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A Lesson In The Crazy World Of Wakeboarding Lingo From Team USA’s Mary Morgan Howell

By Allie Dosmann | Aug. 05, 2019, 11:47 a.m. (ET)

(L-R) Mary Howell, Eugenia de Armas (Argentina) and Mariana New Ribeiro Osmak (Brazil) during the medal ceremony of the women's wakeboard finals at the Pan American Games Lima 2019 on July 29, 2019 in Lima, Peru.


There is a whole world of wakeboarding lingo that sounds pretty confusing from an outsider’s perspective. From strange sounds to unique phrases and more than one trick named after a piece of candy, the wakeboarding community has a unique way of talking that requires some explanation in order to fully understand.

Mary Morgan Howell, 16, went professional in wakeboarding last year. She won a silver medal days ago at the Pan American Games Lima 2019.

“We definitely have some weird things that we say to one another, but a lot of our lingo just comes from the weird trick names,” Howell explained. “We can be talking about a trick, and people will be like ‘What are y’all talking about?’”

The first lesson in wakeboarding lingo: Yeah doggy.

“When someone does a rad trick, we’ll be like ‘Yeah doggy!’ That’s a really popular one,” she said. “It’s more of a joke, we don’t say it being too serious, but it’s definitely one used a lot in the community.”

Another commonly used phrased is a word that’s not really a word but does have a very particular way of being spelled. Are you confused yet?

“The next one is more of a noise. Whenever someone does anything good, we’ll be like ‘Yewww!’” Howell exclaimed. “Not four w’s, not five w’s, always three.”

Yewww is pronounced like the word you, but imagine it being said as if it was a sound effect for something speeding by very quickly.

The next phrase is best if you’re trying to step up your social media game.

“If it’s a beautiful day, and you’re about to take a wakeboard set, and you wanted to post it on your Instagram story, you’d say ‘Day 4 it’, with the number four.”

These terms aren’t just among American wakeboarders, either.

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“They’re universal terms,” Howell said. “A couple might be more popular in the U.S., but if you said it to any wakeboarder they would know exactly what you were saying.”

Now that you have the key phrases down, it’s time to move onto a lesson in the names of commonly referenced wakeboard tricks. One trick, Howell mentioned multiple times, is the tootsie roll.

“The tootsie roll is a front flip with a back-side 180 (degree turn), and that trick was invented by Shane Bonifay,” Howell explained. “He landed that trick when he was 10-years-old. When you land a trick for the first time, you get to name it. So, that’s where a lot of the funny names come from, young kids.”

In addition to the tootsie roll, there is the dum dum, which was also named by Bonifay. Then there’s the whirly bird, which is “basically a back-flip with a 360.” There is also a trick called the blind judge.

“It’s called a blind judge because only a blind judge could miss that trick because it’s so awesome.”

While wakeboarding and its lingo may seem pretty different from the rest of the sporting world, it has a lot more in common than one might think.

“A lot of our tricks and our lingo is really a crossover with snowboarding and skateboarding because we do a lot of the same stuff,” Howell said. “I can watch a halfpipe in snowboarding and see something familiar. They might call it a different name, but it’s the same trick, so that’s cool to see as well.”

While Howell did say it was difficult to learn the lingo at first, once you become more familiar with the type of tricks being done, it is much easier to see their similarities.

“As you progress in the sport, you realize that everything really just builds on each other,” she said. “This trick names really just build on one another, and, eventually, just from practicing and from your coaches, you learn all the names.”

And, don’t forget, learning all of these terms is very important.

“You know you’re a really wakeboarder when you start using that lingo.”

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Mary Morgan Howell