Surf Webcams

Know your Surf

Understand the surf talk and get in with Newquay’s surf craze.

  • Beach break: An area where waves that are good enough to surf break just off a beach, or on a sandbar farther out
  • Blown out: When waves that would otherwise be good have been rendered too choppy by wind
  • Bomb: An exceptionally large set wave
  • Choppy, chop: Waves that are subjected to cross winds have a rough surface (chop) and do not break cleanly
  • Close-out: A wave is said to be “closed-out” when it breaks at every position along the face at once, and therefore cannot be surfed
  • Face: The forward-facing surface of a breaking wave
  • Gas chamber or Barrel: The effect when a big wave rolls over, enclosing a temporary horizontal tunnel of air with the surfer inside
  • Glassy: When the waves (and general surface of the water) are extremely smooth and glossy, not disturbed by wind
  • Gnarly: Large, difficult, and dangerous (usually applied to waves)
  • Line-up: The area where most of the waves are starting to break and where most surfers are positioned to catch
  • Off the hook: A positive phrase meaning the waves are a very good size and shape
  • Outside: The part of the water’s surface that is farther from the shore than the area where most waves are breaking
  • Point break: Area where an underwater rocky point creates waves that are suitable for surfing
  • Set waves: A group of waves of larger size within a swell
  • Shoulder: The unbroken part of the wave
  • Swell: A series of waves that have traveled from their source in a distant storm, and that will start to break once the swell reaches shallow enough water