Surf ABC

Our Planet Surf Camps - Surf ABC

Here is our Surf ABC, so that you won’t feel lost at your next surf session or while reading the newest surf magazine, and so you can actively participate in the conversation during a chill day on the beach. 





An aerial is one of the toughest surfing tricks. Using a steep wave as a ramp, pick up speed as you go up the wave and jump up with your board over the lip, landing on flat or white water.


An A-frame is an optimally shaped wave with an apex in the middle, so consequently take-offs are possible from this highest point both to the right and to the left and the wave breaks evenly in both directions.


As a beginner, you don't yet have much experience with a surfboard and surfing or you have tried to surf white wash several times, more or less successfully.
A beginner's surfing class is first and foremost about acquainting yourself with the board and the sea. The ultimate goal will be to safely learn the first and most important maneuver, the take-off, on smaller, already broken waves. Furthermore, it's important to teach you some surf theory basics about weather, waves, tides and currents at various surf spots to give you the necessary knowledge, the necessary respect and safety to surf alone outside of a surf lesson.


Angling or angle take-off is understood as the oblique start and surf down the wave.

Warming up

The warm-up is an essential part of a healthy surf session and includes a series of typical surfer-style exercises to prepare your body for the unfamiliar and stressful movements. It serves to stimulate your cardiovascular system and increase your body temperature. The goal is to activate the muscles or muscle groups that you use the most during surfing without full utilization (maximum 50%) and to stimulate their nutrient supply and circulation.





In the backside or backhand, the waves are surfed with your backs to the wave wall. A regular footer surfs to the left, a goofy footer to the right.


A barrel or tube is a hollow wave that arises when the lip of a steep wave breaks on the surface of the water, but there remains an opening on one side through which the surfer can surf out.


A beach break is a surf spot where waves break on a smooth and gently sloping beach, most often on a sandbank. Due to external influences, such as storms or currents, sandbanks can change their position and thus the surfing conditions on a beach. Especially for beginners, many of these beaches offer the best and safest conditions.



The blank refers to the surfboard blank, i.e. the core of the board before it is further processed by the shaper and then laminated.


The bodyboard is a small board similar to the surfboard, which is used to catch waves on the torso or the knees. The surfer uses short hard rubber fins to achieve sufficient speed on the wave. The board is attached to the surfer's wrist or upper arm with a leash.

Bottom Turn

The bottom turn is one of the most important maneuvers, as most of the other maneuvers follow. Here the surfer turns his board back up onto the wave following the direction of the wave wall after riding it down, in order to be able to ride it horizontally. You can either do a forehand bottom turn, i.e. so that your face and your torso are facing the wave wall, or a backhand bottom turn, i.e. so that your face and upper body point away from the wave wall.


In surfing, there are so-called swells, which break when they reach the shallow coastal areas either on sandbanks (beachbreak), reefs (reef break) or directly on the coastline (shorebreak). The bigger the swell, the bigger the surf.


A surfboard is an elongated board made with a buoyant material used for surfing. It's very light, yet sturdy enough to carry the surfer when they catch a wave and stand up on it.




A channel is a flow that occurs when the water of the broken waves flows back into the sea. In this area, the water is deeper and there are less or no waves breaking, so the surfer can paddle easier to the line up.


The Chicken-Dive is your last resort when a wave is about to beeak on you. The surfer throws their surfboard behind them and dives without the board through or under the body of the wave. Before the surfer lets go of their board, they must make sure that no one in the vicinity could be injured by their board.


A choppy sea means troubled and agitated water or scattered and unevenly incoming waves caused by strong winds or currents.


A close-out is understood as the simultaneous breaking of the wave along its entire length, so that it can't be surfed.


Surf conditions are understood as environmental factors which, depending on their characteristics, ensure optimum or suboptimal wave conditions. Here, main factors and individual factors can be distinguished. The main factors that have a big influence on the wave quality include the swell direction, the swell period and the swell height, and thus the resulting wave height, the tides, the wind and the spot background. Individually, factors like how crowded the spot is or - especially for beginners - how tall the standing area is in the water, add to the main factors and influence the surf conditions.


The cutback is a maneuver that follows the bottom turn. Here, the surfer rides the wave wall like an "S" from top to bottom. To do this, he first rides the wall diagonally up, makes a turn, surfs the wave diagonally and sets a turn again. Now the line of sight is again as in the starting position. In a roundhouse cutback, the turns are executed so radically that the direction of travel changes by 180°.


Currents generally refer to the transport of masses of water which can be in both horizontal and vertical directions. The currents are mainly influenced by winds and tides. There are local and periodically changing currents, but also continual global ocean currents such as the gulf stream.

Currents are created by temperature differences and different salt contents together with the effect of solar radiation. But the wind also has a decisive influence. In general, there are several factors that cause different currents: duration, cause, water temperature and location in the sea.

Surfers are mainly affected by currents caused by broken waves. The waves going into the beach bring a lot of water towards the land, which after the breaking of the waves flows back to the sea and finally creates an outward current. In addition, it's important to pay attention to the coastal lateral current, which runs parallel to the beach and pulls the surfer in the line up to the left or right.

Currents can be dangerous, but our surf instructors are naturally trained to recognize this danger. Before you go into the water, they will always give you clear instructions on where to surf and where it is too dangerous. Always pay attention to the whistles and signs of your surf instructor.




Delamination is a break of the outer layer of the surfboard. Due to this damage water can penetrate the outer coating and get to the surfboard core and with heat the water rises to the surface creating a bubble. A delamination should be repaired as soon as possible, otherwise it can spread and the surfboard loses stability.


Ding is just another term for any damage done to your surfboard.


The drop in the wave comes right after the take-off.


In a drop-in, the surfer ignores the priority of another surfer and paddles in their wave, although it is already being surfed by the other surfer.


The Duck Dive is a technique that allows the surfer to swim through the surf zone or individual broken waves without being pushed back to the shore by breaking waves. To do so, the surfer dips the board tip and then presses the rest of the board under water with their foot or knee. Finally, the surfer dives with the board and reappears behind the wave. This technique is the most effective way to overcome white water waves.



Low tide

At low tide, the water has reached its lowest level. At this time, the waves break further out than usual and rocks and stones can appear. At this tide surfers have to take the most caution.
If you go surfing alone at low tide, you should inform yourself in the local surf shops or talk to locals about the bottom and possible dangers (currents). Here in our surf schools the surf instructors always go with you to the best conditions in the water, so you have maximum safety and a lot of fun.


Epoxy or epoxy resin is a material used to make surfboards. It has the beneficial properties of being lighter and less prone to shocks than other materials. The disadvantage is the difficult and time-consuming processing, the high price and that it's more toxic than other materials.




The fin is part of the surfboard. It is attached to the tail on the underside of the board for directional control and turning manoeuvers. There are several forms of fins, the most typical of which is similar to a dolphin fin.


The floater is one of the first tricks that a surfer learns. To do this, the surfer turns on the lip of the wave and then surfs along it (similar to grind when skateboarding), until he finally rides the wave straight towards the beach or turns again into the green wave. The floater is executed as a final maneuver or to bypass broken wave sections.

High Tide

At high tide, the water has reached its peak. At this time, the waves break closer to the beach than at low tide, and the larger masses of water make the waves run longer and can be surfed more easily.


In frontside or front hand, the waves are surfed face to face with the wave wall. A regular footer surfs to the right, a goofy footer to the left.


The foot measurement (English foot (ft)) is a unit of measurement that is often used in the surfer world. For example, the swell height, wave height or surfboard dimensions are given in feet. One foot is 30.48cm.




Glassing is the process of laminating the surfboard core with glass fiber mats and resin in order to give the surfboard its stability.


Glassy refers to windless surf conditions, when the water surface is absolutely calm and smooth like glass. This does not mean, however, that the sea is wave-free in any case, since the term refers only to the water surface and not to its entire depth. Glassy surf conditions are the dream of every surfer, as the board glides more smoothly on the wave. (Opposite: Choppy)y


Goofy refers to a standing position on the surfboard. The surfer has their right foot in front and left at the back of the board.

Green Room

The cavity of the barrel or tube is called a green room. Since the surfer is completely enclosed by the wave, it seems like a "green space" to them.

Grüne Welle/green wave

The green wave is to be understood as an unbroken wave. Surfing them is the goal of every beginner.



Hang Loose

Hang Loose means something like "stay relaxed", it's a hand gesture that serves as a welcome to surfers. Here, the thumb and the little finger is stretched, while all other fingers remain bent.



Impact Zone

The impact zone describes the area in which the lip of the wave crashes onto the surface of the water.


The inch is a unit of measurement that's also for surfboards. One inch measures 2.54 cm and 12 inches measure one foot.



Kick out

The kick out is a maneuver to avoid a close-out or crashing into another surfer. Here, the surfer "kicks" the board backwards behind the wave to get off of it.




The leash is a urethane strap that connects the surfer to their board so that it does not get washed away with the waves. One end is attached to the surfer's ankle and the other to the tail of the surfboard.


A lefthander is a wave breaking from right to left - facing the beach - and it's surfed to the left. Such waves are also called simply lefts.

Line Up

The line up is the area where surfers wait for green waves. Depending on the wave height, this is usually behind the surf zone, but it may vary depending on tides and currents. Surfers in the line up should seek a reference point on the beach, where they can orient themselves to keep their position.


The lip is the upper part of the wave that emerges when the body starts to break. With steep waves, this can break into a barrel. There are some maneuvers that are carried out against the lip and are more difficult to ride, since the wave is not very stable here.


In order to teach as a surf instructor, licenses are required. Many different organisations and federations assign these licenses. Additionally, surf camps with licenses are awarded, as they're comparable to a kind of seal of quality. Official and recognized licenses are e.g. FES, DWV, ISA, BSA or FCS.


Locals refers to the surfers that are local to the area. People can defend their surf spot more or less aggressively, so if you go surfing to a new spot, you should ask someone or observe what the attitude of the locals is. As a surfing tourist you should always treat them with respect.


The longboard is a type of surfboard, which is much longer than the average (9'-10'ft or more). Due to its thickness, it has a larger volume than other surfboards and is therefore easier to slide. However, handling the wave is more difficult, making it unsuitable for beginners.


The lycra is a close-fitting, elastic t-shirt (long or short sleeved) that protects the surfer from the sun and the friction of the board or brings more warmth over the wetsuit. In surfing schools, lycras are used to assign students to the corresponding surfing school.




Mushy is an expression used to describe a weak, powerless wave.



Non-verbal Instructions

Non-verbal instructions are given by the surf instructor to the students. These are special hand movements that the instructor uses if the student is not wwithin hearing range. For example, it can be communicated to the student that they have drifted too far with the current or they should go back into waist-high water.

Northshore Fuerteventura

The North shore of Fuerteventura has the most surf spots on the entire island. Reefbreaks, pointpreaks and beach breaks give ideal options for every surf level, with most breaks being reef breaks. From Corralejo, a gravel road leads to most spots. Due to its good orientation, the Noth shore is blessed with first-class swell throughout the whole year.


The nose is the front part (the top) of the surfboard. It can be round, pointed or a mixture of the two forms mentioned above.




Offshore indicates the wind direction at the beach. This wind direction is the most popular among surfers, as under these conditions, the waves get steeper, slower and possibly even break in barrels.

Off The Lip

Off the lip is a tricky maneuver, where the surfer does a turn against the lip of the wave.


Onshore indicates the onshore wind direction, causing the waves to flatten and break faster.


Outside refers to the area behind the line up. Surfers are in this area to watch the wave sets or surf the biggest swells in a very strong swell, as most of the big waves break there. Outside can also refer to a spot where waves break very far out due to e.g. an outside reef.


Overhead provides information about the wave height, which in this case - as the name suggests - extends beyond the head of the standing surfer. For example, the height can be 2 ft overhead, 3ft overhead, double overhead, and so on.




The footpad, deck pad, traction pad, tail pad or just pad is a thin, textured, self-adhesive foam mat that is stuck to the tail of the surf board, which gives the surfer the necessary grip on his surfboard as an alternative to surf wax.


Paddling is how the surfer gets into the line up. It's also one of the first steps to catch a wave. You have to paddle into the wave to get started, so that it takes you and your board with it. The board must slide at least as fast as the wave moves. The body should lie calmly on the board while paddling, with the upper body and head slightly raised to give you more comfort and strength when moving your arms through the water.


The peak is where the wave is at its highest and where it first begins to break; the vertex of the wave, so to speak. This is the optimal point to start surfing the wave. The surfer with the closest position to the peak has priority to surf the wave. In order to position yourself appropriately in the line-up, some experience in wave reading is required.


A plug is the device on the tail of the surfboard to which the leash is attached, but it can also refer to the brackets in which the fins are mounted on the back of the board.




Quiver refers to the surfboard collection that a surfer has to have to have to have the optimal board for all conditions.




The rails are simply the "edges" of a surfboard.


In a reef break, the bottom of the spot consists of stones, rocks or corals. The advantage of a reefbreak is the stable conditions that is offers and the constant breaking waves.


The re-entry is one of the more radical maneuvers. The surfer makes a powerful 180° turn against the breaking part of the wave.


Regular refers to a standing position on the surfboard. If the surfer surfs with their left foot in the front of the board, they are called a regular surfer.


Righthanders are waves that break from left to right (facing the beach), which are surfed to the right. Such waves are also simply called rights.


The rocker or the rocker scoop line describes the bending of the nose or the tail viewed from the side. Depending on the strength of the bend, the surfboard aquires different ride characteristics.




A set consists of several waves that build up and break in regular intervals. It starts with smaller waves, followed by larger and then decreasing waves.


A shaper is the person who plans and shapes the surfboard core before the board is laminated (glassed).


The shortboard is the board of the pros and the board most often used in contests. It is relatively short (between 5'6 and 7'ft), light, has a small volume and a pointed nose. The shape of the board gives it the best maneuverability for fast, radical movements. However, it only has a very small buoyancy, making it harder for the surfer to paddle through the waves.


Sideshore indicates a wind direction lateral to the coastline.


The softboard is the beginner board because it has a soft foam padding on the deck and soft rubber fins, so the beginner and others in the water can not get hurt. The shape of a softboard is similar to a Malibu or Minimalibu.


A surf spot is a spot on a beach or reef, where there are good and regular conditions for surfing. We distinguish between beach breaks and reef breaks.


The stringer is a strip of wood that runs through the middle of the surfboard and depending on the thickness, contributes to different degrees of resistance of the board.

Surf Instructor

A surf instructor has a license to give surf lessons. There are a variety of licenses, the ISA (International Surfing Association) is the most known, because you can teach with it internationally. For example, in the Canary Islands you need the Federación Canaria de Surf license (FCS) to teach. Here the ISA is not enough.


These are waves not caused by local winds, but by expiring sea storms. A swell can often come from faraway regions and then hit the shallower waters of the coast at a different latitude, creating surfable waves.
The swell height is already a good indication of the wave height. However, the swell period and the swell direction also influence the conditions. The swell period is given in seconds and indicates the time it takes for successive waves to pass the same point. The longer the period, the more ordered the waves are and the bigger they become. As a guideline: For ordered waves, the period should be at least 9 seconds. If the period doubles at the same swell level, the surfable waves will increase by about 50%. With regard to the swell direction, it is best if the swell is coming head-on to the spot.




The tail is the bottom part of the surfboard, close to where the surfer's back foot will be.

Take Off

The take-off is the basis of surfing. It's the process of getting from a lying to a standing position on a surfboard. The prerequisite for making a successful take-off on green ("unbroken") waves is to have practiced the movement on the beach and in the white wash.


The tides are caused by the attraction of the sun and the moon of the earth cyclic water movements of the seas. In linguistic usage one speaks at the lowest level of the sea of low tide and at the highest level of high tide. The tides have an influence on the surfing conditions. The tidal range indicates the height difference between low and high tide. Although the range, which is caused by the attraction of the moon, is only about 30 cm, the height differences caused by currents on the coast are several meters.

Top Turn

The top turn is - unlike the bottom turn, which runs in the valley of the wave - surfed against the upper part of the wave. The forehand and backhand top turn can be distonguished. The surfer rides up the wave wall and then turns their board back towards the valley of the wave.


Tow-in is understood as the surfer being pulled into the wave by a third party (e.g. by a jet ski), since the wave is too big or too fast to be paddled by the surfer themself.


The turtle roll is another technique to traverse the surf zone or broken waves. The surfer turns the board over themself (the finns point upwards) and pulls the nose under the water so that the wave can run over him and his board. This technique is mostly used with longboards, as their volume and buoyancy make a duck-dive almost impossible.




The wax serves to give the surfer more grip on the board and prevent slipping. It is applied to the top of the surfboard. Due to different water temperatures, there are also different types of wax.


A wetsuit is a neoprene suit that keeps the surfer warm through a thin layer of water between the body and the suit. Depending on the water temperature, wetsuits are available in different lengths and thicknesses. For example, for warmer waters there are short (short S/S) sleeved and legged wetsuits of a thickness of 3/2 mm, i.e. a thickness of 3 mm on the upper body and 2 mm on the arms and legs. The fit should be particularly tight without creating air pockets or wrinkles for optimal thermal insulation.

White Wash/Soup

White wash are already broken waves, which are recognizable by white foam crowns.

Wipe Out

In a wipe out the surfer falls off their surfboard. A wipe out is often followed by a wash in white water.