Glossary of Terms

    A

  • ACCESS POINT

    This is the spot on the banks of a river or lake where you put in or take out.

  • AGROUND

    This is a point in which a kayak or other watercraft is stuck upon a sandbar or shoal.

  • ASYMMETRIC

    Type of paddle with unique shapes on the top and bottom of the blade, used to minimize wind restriction while in windy conditions.

  • B

  • BACKPADDLE

    This term refers to paddling backward as a means of slowing or reversing the forward motion of a kayak a single back paddle stroke can turn the boat radically if desired to avoid an obstruction.

  • BAIL

    This term is used to empty water from a kayak by scooping it out with a pail or pumping it out with a bilge pump.

  • BEAM

    The beam is the widest part of the kayak.

  • BILGE PUMP

    This refers to a hand or foot pump used to remove water that collects in the bilge.

  • BLASTS

    vertically balancing the kayak in whitewater hole.

  • BOOF

    This refers to a technique for landing a freefalling boat flat on its hull.

  • BOW

    The bow is the front end of any boat.

  • BRACING

    This is a stroke used to provide support and prevent the craft from capsizing.

  • BROACHING

    This is a point when the craft is oriented to waves, currents or an obstacle.

  • C

  • CANOE

    A canoe is a small craft propelled with one or more single-bladed paddle(s) while sitting or kneeling and facing the direction of travel.

  • CHANNEL

    This refers to a section of passable water through reefs, shoals and obstructions in low water conditions in flat water and rivers.

  • CHINE

    Sharp edge on the hull where the horizontal of vertical transition "a hard chinned hull"

  • CHUTE

    This is a section of river that flows between two large obstructions, compressing the water and causing a swift current.

  • CLEAT

    It is a deck fitting used for a tying line. Often attached to the deck of a kayak, they have two protruding horns that make it easy to tie a line or bungee cord to.

  • CLEOPATRA'S NEEDLE

    This is the position of the kayak when one end fills with water and the other end sticks up in the air.

  • COAMING

    This is the rim of a kayak's cockpit.

    It has a lip or flange that a kayaker's spray skirt fits on to keep the kayaker dry.

  • COCKPIT

    This is the area where the kayaker sits while in the boat.

  • CONTROL HAND

    Offset paddles are created to reduce wind resistance; the "hand" of your offset is determined by which hand is twisted and which slips around the paddle shaft when cycling through a stroke.

  • CUBIC FEET PER MINUTE

    (CFM) the standard unit of measure for stream and river flows.

  • D

  • DEAD RECKONING

    This is a way of determining your position by taking into account such factors as land features, sun, currents, wind speed, and your projected course and speed.

  • DECK

    The top surface of a kayak is called the deck.

  • DISPLACEMENT HULL

    A hull designed to ride in the water, generally more rounded transition from the bottom of the hull to the vertical sides of the hull.

  • DIVORCE BOAT

    A slang term for a tandem canoe or kayak.

    This can be avoided by creating a series of agreed upon terms and signals which the rear paddler calls to navigate the craft, such as "paddle on the right".

  • DOUBLE /TANDEM KAYAK

    This term refers to a kayak designed for two paddlers to operate at one time.

    It has two separate cockpits, and more cargo space than a single kayak.

  • DRAG

    Parasitic resistance to a watercraft from the wind and water it is passing through.

  • DROPPING IN

    It refers to an attempt to surf a wave or hole that another person is already using.

  • DRY BAG

    A Dry Bag is a waterproof bag boaters use to protect the gear from becoming lost or wet.

  • DRY-TOP

    It is a special type of outer wear designed for paddling in cold air and water which has efficient wrist and waist seals designed to keep water out.

  • DUFFEK TURN

    A Duffek Turn is a compound stroke used for entering an eddy.

  • E

  • EBB

    This term refers to a receding tidal current.

  • EDDY

    An eddy is a current which is usually behind a large rock or other obstruction in a stream or river which generally flows counter the main current. Your boat will generally remain in the eddy with little or no paddling.

  • EDDY OUT

    To turn into a eddy from the main current, generally used to rest, wait for other yakers or to scout the river below.

  • ENDER

    This is a playboating maneuver where the kayaker allows the bow of his boat to be sucked into a hole, standing the kayak up on end, until the buoyancy of the boat sends it shooting back up in the air.

  • F

  • FERRY

    A lateral move across the main current by paddling with the bow of the boat pointed upstream.

  • FIBERGLASS

    A fiberglass is a lightweight composite material used in the construction of boat hulls.

  • FISH FORM

    This term is used to describe a hull form where the beam (widest portion) of the hull is in the front half of the vessel.

    Often in front of the paddler in a solo canoe or kayak.

  • FLATWATER

    This refers to a calm river, lake or ocean water without rapids or excessively high waves.

  • FOOT BRACE

    A foot brace is a peddle-like footrest.

    Some footrests found in sea kayaks also operate rudders that provide greater directional control.

  • FREE BLADE

    This refers to any paddle or propulsion device that is held in the hands and not attached to the boat.

  • FREEBOARD

    This is the distance between the waterline and the lowest point of the deck of the vessel.

  • G

  • GAFF

    This is a type of sailing rig with a boom like support at the top of the sail as well as the bottom.

  • H

  • HATCH

    A hatch is waterproof compartment in the kayak for stowing items such as lunch and additional gear.

  • HATCH COVER

    The removable deck lid covering a storage compartment.

  • HOLES

    Formed when water pours back over the top of a submerged obstruction, can be extremely dangerous or a great place for play boating depending upon water level, CFM and individual characteristics.

  • HULL

    This refers to the bottom side of the kayak (below the seam) or the combination of the skin and supporting ribs that attach to the gunwale of a canoe.

  • HUSKY TOW

    This term refers to two or more paddlers towing a third paddler who may be tired or injured and experiencing difficulty on their own.

  • HYDRAULICS

    Pressure gradients in the water column, they can sometimes be seen as water welling up from the bottom.

    Hydraulics may turn or roll your small watercraft.

  • K

  • KABOAT

    A new design of an inflatable kayak with design features of both kayaks and boats.

  • KAYAK

    It is a small craft propelled with one or more two-bladed paddles while sitting and facing the direction of travel.

  • L

  • LINE

    This refers to a rope used to tie the boat to a point on the shore.

  • LUBBER'S LINE

    This refers to a mark or permanent line on a compass indicating the direction forward parallel to the keel when properly installed.

  • M

  • MELTDOWN

    Rodeo term - to deliberately put your boat underneath a wave or hydraulic.

  • MYSTERY MOVES

    Underwater acrobatics performed in a squirt boat.

  • O

  • OFFSET PADDLE

    A paddle that has each paddling face rotated around the shaft 30 to 60 degrees right or left to reduce wind resistance.

    Right handed people generally use a right control paddle.

  • P

  • PADDLE FACE

    The side of the paddle blade that does the work of exerting force against the water.

  • PILLOWS

    Formed when water piles up against a large obstruction such as a boulder, as known as pressure waves.

    Caution should be heeded as the obstruction can be undercut and a point of entrapment.

  • PLANNING HULL

    Planning hulls are meant to ride waves such as in rodeo tricks and surf riding.

    Planning hulls are characterized by flat bottoms with sharp chines to transition from the flat bottom to vertical sides.

    The chines are sometimes referred to as "rails" as they "cut" turns on waves.

  • PORT

    The left side of any watercraft.

  • PORTAGE

    This refers to the carrying of a boat or its contents over land from one body of water to another or around an obstruction such as a blockage or more difficult water feature.

  • PRYS

    Prys are strokes performed by levering the paddle shaft against the side of the boat.

  • PUT IN

    Where the canoe or kayak trip begins or a portage re-enters the water.

  • R

  • RAPID

    This is an area of turbulent water.

  • ROCKER

    This term refers to the curve on the bottom of the vessel along the center line from the bow to the stern.

    A rocker can be measured by setting a canoe or kayak on a smooth surface and noting how much of the bow and stern do not contact the surface. More rocker generally means the boat will turn more easily and have less directional stability.

  • RUDDER

    This is the vertical blade on the rear of the some kayaks, used to steer the boat.

  • S

  • SCREWS

    Vertical spins while squirting.

  • SCOUTING RAPIDS

    Planning a route though an area of whitewater.

  • SCULLING DRAW

    This is a technique that propels the boat continuously sideways towards the paddle.

  • SEAL LAUNCH

    This is to slide or drop into the water while seated in the boat and holding the paddle.

  • SEAM

    This refers to the one-inch wide line around the middle of the kayak where the deck and hull are joined together.

    Usually a different color than the deck or hull.

    Also refers to the point where the main current and the eddy meet.

  • SHUTTLE

    This refers to the practice of transporting paddlers or equipment to the put in or take out of a paddling trip.

  • SINGLE or SOLO KAYAK

    A single kayak is a kayak designed for a single paddler and has only one cockpit.

    It is typically shorter in length and beam than a double kayak sometimes referred to as a" K1"

  • SPRAYDECK/SPRAY SKIRT

    This is a waterproof device the keeps water from entering the cockpit of a sit in kayak.

    The spray skirt's outer edge grips the coaming or lip of the cockpit and the paddler slips through a vertical tube that tightens around the waist to seal out water.

    The most water tight spray skirts are generally made from neoprene.

  • SQUIRT BOAT

    Ultra low volume kayak designed to submerge when paddled into the current and to squirt or pop out short radius of turns.

  • SQUIRTS

    "squirting" moves the boat from a vertical orientation into a horizontal orientation when playing in hydraulic features in the river.

  • STARBOARD

    The right side of any watercraft.

  • STERN

    This term refers to the back end of any watercraft.

  • STRAINER OR SIFTS

    A hazard that allows water to pass through that would trap a paddler with the potential of serious injury or death.

  • SWEDE FORM

    Beam of the boat is wider aft of centerline.

  • SWEEPERS

    Trees that have fallen into or leaning across causing a strainer like obstruction.

  • T

  • TANDEM PADDLING

    This refers to two paddlers paddling the same boat.

  • TAKE OUT

    The furthest point downriver on a canoe or kayak or the point a portage begins.

  • TRACKING

    Tracking describes how well the boat travels in a straight line or tracks straight under various conditions such as trim, current and wind.

  • TRIM

    The balance of weight in a watercraft, too much weight in the bow or stern can negatively affect the handling (turning or tracking) of the craft

  • V

  • VOLUME

    This is the amount of air trapped inside a boat. It also refers to the volume of water moving down a rapid.

  • W

  • WAKE

    This refers to the disturbed water following a moving vessel.

  • WATERLINE

    This is the line on the hull of a vessel to which the surface of perfectly calm water rises when the vessel is motionless.

  • WAVES

    Formed when water flows over obstructions on the riverbed causing the surface of the river to undulate.

  • WAVE POCKET

    This refers to the steepest green part of the wave, usually right next to the shoulder.

  • WAVE TRAIN

    Several waves following a particularly large wave.

  • WAY

    This refers to the movement of a vessel through the water such as headway, sternway or leeway.

  • WHIRLPOOLS

    Refers to whirling vertical vortices with a core of air that carry anything that falls into them down to the bed of the river, lake or sea.

  • WHITE WATER

    White water is formed in a rapid, when a river's flow increases enough to disturb its flow rate and create a noticeable disturbance in the form of bubbly, or aerated and unstable current; the disturbed water appears white.

    The term is also used loosely to refer to less turbulent but still agitated flow.

    The term "whitewater" also has a broader meaning, applying to any river or creek that has a significant number of rapids in a series.

    The term is also used as an adjective describing boating on such rivers.

  • WINDAGE

    This refers to the degree to which a boat’s sides are exposed to, or tend to catch, the wind.

  • WING PADDLE

    A paddle with "scoop" edges on the power side of the paddle face to trap water.

    Wing paddles are more efficient, however, it takes a really toned person to get the full value of the potential gains beyond a few strokes.