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In the old days of surfing in South Africa, you did it for the enjoyment. As legendary figure Harry Bold says, they would prop up their massive boards against a wall on the beach, and leave them there, safely. Surfing was for fun. The language they used was a more quaint version of the mutant surfspeak we use today.

AGGRESSIVE SURFER

Surfer who pushed the limits. In the 1950s and 1960s, you were called ‘aggressive’ if you ‘attacked’ the waves to do moves.

COVER-UP

Surfer rides out of sight behind the lip. ‘He got a cover-up’.

BACKIE

A wave that breaks in the area furthest from the shore, where the biggest swells are encountered – the back line.

BROADIE

A wave that breaks with a wall to enable the surfer to track across the wall, parallel to shore.

DRAK

Nasty, horrible or yucky.

FOAMIE

The broken white water of a wave.

GREMMIE

Young, inexperienced or learner surfer. Now known as grommets.

HIT OUT

Paddle out.

KRAAKER

Big, powerful, good wave. The word used nowadays is ‘cooker’.

KOOK

Derogatory term for gremmies.

LOCKED IN

Under the lip but not covered up. Riding in the curl of the wave. ‘He was locked in.’

LUNCH

Wipe-out. ‘Jack was about to get his lunch.’

PEARLED

Nose of the board digs in. ‘Chookie caught a kraaker, but pearled when taking off.’ The term has since been bastardised. Today a pearler means a perfect wave.

PLAY

Classic, great. ‘Let’s hit out, the slides are play,’ means ‘Let’s paddle out, the surf is cooking.’

ROOSTER TRAIL

Surfboard wake. Heavier and longer surfboards created a more defined spray. Modern surfers draw a thinner line with lighter, shorter boards.

SKITOOLS

Baggies. A term for the loose-fitting board shorts worn while surfing.

SKEG

Fin.

SLIDE

Wave. The wave at St Francis is a ‘right slide’.

SOUP

Broken wave or white water. ‘The wave closed out and he rode the soup.’

STOKEY

Someone who is stoked.

TAKES GAS

Wipe-out. More literally, this term referred to a surfer being knocked off his board by the wave.

TOO MUCH

Unreal, radical. Today’s equivalent would be ‘classic’, ‘rad’ or ‘awesome’. That wave was ‘too much’.

ZIGZAG

The motion of a surfboard.
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