A Guide to the South Bay Surf and Action Sports Scene
A Buttery Etymology
I was interviewing a rec assistant at a skate park in the Valley and I asked him, “Well, what makes your park so special?”
I was expecting some sort of standard, run-of-the-mill answer along the lines of, “Oh, well, you see that concrete pool? It’s one of the best concrete pools for skateboarding in California” or “Actually, do you see that concrete fun box? Jimmy Hoffa is buried under it.” You know, something along those lines.
Instead, said rec assistant gave me a pensive look and told me, “Our rails are super buttery, bro.”
Oh, yeah? Buttery, huh? I know exactly what you mean… actually, scratch that, I have no idea what you mean. Buttery? How can something be buttery? Is it slippery to the touch? Are the rails all greased up like a, well, greased-up pig in a greased pig contest? (Yes, that’s a real thing—I checked. And if that doesn’t satisfy your curiosity, here’s a YouTube video of a kid participating in his first greased pig contest. ) Does someone actually slather all the rails under the cover of night? (Come on, of all the times to grease a rail, it would probably be best to do it at night.)
After a quick investigative Q&A session, he explained that buttery means exactly like you think—though it kinda escaped me at the time. Buttery means smooth (and, yes, he means that the rails are very smooth, and don’t cause a lot of friction, thus making it easier to grind). Cue collective nods of sudden realization.
Buttery can be used as an adjective to describe all sorts of things, and it has a positive connotation, e.g. “Bro, that rail is super buttery” or “Dude, your landing was super buttery.” Although, I wonder if it can be used as an adverb, i.e. “Hey, he ran buttery.” Hmm… that doesn’t sound quite right.
That wasn’t the first time that an action sport colloquialism threw me for a loop: Someone told me once that he was too “seaweeded” to surf. What’s the etymology? Honestly, I have no idea. Urban Dictionary defines it as “When your stoner friend is too stoned to surf. Ex: I’m too seaweeded to surf, homie. You paddle out and I’ll just stay here and nurse this bag of Funyuns.”
So, who said that the great wide world of action sports isn’t educational? You’re welcome.