What Does Pitted Mean In Surfing?

We've all seen the clip “So Pitted!”

But do we understand what pitted means in surfing terms?

We go into the meaning of this famous phrase and share tips on how to get pitted!

What Does Pitted Mean?

In surfing, pitted means riding inside the hollow, cylindrical section of a breaking wave, often called the barrel or tube. It's when a surfer is positioned within the curling part of the wave, and it's considered a challenging and exhilarating experience.

If your unsure of any other surfing terms, view our Surfing Terms Glossary for more.

Meaning of Pitted in Surfing

The famous So Pitted Interview

Over time surfers have adopted certain slang and lingo forming the surfing language. 

Among the lingo, one term that keeps cropping up is "pitted." So, what's the deal with this word? 

Well, if you're a surfing enthusiast or aspire to be one, understanding "pitted" is crucial, as it's often used to describe the pinnacle of a surfer's experience.

In surfing, getting "pitted" is the ultimate goal. Picture yourself out on the waves, riding a swell, and suddenly, you find yourself engulfed by the hollow, curling section of the wave. This is what surfers call getting "pitted."

When you're pitted, it means you're inside the tube, the barrel of the wave, and it's an adrenaline rush like no other. The wave's lip is arching over you, forming a tunnel, and for a moment, you're coasting through this watery haven. 

It's known to be nature's waterpark, where the wave is your slide, and the barrel is your tunnel!

For surfers, achieving the pitted experience is a badge of honour. It's not just about being in the right place at the right time; it's about understanding the art of wave-reading, impeccable timing, and the mastery of your surfboard. It's the peak of skill and courage in surfing.

Getting pitted is every surfer's dream because, for that brief moment, you're inside the heart of the ocean's energy. 

So, the next time you hear a surfer talk about getting pitted, you'll know they're sharing a tale of an exhilarating and sought-after experience in the world of surfing.

How Do You Get Pitted?

Getting pitted isn't a walk in the park; it's a culmination of skill, practice, and wave knowledge. Here are some steps to guide you on the path to getting pitted:

Choose the Right Wave: Not every wave is ideal for getting pitted. Look for waves with a good barrel shape, which means they're forming a clean, hollow tube as they break. These are the waves that offer the best opportunity for getting pitted.

Positioning: Being in the right place at the right time is key. Paddling into position and catching the wave as it's about to break is crucial. Your timing should be spot on to catch the wave's hollow part.

Stance and Balance: Once you're on the wave, maintain a good balance and stance on your board. Crouching low and leaning forward helps you navigate the tube and stay in control.

Reading the Wave: As you ride the wave, constantly read its movements. Anticipate when the barrel is going to form, and position yourself inside it. Your ability to predict the wave's behaviour is essential.

Stay Committed: Getting pitted requires commitment. When the barrel forms, you need to ride into it with confidence. It can be intense and a little scary, but don't bail out – stay with it and enjoy the ride.

When to Use the Phrase So Pitted?

The phrase "so pitted" is a playful and enthusiastic expression often used by surfers and fans of the sport. It's typically employed when describing someone who has just experienced an amazing barrel ride. 

You might hear it on the beach or in surf videos as a way of celebrating an epic moment in the water. It is also commonly used when a surfers nails a surf heat and gets an excellant score!

So, the next time you're watching a surf competition or hanging out with friends who are into surfing, keep an ear out for "so pitted."

It's a phrase that encapsulates the excitement and stoke that comes with conquering the waves, and you can use it to show your appreciation for a fellow surfer's impressive ride. It's all about sharing the stoke and celebrating the surf culture.

Example of a Kelly Slater Getting Pitted

Kelly Slater Getting Pitted

Who is The "So Pitted" Surfer Dude?

The "So Pitted" surfing legend is called Micah Peasley now turned family man and surf instructor.

In the year 2002, the Californian surfer Micah Peasley achieved unprecedented fame online when he delivered a captivating interview on FOX News, recounting his unforgettable experience of riding colossal waves during a hurricane.

This interview subsequently evolved into the most widely circulated surfing video in history, amassing hundreds of millions of views and inspiring a multitude of humorous imitations and creative adaptations.

Micah even has his own Apple Music profile, amazing what one video can do to your life!

Where Is He Now?

Surf Icon Micah Peasley

Wave Anatomy

Understanding the make up of a wave will ensure you can tackle each one head on and get pitted!

The Face

 The face of the wave is the sloping part that surfers ride on. It's where they generate speed and set up for the barrel ride. A larger face often leads to bigger and more hollow barrels.

The Barrel

The barrel is the holy grail of a wave. It's the curling, hollow part that forms when the wave breaks. This is where surfers aim to ride, and it's what we mean when we say "getting pitted." 

The shape and size of the barrel can vary from wave to wave.

The Lip

The lip is the top edge of the wave, and it's what's responsible for creating the barrel. When the lip crashes over and forms the tunnel, that's when the magic happens.

Reading The Waves

To truly understand the art of getting pitted in surfing, you must master the skill of reading the waves. This ability to anticipate and interpret the behaviour of the ocean is what sets great surfers apart. Here's a closer look at reading the waves:

Wave Size and Shape

One of the first things surfers assess is the size and shape of the waves. They look for waves that are forming a nice barrel, with a hollow, tube-like shape. This is where the potential for getting pitted lies.

Wave Break

The way a wave breaks is crucial. Surfers watch how the wave is folding over and forming a tube. They anticipate where the barrel will likely shape up and position themselves accordingly.

Wave Speed

The speed of the wave matters. A fast, powerful wave is more likely to create a good barrel, but it also means surfers need to be quick and precise in their movements to stay pitted.

Currents and Tides

Understanding the currents and tides is essential for choosing the right spot to surf. Some locations have better barrel-riding conditions during specific tides and currents.


Ultimately, experience plays a significant role in reading the waves. Surfers who have spent years in the water develop an innate sense of when a wave is going to provide a great barrel opportunity.

Summing It Up: What To Do Now

Now you can add a new surfing phrase to your vocabulary, good luck getting pitted! Want more, check you know what the Shaka means!

If your interested in learning more about surfing discover our many guides that will inform you on your surfing journey. Don't forget to follow us on Facebook & Instagram to stay informed on our amazing surf shots and stories shared from surf creators around the world!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is being pitted?

"Being pitted" is a slang term in surfing that refers to a surfer riding inside the hollow part of a breaking wave, also known as the barrel or tube.

What is the pit of a wave?

The "pit of a wave" is a colloquial term for the hollow, cylindrical section inside a breaking wave, often referred to as the barrel or tube. Surfers aim to ride inside the pit of the wave for an exhilarating and challenging experience.

Why do surfers say brah?

Surfers often use the slang term "brah" as a way of addressing each other casually. It's a term of camaraderie and friendship commonly used within the surfing culture.

Who is the so pitted surfer?

The term "so pitted surfer" doesn't refer to a specific individual but rather describes a surfer who successfully rides inside the barrel of a wave. It's a way of acknowledging someone's skill in riding challenging waves.

What is a female surfer called?

A female surfer is simply called a "surfer." There is no gender-specific term for a female surfer; they are referred to in the same way as male surfers.

What do surfers call kids?

Surfers may refer to younger or less experienced surfers as "groms" or "grommets." These terms are used in a friendly and sometimes affectionate manner to describe young surfers who are still learning and developing their skills in the sport.

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