combination of an ollie and a shove-it executed by jumping in the air with the board and spinning it around simultaneously;

Potato chip - a poorly made or cheap wooden skimboard, usually from a dollar store. They almost always warp and/or break very easily;

Rail - either edge of the skimboard. Also, an obstacle, usually made of wood and PVC piping that skimboarders ride and do tricks on;

Railslide - a trick executed on an obstacle, so the board is sliding perpendicular along it. The rider will either be leading with their frontside or backside edge. It is also called 50/50;

Regular stance - the way a skimmer rides when the left foot is in front (lead foot) of the right (back foot);

Revert - to quickly turn the board 180 degrees after landing a trick;

Rocker - the curve along the length of a skimboard from nose to tail. This is what gives a board its pop and determines how bouncy it is;

Rooster tail - the spray of water trailed behind a skimmer when carving;

Sandman - to fall flat onto the sand;

Sesh - the duration of time that someone skims for. A short for a session;

Seshing - the term used when a group of skimboarders is skimming together for a duration of time. They are seshing;

Session - the duration of time that someone skims for. See also sesh;

Sex change - a combination of a shove-it and a body varial. As you jump in the air with the board, spin it with your foot and also spin your body, so you are facing the other side;

Shove-it/shuvit - to jump in the air with the board and, using your back foot, kick the board, so it spins 180 or 360 degrees beneath you before you land back on it;

Shred/Shreddin' - to skim very well and very hard, usually in waves or on obstacles. For example, "dude, you were shreddin' the gnar today!";

Sick - a term used to describe something that is really awesome or a move performed really well;

Side slip - when a skimboarder is riding out to a wave, they can turn their board sideways - parallel to the wave - so that the board covers more water surface area to maximize speed. Thereby, they slip onto the wave;

Sketchy - something that could be potentially dangerous or a messy fall;

Skim - short for skimboarding. For example, "The low tide is at 1 pm. Let's skim";

Skimmer - a synonym for skimboarder;

Skimming - a synonym for skimboarding;

Sled - another word for skimboard;

Snake - when someone cuts in front of another skimmer when they are about to go. For example, "He just snaked my ride! Not cool, dude.";

Spray - the trail of water generated from the movement of the skimmer's board;

Speed run - when the skimmer rides off the wave and onto the sand;

Suitcase drop - a way of riding a skimboard by holding it in one hand, running, dropping it, and landing on it in one smooth move. It is also called an acid drop;

Stalefish grab - to grab the back of your board with your rear hand, near your rear leg;

Steez/steezy - to do something with style and ease;

Stick - slang for a skimboard. See also board, plank, sled, or deck;

Stock - a trick that is easy for the skimmer to do. It is also named dialed or locked;

Stoked - really excited;

Stomp - to land a trick;

Stomp pad - a piece of foam or foam-like padding that is stuck onto the top of the board that gives the skimmer's feet a soft grip to control the board with. It is also known as traction pad or deck grip;

Switch stance - to ride the board the stance that you don't normally ride. For example, if you are goofy and try riding regular, or if you normally ride regular and try riding goofy;

Swivel (180) - a not a fluid butter trick. For instance, to spin a 180 butter in the middle of a rail quick;

Taco rocker - the curve across the width of the skimboard, from rail to rail;

Tail - the back end of a skimboard;

Topcoat - the secondary layer of wax that is applied over the basecoat on the deck of skimboard for extra traction;

Traction pad - a piece of foam or foam-like padding that is stuck onto the top of the board that gives the skimmer's feet a soft grip to control the board with. It is also called a stomp pad or deck grip;

Train - when a group of skimmers run together and ride the same wave at the same time, usually in a line. It is also known as party wave;

Tube - when the wave surrounds the rider. It is also called a barrel;

Tweak - to point the board in a different direction;

Water buffalo - to fall in shallow water;

Wax - a sticky wax slathered on the top of a skimboard to give the rider's feet traction to control the board;

Werd - it has many meanings and depends on tone and context. It is usually an agreement with something but can also be in disapproval. It is often used as a greeting of acknowledgment;

Widdly - a trick when the rider flips off a wave while holding the board under their feet;

Woody - a skimboard made out of wood;

Worked - to get worked is an extravagant wipeout - not a good thing, although it can be quite entertaining;

Wrapping - to turn around and ride down a wave in the other direction;

Yo - usually a form of greeting or expression to get someone's attention;


Words by Nicole Rigler | Skimboarder

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