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Kanoa Surf GLossary

Search through our list of words to see an explanation of what you need to know.

A wave-shaped like a peak that breaks both left and right, equally.

A/V-ST stands for Aluminum Stringer and Vinyl Skin Technology, which is the formula behind our #perfoamy. The double T-Aluminium Stringer provides the needed stiffness and drive and allows the Foamy to perform just like a normal surfboard. A thought but soft Vinyl Skin was specially developed to finish off the FOAMY construction. It is wrapped around the hand shaped core and fixed by the PVC rubber band.

Describes the additional equipment that goes with the Board. Leashs, Fins, and Pads are standard accessories.

A little bit of volume in the right places of the board makes KANOA boards super easy to paddle. A board with loads of added volume is our Icebreaker.

Surfing actively on a river wave. Manoeuvres as turns and jumps are made to show the skill level. The Creek 2.0 is the perfect riverboard for this type of surfing.

A very committed and fast turn manoeuvre with loads of spray or with the fins loosing traction on purpose.

A surfboard, which is suitable for all kinds of conditions. The KANOA Playground is an amazing allround board.

A change in the riverbed resulting in a surfable wave. It is man-made, so artificial.

The foot in the back of the board.

This means to surf with your back to the wave.

When riding a wave, facing the beach with your back to the wave.

The bank is the sandbank on which waves break.

The “tube” of the wave, the ultimate ride in surfing, to enter the wave itself as it breaks over you, and successfully exiting. Our KANOA Escalator is the perfect barrel hunter from France to the Maldives.

Beach Break refers to the surf breaking on a sandy beach.

A surfer who just started its surfing career. Find your beginner surfboard here.

Days which deliver bigger waves than the average wave height.

A blank is a block of foam from which a custom surfboard is made.

This is the term used to refer to choppy surf resulting from onshore winds.

The unique way a surfboard is manufactured. Find out more about our PU or Foamy construction.

Board sizes are different for all kinds of conditions and skill sets of the surfer. The board size typically is measured in inch and foot. One inch corresponds to 2,54cm and 12 inch are one foot.

This refers to a turn at the bottom of the wave face.

A place where the surf is exceptionally good. It usually consists of a “peak” or long “peeling” lines of waves.

Voluminous front part of the surfboard, often seen in classic fish design surfboards.
This special shape of the surfboard nose makes the board paddle faster.

A channel refers to a deep water gap between sandbanks or reefs.

Choppy refers to the ocean under an onshore wind.

Citywave is a technology for generating standing waves, developed in Germany, which makes it possible to go surfing all year round. Indoor and outdoor – even in places far from the sea, as is often the case in Central Europe. Surfing is made possible by an artificial river wave generated by several powerful electric water pumps in a pool. This allows everyone to fall in love with rapid surfing. We cooperate with many City Waves all over Europe. You can find out more on our partner page.

City waves around Europe:


  • Citywave, Tokio, Japan
  • Citywave, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Moscowflow, Moscow, Russia
  • Lakeside Surf, Chelan, USA

Find out more about our rental surfboard partnerships with Citywaves and surf pools around Europe.

Clean refers to glassy, peeling waves and/or good surf conditions.

A close-out is a wave that breaks along its entire length simultaneously.

This is a turn wherein you reverse your direction completely, right to left or left to right.

The deck is the upper surface of a board.

Single concave is basically described as a single curve from rail to rail. The deepest part of the curve is along the stringer or centre of the surfboard. The depth of a single concave can vary but it is usually deeper than a double concave.

On Single Concave surfboards, only one concave directs water from the front of the surfboard to the fins and tail of the board. The design allows for faster surfing and works very well in big, clean waves.

This refers to a dent or hole in the surfboard. Check out our accessories for board care products.

Surfing a wave in the direction it is breaking.

The Eisbach is the river crossing Munich, hosting the world’s most famous standing wave. The Creek 2.0 is the perfect board for the Eisbach.

Epoxy refers to one of the basic ingredients or cured end products of epoxy resins, as well as a colloquial term for the epoxy functional group. Epoxy boards are generally slightly lighter and are said to have a slightly harder flex. Epoxy boards also have more buoyancy than polyester boards and are much more durable than polyester surfboards. So you won’t get pressure marks and discoloration as fast as a comparable polyester board.

However, with the patented KANOA HRT technology we can adjust the flex behavior so that no difference can be noticed.

This is the smooth, unbroken portion of the wave.

FCS stands for Fin Control System. The basic FCS fin systems have two tabs or plugs that are secured to the board using set screws.

A slot or plug that in the surfboard manufacturing process is laminated flush to the bottom section of the tail into which fins of various designs can easily be inserted and removed.

A surfboard fin is a hydrofoil mounted at the tail of a surfboard to improve directional stability and control through foot-steering.

The fish is a very recognizable surfboard design: short, wide, thick, flat rocker, with a swallowtail. The volume, width, and thickness of a fish combined with its short length and swallow tail makes for a super-fast board that’s easy to move around but maintains excellent hold when you want it.

Flatter tails mean faster planning boards, but stiffer to turn. More tail rocker will slow the board down, but make it looser.

This refers to momentarily surfing on the outer, top portion of the lip before falling down and in front of the wave while it breaks and continues your ride.

The Foamy is our interpretation of a high performing soft-top surfboard. Super resistant thanks to our patented A/V-ST Construction and soft and secure at the same time. The KANOA foamy is a totally new approach to surfboard construction and shows to be one of the most performing soft-tops out there.

When riding a wave, facing the wave with your back to the beach.

This is what you get when you are riding a KANOA surfboard.

A funboard is a surfboard that’s 6 to 8 feet long and has a rounder/wider outline than shortboards (in-between a longboard and a fish). Checkout our Foamy Fun.

The glassing schedule is the layup of fiberglass cloth that a surfboard has. It forms the “skin” around the foam core.

Glazing is one of the final steps in surfboard shaping. Here the surfboard is covered with a glaze that completely seals the board so that no water can penetrate later. For this purpose, fiberglass mats, resin and a hardener are used. The glassing dries extremely quickly, which is why high precision is required in this step. This is where the surface of the board is given its final shape.

This is to surf with either light offshore wind or no wind at all.

If there were one board to rule them all in the world of tiny waves, the groveler would be it. Grovelers are pretty similar in terms of shape to shortboards, though draw in elements from other boards like fish boards. Their shape has a slightly wider outline and some more volume below the chest so that they are able to perform well in these smaller conditions. The Eggplant is our performance groveler with loads of float and paddle power but also slightly sharper rails towards the tail for some shortboard-like performance. The bigger sizes are the perfect entry level hardboard for up&comers that want to move on from a mini mal or softtop to shred their first shorter surfboard.

A gun is a big wave board which is long and narrow in shape.

Positioning yourself so that all your toes are draped over the nose of the board as you glide down the wave. There’s no such thing as a “cheater ten,” you can’t fake hanging ten.

A Hang Five is a maneuver, more specifically a nose drive, which is mainly performed on longboards. The surfer positions his front foot so far forward that five toes hang over the nose. Therefore known as Hang five (;
The Cheater Five is a variation of the Hang Five. Here, the surfer simply stretches the front foot as far out as possible.

Hardboard constructions usually consist of a foam core, and a glassing layup.

HRT is the abbreviation of “Honey Roots Technology“. HRT is the game changing, ecological performance board construction technology invented by KANOA surfboards.

This the point at which a swell is breaking most heavily and most frequently. If you fall, you should leave the impact zone as quickly as possible. The direct way back into the lineup is not always the fastest. If you fall, use the sideways current to paddle around the breaking waves and avoid larger sets.

An INTERMEDIATE rider is a surfer who can successfully paddle out alone at a familiar location and catch and ride waves to a logical finish frontside or backside, confidently using the three basic surfing turns – bottom turn, top turn and cutback.

Kanoa is pronounced ka-NOH-ah. It is of Hawaiian origin, and the meaning of Kanoa is “the free one”.

Landlocked stands for a surfer not living close enough to the sea to surf regularly, typically a holiday surfer. Many surfers in Central Europe can be described as landlocked but are still passionate surfers.
In our blog series Improve your Surfing without living near the ocean, you will find a whole series of tips on how to improve your surfing even as a landlocked surfer.

Surf Leash. A leg rope or surfboard leash is a urethane cord attached to the deck of a surfboard, down near the tail. It prevents the surfboard from being swept away by waves and stops runaway surfboards from hitting other surfers and swimmers.

The area where surfers congregate, waiting for waves. Originally, people paddled out and waited for their turn to take a wave, hence the term. No one waits in a line-up anymore, but the term is still used. First come, first served. Don’t snake. It’s bad karma.

The longboard is primarily a single-finned surfboard with large rounded nose and length of 270 to 370 cm (8.8′ to 12′).

Longboards are especially popular for small, long-running waves. Due to the size, you usually get into the waves much better and are also carried along better. In addition, boards of this type are more stable in the water. However, longboards are harder to move than smaller boards and therefore not as agile. It is also more difficult to paddle into the line up.

Medium Rails around are normally full and softer meaning they have a slight or more rounded edge at the bottom. They are therefore more forgiving and more suitable for beginners.

A Mini Malibu is a short malibu board. A dinky longboard basically. Say, 7’6 – 8′ with a rounded nose and tail. Learner friendly, but also work in most conditions so good for experienced surfers too.

These are waves that break softly or sloppily with little power.

New school rapid or river surfing involves lots of aggressive turns or aerial movements.

The nose is the name for the front part of a surfboard.

When the prevailing winds are blowing from the land to the sea. This usually helps the wave stand up, making it more hollow.

The outline directly impacts how your board is going to perform. By the outline, what we mean, is the overall shape of the board.

These are waves that exceed the height of the rider.

“The Pad is a piece of eva foam that sticks to the tail of your surfboard. The main function of the traction pad is to provide a greater grip for your back foot. Pads are self-adhesive and are bonded with high-strength 3M adhesive for the entire lifetime of a board. So be careful, once it sticks, it sticks – so think about where you apply your pad beforehand. Typically, a pad is placed just above the leash plug. Use the modular nature of your pad to get more grip on wider board tails. “

Special volume distribution makes our boards perfect for easy paddling. The KANOA Beginner and Intermediate shapes are especially designed for landlocked surfers.

This is the highest point at which a wave breaks first, from which it ideally peels in one or both directions.

A board designed for fast and skillful surfing. Performance surfboards are usually rather short and have angular rails so that they bite better into the wave, making the board faster to maneuver.

The Battery is our all-around performance shortboard and a strong choice for advanced surfers looking for a lot of agility. Without sacrificing paddling power.

Pin tails are mostly found on guns or “step-ups”, surfboards that are specifically designed for big waves. This type of tail gives you the ultimate hold and control. Its very narrow shape means the tail sinks deeper in the water, giving you extra “traction”, a bit like a big fin would.

This is the steepest and most powerful part of the wave. Advanced surfers try to stay close to the pocket most of the time, as it offers the most potential for radical maneuvers.

An area jutting into the sea which causes waves to break either right or left on either side of the point.

Polyester (PE) a traditional construction material for surfboards. Polyester resin is used to laminate the fiberglass mats to a PU blank (polyurethane board core).

A board with a lot of pop will be like a new rubber band. A board w/o much pop, will be like a very old rubber band. Second, pop can refer to the boost you get when going off a jump.

A professional surfer feels comfortable in all types of waves and is able to pull out the complete bag of tricks the sport has to offer.

Polyurethane (PU) dates back to the 50’s, when Hobie Alter first popularized the design as an alternative to balsa wood. A particular draw of using PU foam is that it is a closed cell—meaning it won’t easily soak up resin or water (should you ding your board), which helps keep the board light.

The quad fin pretty much blends attributes of the twin fin and the thruster. It adds down-the-line speed without the resistance and drag of the centre fin in a thruster, but with more hold and controlled manoeuvrability than the twin.

The rails are the “edge” of the surfboard and run from the tail to the nose of the board. Rails are where the deck and the bottom meet.

Railwork describes the art of shaping the rails of a surfboard and is an important factor in how the board will perform in the wave. The rails of the surfboard are thereby sanded and brought into the desired shape.

When choosing the shape, it all depends on what the board should be able to do. Round rails with a lot of volume give the surfboard uplift, even in the turns. This will make the surfboard more forgiving of mistakes. Thin and sloping rails dig better into the water surface and allow more aggressive maneuvers. There are also board shapes where the rails have an edge at the bottom. This ensures that the water can better release from the surface of the board after a turn. This is especially in the tail area of the surfboard a popular rail shape, because you lose less speed after turns.

Have you ever wondered how a KANOA surfboard is made? In our Making Of you can get some detailed insights.

Rapid surfing refers to surfing on natural standing or artificial river waves. Rapid surfing is similar to surfing, but surfers do not have to pay attention to wave conditions, the tide or the swell. The standing waves are static – therefore, the surfers are always back on the wave quickly. There are waves that are built into the course of a naturally occurring river, such as the Eisbach wave in Munich, or completely artificial city waves, such as the Wellenwerk in Berlin.

The term Rapid Surfing was created by the Rapid Surf League, which constantly pushes the scene.

Find your perfect board for rapid surfing in our Riverboard Guide!

This is a surf spot where waves encounter a distinctively contoured reef, causing them to break with distinctively good shape.

The coloured way topcoat is spread over the deck of a surfboard is called resin art. Checkout our Fishn’ Chixx and the Eggplant – every single board is a unique piece of art.

This refers to a channel of water running out to sea. Currents help experienced surfers get into the lineup quickly, but can be dangerous for beginners and swimmers as they often pull you out to sea faster than expected.

River surfboards are boards especially developed to optimally use the energy of the river’s current to keep afloat and ride the wave.

A Riverbank is the land at either side of a river. Around rapid surfing spots, it’s often lined with concrete walls, which destroy rails. That’s why our Triple-Rail-Layer Technology has been developed.

Safari Surf is Africa’s largest and longest-established surfboard manufacturer founded by legendary Spider Murphy. That’s the place were all KANOA PU hardboards are produced.

This is one feature of the ocean bottom which has a great effect on the shape of waves. Sandbars get moved around by larger waves, one day a peak breaks here – next day, it can be gone. Sandbars are usually found at beach breaks and river mouths.

The time you spend surfing alone or shared with friends.

This refers to a group of waves. A “rogue set” is an unexpectedly large set that can flush the lineup nicely. The time between sets is called period. The larger the period the better, cleaner and stronger the waves. Periods of 12 seconds or more are considered good.

The external form, contours, or outline of something – in this case our surfboards.

A surfboard shaper is someone who designs and builds surfboards. After the form of the surfboard is sculpted from the blank, the shaper can lay fiberglass sheets over the top and bottom of the surfboard, and laminate each sheet with a thermosetting substance, such as polyester resin.

Shortboards range from about five to seven feet long, and have an upturned tip (nose rocker). Usually, short boards have two to four fins. Checkout the advanced / pro section of our board guide to find the right shortboard for you.

Shortboard characteristics sacrifice paddling ease for speed, power, and control. They are generally around 5’6″ to 6’4″ long and between 16″ and 19″ wide, often with a rounded square tail. Checkout the advanced / pro section of our board guide to find the right shortboard for you.

A Spin-out is when the fins of the board break loose from the water surface. Check out our fin sets, so this does not happen to you ever again.

The state of near-Nirvana that accompanies a surf session. Has been known to cause those who are stoked cannot stop themselfes telling everyone how stoked they are and carry a huge smile on their faces. If you wanna check out the most “stok-ed” out individual in surfing, checkout world champion Italo Ferreira.

Surfboard design is the art of shaping a surfboard from a piece of wood or foam or decorating it with all kinds of graphics and art. Find out more about our unique KANOA Design here.

The sport or pastime of riding a wave towards the shore while standing or lying on a surfboard.

A Take-off is the start of the ride. A good take-off is the guarantee for success in surfing. Wider and bigger boards are more stable and allow you a much easier take-off.

The Triple Rail Layer Construction is a simple but efficient way to create more durable rails for river surfing, due to thicker glassing and special 3-layer glass fiber layup. Find out more about 3RL.

Tube refers to the inside of a hollow wave. Our KANOA Escalator is the perfect tube hunter from France to the Maldives.

Surfboard wax is applied to the deck of the board to prevent slipping off while riding.

The neoprene suit was worn by surfers during cooler times. Should fit snugly to allow just a bit of water to enter. The body heat warms the water and helps keep the surfer warmer in cool/cold water. Measured by the thickness of the neoprene ie; 4/3, 3/2, etc. The numbers designate the thickness of the neoprene.

This means to fall off, or get knocked off, your surfboard.