I was standing in the surf

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jacdac

Senior Member
Lebanese
I know what I surf. I thought I knew until I read the expression to stand in the surf in the from extracted text from Joyland by Stephen King :

I dreamed I was on the beach with Annie and Mike. Annie and I were standing with our feet in the surf, our arms around each other, watching Mike fly his kite. He was paying out twine and running after it.

When you are on the beach, you stand or walk or run in the surf or in the shallow water ? Is it common to use surf in this context ?

Thank you
 
  • Aardvark01

    Senior Member
    British English (Midlands)
    I think of surf as the bubbles - and the sound they make - created by waves. Water with waves breaking into it may be shallow or further from shore.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I think of the surf (as in standing in the surf) as the part of the sea/beach where the waves are actually breaking, the frothy bit ... but this would generally be on a 'user-friendly' beach like this one:

    not one like this:
     

    jacdac

    Senior Member
    Lebanese
    What about when there are no waves breaking and no bubbles, just shallow water in a calm sea meeting the shore ? Will you still 'stand in the surf'?
     

    RedwoodGrove

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    The size of the waves varies depending on where you are. I believe in the Mediterranean Sea, where Lebanon is, the waves are not as large as in the Pacific or Atlantic Oceans.
     

    Aardvark01

    Senior Member
    British English (Midlands)
    "a calm sea" = no surf
    A calm seashore is another matter. As Ewie said, I don't think I've ever heard a seashore without surf.
     
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