If you’re in California studying English, one thing is certain to happen: you’ll pick up some California slang!

Not surprisingly, a lot of California slang has its roots in the surfing culture. Below are some words often used by surfers, but you don’t have to be a surfer to use these slang words; in fact, many are commonly used by Californians. In the cases when a word is used both by surfers and the land-loving populations, we have included both definitions. 


Surfer Slang (used by everyone)

Generation definition: Having an aggressive attitude; having a bad attitude.

Example: You are such an aggro driver. 

Surfer definition: Being aggressive in the water

Example: He became really aggro when he was stuck in traffic.

General definition: Getting excited about something.

Example: I’m amped about tomorrow’s test because I studied really hard for it. 

Surfer definition: Getting excited to surf.

Example: I’m so amped for our trip to Las Vegas!

Generation definition: To leave.

Example: I’m tired. Do you want to bail? (from a place, such as a party)

Surfer definition: to jump of the surfboard in order to avoid being thrown off because of a wave.

Example: He bailed in the middle of the wave. 


Surfer Slang (used only by surfers)

General definition: the purple dinosaur on a children’s show.

Surfer definition: An inexperienced surfer.

Example: I was a total barney for the first year, so don’t give up when you first try surfing!

Beach Leech
General definition: There isn’t one! This is entirely a surfer term.

Surfer definition: A person who doesn’t bring their own supplies to the beach and borrows (leeches) yours.

Example: Your roommate is such a beach leech. I don’t have any sunscreen anymore because he used all of mine.

Generation definition: a name for a male.

Surfer definition: A non local.

Example: There were a bunch of bennies at the beach this morning.


To learn some more California slang, check out some of our other articles on the subject:

And be sure to check out our articles on surfing in California!

Would you like to learn some more surfer slang? Check out this article from Surfing Waves about “surf speak.”

Photos from Shutterstock.