California Travel Tips

What are Groms and How Do They Do That? Surf Lingo

Published on: May 10, 2012

As grunion run approaches once again (June 4,) people are looking to the beaches, rivers and lakes for things with odd names–such as groms or grommets. Though it sounds like a fish and  certainly maneuvers like one, the grom is kid surfer, and grommet is its female version.  Shown in the picture is a grom with blonde, curly hair and little surfboard to match his pint size. This grom was seen yesterday in Newport Beach, Calif., warming up for the Volcom surf competition.

Grom is a term to describe the surfer-youngster usually under the age of 15– but each of us has our own interpretation as to what constitutes a grom. I call them groms if they appear to be under the age of 12.

The groms and grommets are out this week and maybe even ditching school for the Volcom world surfing championship ( in Newport Beach taking place May 10 -12, 2012 on 54th Street Beach. What’s the big deal about yet another surf contest with groms?   $35,000 prize money!

If you’ve never seen these little kids surf in that huge ocean, you’ll be impressed. They look nothing like the grunion  flopping on the beach. Groms are little fish in a big sea, no doubt, but the do amazing tricks and make their surfboards fly–like the flying fish in Catalina.

Other surf lingo:

  • Been had – When someone breaks into your car while you’re surfing and steals your wallet
  • Big Kahuna – Do we have to explain? He’s the biggest dude on the beach.
  • Black ball – the sign with the big black ball in the middle means, “no surfing”, which is a bummer
  • Booger – boogie board
  • Cavefish – pale surfer
  • Coming down – Surfers shout this out when they’re the first to catch a wave and it’s their wave, just while dropping
  • Cranked – to get beat up by a wave or stuck on the inside
  • Dawg – a guy
  • Donk  – stupid dude or dudette
  • Gremmy – young hanger-on surfers who are troublesome to surfers
  • Hogger – someone who takes all the waves
  • Lake – no waves
  • Menehunes – teenage surfers
  • Naked – good   “those waves were naked”
  • Rip – surf to your max


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