What is a Grom in Surfing Terms?

“Look At These Groms!”

In the world of surf slang the word grom or gromette is often used, but what does it mean?

We go into what a grom is and where the term originated from!

What is a Grom?

A "grom" in surfing is a slang terms refers to a young and typically inexperienced surfer, often a child or teenager, who is passionate about learning and participating in the sport. 

The term "grom" is used affectionately within the surfing community to describe these aspiring surfers.

There are many more terms to learn in the surfing language, we've got your covered!

Grom Meaning

Surfing has its own unique slang, and one term you may have come across is "grom" or "grommet." But what exactly does this word mean in the world of surfers? 

Well, "grom" is short for "grommet," and it's a term used to describe young, enthusiastic, and often inexperienced surfers. 

A "grom" is typically a teenager or a pre-teen who is passionate about catching waves and improving their surfing skills.

These young surfers are the future of the sport and are known for their energy, fearlessness, and stoke (enthusiasm). They're often seen riding smaller waves, learning the basics of surfing, and having a ton of fun while doing it. 

So, when you hear someone talking about a "grom" at the beach, they're likely referring to a young, up-and-coming surfer who's eager to carve their own path in the world of waves. 

Keep an eye out for these groms in the lineup; they're the future legends of surfing!

What is a Grommet?

A grommet, often referred to as a "grom" for short, is a term used not only in surfing but also in various other contexts. 

In the surfing world, a grommet typically describes a young and enthusiastic surfer, usually a teenager or a pre-teen.

Grom Surf Origins

The term "grom" in surfing has a fascinating origin. 

Its first printed use can be traced back to an article by Nicholas Tomalin in 1964. He noted that in Newquay, Cornwall, England, a surfer who was inexperienced or not very skilled was called a "gremmie." 

This term, "gremmie," had its roots in the United States in the 1940s and 1950s, and it was derived from the word "Gremlin".

The word "grom," on the other hand, is believed to stem from the term "grommet," which was originally used in the context of naval ships to denote the lowest-ranking members. 

Australian surfers later adopted this term to describe their young, less experienced counterparts. 

They used it both as a term of respect and a playful way to tease the younger surfers. Over time, the word "grom" became widely embraced by the global surfing community and has even made its way into the skate, ski, and snowboard worlds. 

Today, "grom" is a universally recognised term in surfing culture, symbolising the enthusiastic and aspiring younger generation of surfers. Not to be confused with a Kook!

Use of Grom Today in Surfing

In contemporary surfing, the term "grom" continues to be an endearing and widely used expression. 

Groms play a vital role in the surf culture, representing the youthful, passionate, and fearless side of the sport. 

They can be found catching waves on smaller boards, honing their skills, and sharing the stoke with their peers. Groms are often encouraged and supported by more experienced surfers, who recognize the importance of nurturing the next generation of wave riders.

In competitions, there are often separate divisions for groms, allowing them to showcase their talents and progress. 

These young surfers are known for their innovative approaches to the sport and their ability to adapt quickly to new techniques and equipment.

Famous Surfing Groms

Some of the most iconic figures in the world of surfing started their journeys as groms. Let's take a look at a few famous surfers who began as grommets and went on to become legends of the sport:

Kelly Slater: Widely regarded as one of the greatest surfers of all time, Kelly Slater started surfing at a very young age. He became a pro at just 17, and his incredible career includes numerous world championships.

Bethany Hamilton: Known for her incredible determination and resilience, Bethany Hamilton began her surfing journey as a grom. Despite a shark attack that resulted in the loss of her arm, she continued to pursue her passion and became an inspiration to many.

Andy Irons: The late Andy Irons was a true surfing icon. He began competing as a grom and went on to win three world championships during his career.

Grom Surf Competitions

Grom surf competitions are a vital part of the surfing community. These events provide young surfers with a platform to showcase their skills and gain valuable experience. 

Grom competitions are often categorised by age, allowing surfers to compete against others in their age group.

These contests typically feature smaller waves to suit the groms' size and skill level, making the competitions both safe and challenging. Grom surfers get to develop their competitive spirit, learn from their peers, and receive guidance from more experienced surfers.

It's not uncommon for grom competitors to form lasting friendships and support networks that can accompany them throughout their surfing journey.

These contests are the breeding ground for future surfing stars, and they play a pivotal role in keeping the surf culture alive and thriving.

The Grom Mentality


Groms are committed to improving their surfing skills.

They're often the first ones in the water and the last ones out. Their dedication means they're always looking for opportunities to catch waves, practice, and refine their techniques. This commitment to constant improvement is a valuable lesson for anyone pursuing a passion or a dream.


Groms bring an infectious enthusiasm to the surf community. They approach every session whether it's offshore or onshore winds with excitement and a "stoke" that's hard to match.

Their positivity and eagerness are not only inspiring but also a reminder that having fun and enjoying the process is an integral part of any journey.


Groms are often unafraid to take on challenges and try new things. Their youthful fearlessness enables them to push their boundaries and explore the limits of their abilities.

This bold approach can lead to significant growth and personal development, both in and out of the water.


Groms face setbacks and wipeouts like any other surfer, but they get back on their boards with resilience and determination.

They learn from their mistakes and use them as stepping stones to success, demonstrating that perseverance is a crucial ingredient for achieving one's goals.

Learning from Others

Groms are open to learning from more experienced surfers. They seek guidance and advice from their mentors and peers, recognizing that there's always something new to discover in the world of surfing.

This willingness to learn and adapt is a valuable life skill that can be applied to any field of interest.

What is a grom skier?

A "grom skier" is a young and enthusiastic skier, typically a teenager or pre-teen, who is passionate about skiing. 

They are known for their energy, fearlessness, and eagerness to hit the slopes. 

Grom skiers represent the future of the sport and often participate in competitions designed for their age group.

Summing It Up: What To Do Now

Now you are well read on what a grom is it's time to get back out in the surf!

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 a grom in surfing slang?

In surfing slang, a "grom" refers to a young and typically inexperienced surfer who is enthusiastic about learning and participating in the sport.

Why do people call their kids groms?

People affectionately call their kids "groms" when they show an interest in or are just starting to learn surfing. It's a term of endearment and reflects the child's passion for the sport.

Why do surfers say brah?

Surfers use the slang term "brah" (short for "brother") as a casual and friendly way to address each other, fostering a sense of camaraderie and connection within the surfing community. It's often used to greet friends or fellow surfers.

What does Groms mean?

"Groms" is the plural form of "grom" and is used to describe a group of young surfers, often informally within the surfing community.

What is a surfer girl called?

A female surfer is commonly referred to as a "surfer" or "surfer girl" in surfing culture. There isn't a specific slang term for female surfers similar to "grom" for young surfers.

What is a kook in surfing?

In surfing culture, a "kook" is a derogatory term for someone who is considered a beginner or an inexperienced surfer, often used to describe individuals who may lack skill, knowledge of surfing etiquette, or who make mistakes in the water.

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