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article imageIt's English, dude, but not as we know it: understanding snowboarders' lingo

By Barnaby Chesterman (AFP)     Jan 20, 2014 in World

It's English, dude, but not as we know it. In snowboarding, why get excited when you can be "stoked" and why perform a move when you could "MJ", "Nose pick", "Nose grab", "Nose block" or even "Bonk"?

At the Winter Olympics, snowboarding and freestyle are the badly-dressed street kids banging on the doors of the private club.

And fans, TV and sponsors just can't get enough.

Of the eight new events introduced for the Sochi Olympics, four are in the two disciplines as organisers increasingly latch on to the image-friendly nature of the sport.

But getting to grips with the language is a gold medal challenge in itself for those not reared in California or Colorado.

Out go simple words like "good" and "bad". In come "rad", "rip" or "wack".

Something rad is good, while a snowboarder who rips -- rides very well -- is likely to feel stoked after a good run.

Model Chanel Iman  pro snowboarder Dingo  and Vanessa Gringer attends Oakley Learn to Ride with AOL ...
Model Chanel Iman, pro snowboarder Dingo, and Vanessa Gringer attends Oakley Learn to Ride with AOL, at Sundance in Park City, Utah, on January 17, 2014
Jason Merritt, Getty/AFP/File

On the other hand, if a competitor "bailed" (crashed or fell), he would probably consider that a wack, or even a "ghetto".

Things get more complicated when culinary delights are brought into the melting pot.

A "beef Wellington" might be a pastry-covered joint of meat to most people, but in snowboarding terms it's something tricky.

Food seems to be a staple diet in snowboarding, where "buttery" is a board that flexes well.

An "eggplant" is a 180-degree rotation while "roast beef air" describes a way of grabbing part of the board while "boning" (straightening) your back leg.

A "hot dog" has no hint of sausage or bun, it's a talented female performer.

Eric Beauchemin falls during the Men's Snowboarding Slopestyle Final US Olympic Qualification e...
Eric Beauchemin falls during the Men's Snowboarding Slopestyle Final US Olympic Qualification event, at Mammoth Mountain Resort in California, on January 16, 2014
Harry How, Getty/AFP/File

"Faceplant" means to fall face first into the snow and that can be expanded into a "scorpion", where following a faceplant a competitor is folded almost in two, with their legs and board kicking up and curling over their back like a scorpion's tail.

Animals have their place in a snowboarder's dictionary with "flying squirrels air", "mosquito air" and "penguin slides" all types of moves.

"Monkey brains", however, is slang for dinner.

Furthermore, you probably won't be able to find "botwoker" in too many dictionaries, let alone "boomph", "schloby" or "tognar".

If someone hasn't got there first, you can pretty much invent your own word.

Whether that's something as convoluted as describing a bigger snowboarder who thinks he jumps very high but in reality doesn't (schloby) or an acronym such as "bip" -- a mix between the butt and hip -- the opportunities are endless.

And opportunities are there for the taking as one fast food chain seems to have acknowledged -- how else would you explain a type of 540-degree rotation and flip becoming known as a "McEgg".

If you're a "newbe" to the sport, it's enough to make you feel "beige".

Of course, no-one wants to be a "chumples" so it's best not to flail or fudge but try to do something "hella" and hope the rest think you're "dank".

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