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  Canoeing Dictionary - Key Words

Canoeing Dictionary
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Aerated water:
Water filled with air bubbles frequently found where the water is turbulent.

Aerobic exercise:
Muscular activity which requires oxygen to fully metabolise glucose for energy.

The rear part of a canoe or kayak.

Anaerobic exercise:
Intense muscular activity using energy generated by conversion of glucose to lactic acid, which does not require oxygen. It can be maintained for only a short period of time. Oxygen is required for recovery and further metabolism of the glucose supplying more energy.

Asymmetric blades:
A blade with an unequal curved end. Shaped to give a smooth and efficient entry to the water.

Approach angle:
The angle at which you set the boat when about to enter the current. For example when ferry gliding and breaking in and out of the current.

Back paddle: (Should always be refered to as Reverse Paddling!)
Paddling backwards will move the boat in a reverse direction. It will also stop or slow the boat when in a forward motion.

Anything used to bail water out of a boat.

Bank support (team):
Land based assistants acting as rescue cover and support.

Baths Advanced Trainer, a small kayak with round ends and designed for use in swimming pools.

Width of a canoe when measured at its widest point.

An angle fixing the direction of a line with respect to either the north or south direction.

Method of holding the rope to safeguard a climber or swimmer rescuer.

Bivvy bag:
Waterproof and windproof bag which can enclose a person for basic shelter. Frequently carried for emergencies. Many of the top quality and purpose built bivvy bags are made of breathable fabrics or a combination of fabrics (Gortex, Milair or nylon).

The wide end of the paddle used to propel the boat.

Body rotation:
Rotating the upper body whilst paddling. Using body rotation ensures that the powerful back muscles are used and strain is reduced on the arm muscles.

Boofing is a whitewater paddling maneuver for going over drops whereby the paddler jumps over water hazards known as holes at the bottom. When you do this properly, there is a distinct "boof "sound. See "Boof"

Footwear made of neoprene. Usually used by snorkel/scuba divers and commonly used by canoeists.

Water surging vertically upwards to the surface and spilling outwards, giving confused and unpredictable currents. Common near deep stoppers and on eddy lines in high volume rivers and tidal areas in the ocean where there is an uneven bottom.

The front of a canoe or kayak. The forward extremity of a canoe or kayak.

Bow draw:
A paddle stroke applied towards the front of a canoe or kayak. By using a combination of a bow rudder and draw stroke, the bow of the boat is turned very effectively sideways and around the blade performing the stroke.

Bow rudder:
A paddle stroke applied towards the front of a canoe or kayak. By holding the blade still in one position the momentum of the boat will assist the bow to veer sideways around the blade performing the stroke. It is a very effective way of turning the boat.

Bow seat:
The seat located at the front end of a canoe or kayak.

Brace (support) Stroke:
A paddle stroke designed to maintain stability and prevent capsize. The paddle blade is pushed down horizontally on the surface of the water, somewhat like an outrigger, to give support or recovery from instability.

Breaking in:
Manoeuvring the boat from an eddy into the current so as to carry on downstream.

Breaking out:
Manoeuvring the boat out of the current into an eddy.

A line looped around the front end of the canoe to which another line is attached under the canoe and used for towing or lowering the craft.

Broach (broadside):
Sideways to the wind, a wave or an obstruction in the current, such as a boulder.

A partition under the forward and rear decks of a canoe or kayak, usually fitted to create a sealed compartment. In sea kayaks the space inside is used to store gear. A ‘wall’ sealing off one end of a kayak to form a watertight compartment. Normally seen in sea kayaks.

Flotation materials fitted inside a craft or onto a person to keep the craft or person afloat. What, in a sea kayak, there is never enough of. (When the compartments of a sea kayak are not filled with gear they should be filled with buoyancy material.) All canoes and kayaks must have sufficient buoyancy material so that they float level at the surface when swamped.

Buoyancy aid (PFD):
A waistcoat style jacket which is inserted with special closed cell foam to assist with buoyancy, and designed to help a swimmer stay afloat.

`Cag' (cagoule):
A windproof and water resistant paddling jacket. Many jackets have neoprene cuffs and waist and are breathable.

Canadian canoe:
A craft paddled in a kneeling or sitting position and paddled with single bladed paddles. They can be open or decked (closed). (This term has been used, following archaic British practice, for ‘canoe’.)

Canoe A small boat propelled with a single blade paddle, from a kneeling position in sprint and whitewater competition. Touring and marathon paddlers normally sit. Touring, sprint and most marathon canoes are undecked; many whitewater canoes are decked, and may appear to be kayaks. Canoes are derived from the birch bark canoes of North America. The term ‘canoeing’ often refers to kayaking as well.

L–R above: touring canoe, about 5m long; Sprint C1, 520cm long, 75cm beam; Marathon TC1

A generic term used in Australia and Great Britain, for kayak and Canadian canoe paddling. In USA and some other countries, canoeing is only used for Canadian canoe paddling. Kayaking is used for paddling a kayak.

Canoe polo:
A ball game played by two teams of five a side. The players use short kayaks and score goals by throwing the ball into a goal or against a suspended board.

A one person Canadian canoe in which the paddler may sit, kneel or half kneel, and is paddled with a single blade.

A two person Canadian canoe in which the paddlers may sit, kneel or half kneel and is paddled with single bladed paddles.

How upsetting. (Leave the boat upside down until you either get it on shore or the rescuer takes over—roll it back upright and you will fill it with water, making life difficult.)

Carve turns:
Where the kayak is leaned over on its edge to help it follow a smooth turn. Used frequently when doing eddy turns.

Catch (plant):
The point at which the paddle blade enters the water at the start of the forward stroke.

A stretch of passable water through shallows, among obstructions or trees.

Chest harness:
A belt system worn over or integrated into a personal flotation device, to which ropes can be attached for rescue purposes. This belt has a quick release system which provides a safe method of attachment and release of the paddler to a rope and is used when being rescued or when rescuing a fellow paddler.

Where part of a stream is compressed between two obstructions which causes the water to speed up. It is usually the deepest and safest route.

Clapotis: Reflected waves will interpolate with the incoming waves in a largely predictable and regular pattern (an interference pattern) causing an area of disturbed water where wave heights spike (this can be quite explosive) – expect to find this ‘clapotis’ anywhere there is a sheer coastline or harbour wall.

Closed canoe (decked):
Any canoe, C1 or C2, where the deck of the craft is covered (similar to a kayak) leaving cockpit openings for the paddler or paddlers.

Closed cell foam:
A non absorbent flexible foam material used to provide the flotation in buoyancy aids. Closed cell foam mats are used by campers to insulate themselves from the cold.

A qualified person who concentrates on improvement of a paddler's performance and skills rather than teaching new or basic skills.

A rim around a kayak or decked Canadian cockpit to which a spray skirt is attached.

The hole in the top of a canoe or kayak where the paddler(s) sit or kneel. The place occupied by the paddler(s). There is normally a seat, and in kayaks especially, the cockpit will be sealed with a spray cover around the paddler’s waist and attached by shock cord to the cockpit rim.

A collision can ruin your entire day. As far as other boats are concerned the rule is: ‘If it’s bigger, faster, or more expensive than the canoe or kayak, keep out of its way.’ On rivers and in channels, keep to the right.

The space separated from the rest of a boat by a bulkhead (e.g. in a sea kayak) for the stowage of gear and preservation of buoyancy.

Composite blade:
A type of paddle blade construction which uses a combination of materials such as fibreglass, kevlar, carbon fibre, aluminium and expanded plastic.

Compound stroke:
A number of basic strokes combined together to control the boat.

CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation):
Is the combination of mouth to mouth resuscitation (Expired Air Resuscitation) and chest compressions (External Cardiac Compressions) to assist the circulation.

The top of a wave.

A move executed in a canoe or kayak across a fast jet of water.

Cross bow stroke:
Predominantly used in a Canadian canoe by the bow paddler. The blade is lifted across the bow and placed in the water on the opposite side without swapping hand positions.

Cushion wave:
A build up of water on the upstream side of a boulder. Often called a pillow.

Cyalume The original chemical light stick, named for the manufacturer, the American Cyanamid Company. A word used to trap canoeing writers, editors, and proofreaders, who invariably spell it wrongly. The light sticks themselves are useful when paddling at night, and for emergencies.

A short stabbing weapon with pointed and edged blade. Also, the name of a US canoe and kayak manufacturer.

The top part of a canoe or kayak.

Deck lines:
A rope, usually 6 8mm, attached along the front and back deck of a kayak. Mainly used for grabbing the boat in an emergency whilst swimming. Popular on sea canoes.

Deep stopper:
A stopper in which the recirculating water is deep. Difficult and more dangerous to paddle than shallow stoppers.

Deep water rescue:
The rescue of a capsized paddler while still in the water. The rescuer empties the victim's boat so the victim is able to get in without having to go ashore.

Double blade paddle:
A paddle with a blade at each end, used basically with kayaks.

Down river race:
A race held on white water (usually under grade 3), over a distance of 5km and above.

Downstream V:
Fast flowing water being compressed between two obstacles causes a V shaped pattern to form. The point of the V is furthest downstream.

The depth of water necessary for a craft to float; the distance between the water line and the bottom of the keel.

The resistance to forward motion.

Traditional Chinese paddle-racing boat, with more than 20 paddlers, plus sweep and drummer.

Draw stroke:
This is used to move a canoe or kayak sideways.

Drive face:
The drive face (front) of the blade is the side that pushes through the water and faces you during the normal forward paddling stroke. The other side is called the back of blade or non drive face.

Dry blade:
A phrase used for that paddle blade which is out of the water and therefore not performing the stroke.

Duct tape Self-adhesive tape used to repair anything except ducts. The minimalist repair kit for canoeists.

Areas of slack or counter moving water, usually created by the shape of the shoreline or obstacles above or slightly below the water line. Found in rivers and in oceans where there is a current. An area of water that is still, slow-moving, or moving upstream behind an obstacle in a river. Often used by white water paddlers to stop and look about.

Eddy current:
Is the water in the eddy that moves in the opposite direction to the main current.

Eddy hopping:
Using eddies to manoeuvre upstream or downstream.

Eddy line:
The area of water where the calmer eddy waters meet with the main flow of the river.

Eddy turn:
A dynamic manoeuvre used to enter or leave an eddy.

Tilting the kayak using the hips, knees and thighs. Putting the boat on edge to increase its manoeuvrability. (See also J Lean.)

End loop A loop of rope of at least 6mm diameter and large enough to allow a 9mm sphere or cylinder to pass through fixed to bow or stern for use as a hand grip. See toggle.  

This usually occurs when the paddlers’ boat has been pinned against an obstacle. The paddler can then be trapped in the boat by the force of the water or due to the boat collapsing.

Emergency Position Indicaing Radio Beacon: an electronic device for locating survivors and wreckage after an incident is over.
As with all ‘safety’ devices, not a substitute for seamanship.  

A disparaging term, meaning ‘eater of raw meat’. See Inuit.

Eskimo roll:
Returning your boat to the upright position without exiting it, after a capsize, using hands or paddle.

Face (drive side):
The flat side of a blade that is used to push against the water.

The degree to which kayak blades are set at an angle to each other. This varies from 70 to 90 degrees, depending on the discipline. Some sea paddles have no feathering at all.

Ferry glide:
A technique used to cross the current laterally by facing the boat upstream at an angle.

Forward power stroke:
A stroke which propels the kayak forward.

Glass threads formed into a matting or fabric and used with special resins to form a covering of high strength to weight ratio. Used to build canoes, kayaks and paddles.

1. The progressive widening of a hull towards the gunwale, typically seen at bow and stern of open canoes, and also in bow and stern of some sea kayaks. Flare gives lift in rough water.
2. Pyrotechnic device often required by boating regulations (not in South Australia) but generally regarded as useless by sea kayakers.

Flat water:
A calm lake or river that is not affected by wind, moving water or rapids.

Polystyrene, closed cell foam or air bags placed in a canoe or kayak to help keep the craft afloat in the event of a capsize.

Foot rest:
Fitted to the inside of a boat to give the paddlers’ feet something to push against. This improves steering, balance and power.

The part of the canoe which lies above the water line.

Freestyle A competition on white water, where paddlers perform tricks and are scored. See our information pages on freestyle, rodeo and playboating.

Grab loop:
A loop of rope on the bow or stern of a canoe or kayak, which is useful for grabbing onto in an emergency situation.

The degree of inclination of a riverbed, usually described as the number of metres the river drops per kilometre.

GRP (glass reinforced plastic):
See fibreglass.

Goon stroke (stern pry):
The most basic of the forward paddling steering strokes for canoes. It is a pry stroke executed at the back of the boat to push the stern sideways, and away from the paddle.

The top side section of the canoe from stern to bow.

H rescue:
A deep water rescue performed by two rescuers. Each paddler lifts up one end of the victim's boat to empty it.

Hatch An opening through the deck into a compartment, and closed by a hatch cover. Normally seen on sea kayaks.

Hand roll:
An Eskimo roll performed using only the hands.

A standing wave with a tumbling crest. 

H I rescue: (Ipswich Rescue)
A deep water rescue performed by two rescuers who empty the victim's boat by see sawing it across a paddle bridge formed between the two boats.

High brace support stroke:
A paddle stroke used to counteract instability. The paddle is held higher than the wrists and elbow, and the face of the paddle blade is used to give support.

High cross:
A manoeuvre in which you cross a fast jet of water as high up as possible, from one side the river to the other. The upstream face of a standing wave is often used to surf across.

Hip flick (hip roll):
The action of flicking a kayak back into the upright position (using knee lift) during an Eskimo roll or support stroke.  

Hip movement:
A dynamic rotation of the pelvis which causes the kayak to return to the upright position after a roll or brace.

Hole (stopper):
The hollow area on the downstream side of a boulder or ledge and upstream side of a stopper wave. 

The underside of the boat.

A general term for the confused and disturbed currents immediately below or around obstructions; eg surges, standing waves, stoppers.

Hypothermia The loss of core body temperature through exposure to cold and wet, and especially wind. Potentially fatal. Prevention is much better than cure: dress warmly and eat well. Lowering of the body core temperature as a result of immersion in cold water, or exposure to cold conditions.

International Canoe Federation: the governing body for canoeing and kayaking worldwide.

Inuit Literally, ‘the people’ — the name given by the Arctic people to themselves.

The inside of the gunwale. 

J Lean
A way of leaning the boat while keeping the torso vertical. In sea kayaks, lifts bow and stern, increasing the effective rocker and making the boat easier to turn.

J stroke:
The steering phase of the forward paddling stroke which is used to keep the canoe maintained in a straight direction.

A term used to describe a tongue of fast water usually between two eddies.

Single kayak. Usually refers to sprint kayaks, at right in diagram below. K2 and K4 are also used in competition.

K1, K2, K4 etc:
Kayaks designed for one, two and four paddlers.

A steel or alloy link developed for climbing/mountaineering to make quick connections with ropes and tapes. Now widely used in river rescue situations.

Kayak A small boat propelled with (usually) a double blade paddle, from a seated position. Most kayaks are decked.
Kayaks are derived from the frame and sealskin hunting boats of the Arctic.  See Canoe

L–R opposite: Polo BAT, 2.5–3m long; white water play boat (used here for training, surfing, etc.), about 3.5m long; touring kayak, about 4.5m long; sea kayak, about 5.5 m long; sprint K1, 520cm long, 51 cm beam.

Kayak volume (high, low, medium):
The amount of air enclosed by the empty boat's shell.

A projection below the hull running from stern to bow, which helps the craft maintain straight movement. It also adds strength to the hull, and protects it from damage.

Kevlar Du Pont’s trade name for poly-para-phenylene terephthalamide, a strong, tough, stiff, high melting point fibre, used in composite construction. Lighter, stiffer, more expensive than glass fibre.

Keyhole cockpit:
A kayak cockpit built to improve the paddlers’ safety by allowing for ease of exit but still allows effective bracing of the paddlers’ knees.

Knee brace:
Supports attached to the canoe or kayak which the canoeist uses for bracing with the knees.

Knee lift:
The action which is needed to assist with an Eskimo roll and also used to maintain balance, or right a boat during support strokes.

An action used by paddlers to tilt the boat this assists with turning and steering. The paddler leans from the upright position rather like a cyclist turning a corner.

A rock shelf which extends across the river at right angles to the current and acts as a natural barrier over which the water flows.

Lee, leeward:
Away from the wind; downwind.

Life jacket:
A personal flotation device with buoyancy designed to maintain flotation with the face out of the water.

The use of ropes to manoeuvre a canoe downstream.

Linking strokes:
The process of combining different paddle strokes.

Low support (brace) stroke:
A support stroke using the back of the paddle blade to keep the boat upright. The paddle is held so that the blade is lower than the wrist and elbow.

Low brace turn:
A paddle stroke which is used as a bracing stroke to enable the boat to turn in a long wide curve.

A nose stand or ender where the kayak goes beyond the vertical position into a somersault.

Marathon Racing over long distances, the longest race in Australia being the Red Cross Murray Marathon, 400km over five days. Often described as a fit way to see a river.

Meaty stopper:
A powerful, holding stopper that is likely to give a paddler trouble.

When a paddler descends into a stopper or hole and is swallowed up, given a rough time or capsizes.

Neutral break in/break out:
Breaking into or out of the current by allowing the current to provide all of the turning effect.

A synthetic rubber used to make booties, wet suits and spray decks.

Nose The part of the dog that sniffs, and leaves wet patches on whatever it touches. Also front end of canoe or kayak.

Nose cone:
A specially moulded guard fitted to the nose of the canoe or kayak to protect it from damage. 

Nose and tail stand (ender and back ender):
Standing the kayak vertically using the sloping face of a wave or the downward suction of a stopper.

Off side:
The side opposite to the side where the canoeist is paddling. 

Open canoe:
A canoe that is open (it is not decked). Also called a Canadian canoe.  

Open water:
A term used for the unsheltered lakes, estuaries, the sea or a very wide river.

Outrigger A form of paddle racing, usually at sea, derived from Pacific island outrigger canoes.

The outside gunwale.

Paddle n. A canoe paddle has a single blade, with a T or similar grip at the top; a kayak paddle has two blades, usually set at or a little less than 90°. There are specific designs of paddle for particular purposes.
v. To propel a canoe or kayak with a paddle.

A rope attached either to the bow or stern of a canoe or kayak.

Hans Eduard Pawlata, the Austrian who adapted a Greenland roll for use with the feathered European paddle and introduced it to Europe in 1927. A particular type of Eskimo roll which uses the full length of the paddle, giving extra leverage. Mainly used by novices.

The faculty of perceiving — the ability of the mind to refer to sensory information of external objects as their causes. Also, the name of a US kayak manufacturer.

Personal Flotation Device. A general term used to describe life jackets, buoyancy aids, buoyancy garments, etc. Canoeing PFDs are Type 2 or Type 3, and designed specifically for canoeing to allow the freedom of body movement needed.

A build up of water on the upstream side of a boulder or underwater obstruction. Often called a cushion.

A sudden drop in, or a steeper section of, a set of rapids.

Entrapment of the boat/paddler on an immoveable object by the force of the water. Bow of the boat held vertically in a steep rapid or waterfall with the nose of the boat trapped.  

To turn sharply, or to turn the craft around a point. 

Pivot turn:
A fast turn created by standing the kayak on end and rotating it in this vertical position (usually the stern). 

Placid water (calm water):
Any area of water that is sheltered and still and not effected by the tide, wind or current.

Plant (catch):
The point at which the paddle blade enters the water at the start of the forward stroke.

Usually refers to boats made of polyethylene (linear, cross linked or high density).

Playboating See Freestyle

Plunge pool:
A deep pool found at the bottom of most drops, natural waterfalls and weirs. 

A paddle mitten which is fitted to the paddle shaft enabling the paddler to hold the paddle and have warm hands.

Plastic material from which recreational white water canoes and kayaks are often constructed.

Commonly used to make excellent non absorbent underwear (thermal wear). Also used in helmet construction.

Polo A ball game played in polo boats in swimming pools, the object being to score goals. Rules are similar to those of basketball. See our section on Canoe Polo.

The left side of the canoe when facing the bow.

From the French `To carry'. 

Power face:
The face of the blade which pushes against the water. The front of the paddle blade.

Prusik A knot for attaching a loop to a rope. The loop can be slid along the rope, but holds when under tension. In canoeing, used in whitewater rescue situations.
Named after Dr Karl Prusik, a German climber of the 1930s.
Another word usually spelled wrongly by club paddlers.

The paddle is used like a lever against the side of the boat to push the boat sideways. Mainly used in canoes.

Pulling draw:
A draw stroke that makes the boat move sideways towards the paddle. The positioning of the paddle before it is pulled will determine whether the nose, tail or entire boat moves.

Running at an angle to wind and waves; a technique for riding over waves at a slight angle to avoid burying the bow in a wave. 

A sloping platform of water. 

A fast and turbulent stretch of water which could include waves, haystacks, stoppers and drops. Rapids are graded 1 to 6 on the international scale.

Recovery stroke:
A term used for returning the paddle and getting ready for the next stroke.

Rescue cover:
When members of the group, who have throw lines and rescue equipment at the ready are positioned along the rapid as rescuers (on the bank and in a boat).

Retractable Skeg (fin) A control surface fitted to a sea kayak to control its directional stability — making the boat easy to control downwind. The skeg resides in a case, and extends through an opening in the hull towards the stern.

Reverse paddling:
Paddling backwards. 

River mouth:
Where a river empties into the sea or another body of water. 

Rock garden:
A section of river filled with rocks which requires constant manoeuvring by the canoeist. 

The amount of curve in the keel line of the boat. 

Rodeo See Freestyle

Roll The self rescue method devised by the Arctic people (who would have rapidly died had they tried to swim in their freezing waters).
The roll relies on body movement for success, not the sweep of the paddle. There are many variations.

Rooster tail:
Formed when a wave explodes over a semi submerged rock or boulder. It can be identified by a pronounced water spray with a pocket of air underneath it. 

Rowing A backward way of travelling.

Rudder A movable surface at or near the stern to control the directional stability of a kayak. That on a sea kayak will be retractable, that on a sprint kayak will be fixed. A complicated device to cure what is better treated by trimming the boat appropriately or using a simpler device, the retractable skeg. Rudders are not for steering.

S turn:
A combination of break in and break out manoeuvres used to cross the current. Also used when practising on flat water slalom gates.

Checking a stretch of water before paddling it.

Screw roll:
A commonly used Eskimo roll. 

Sculling draw:
A complicated paddle stroke that moves the kayak sideways by sculling the blade at a slight angle to and fro (figure eight motion) parallel to the boat.

Sculling for support:
A support stroke which requires the paddle blade to be swept to and fro across the surface of the water. 

The straight part of a canoe or kayak paddle.

Seal launch:
Launching off a bank or rocks after first getting into the kayak and putting on the spray cover. 

The sideways movement of a canoe or kayak across the water. 

Side surfing:
Riding side ways in the slot of a stopper or wave.

A fin attached to the stern of the kayak that helps the paddler to travel in a straight line. Useful for novices in slalom/general purpose boats and sea canoeists.

Slack water:
Non moving or very slightly moving water, often associated with adjacent moving water.

Slalom Competition held on white water in which paddlers travel a course marked out by ‘gates’, poles suspended over the water. The object is to make the fastest time without missing or striking the gates.

Slalom gate:
Used in slalom racing. A gate is formed by two poles hanging from an overhead wire through which competitors must paddle in a downstream or upstream direction. A slalom course consists of some twenty to thirty such gates.

The blade is cut through the water like a knife to take it quickly back to its starting position. 

Continuous tape loop used for making quick attachments to anchor points, eg rocks or trees, for rescue purposes.

The deep trough of a stopper at the point at which the downstream flow meets the upstream moving back tow.

SOT Sit On Top — a form of kayak in which there is no real deck, and the paddler sits in a sort of well. Examples include the Perception Torrent®. Also known as ‘wash deck’ boat.

Souse hole:
An American name for a stopper or `play hole'.

Split paddles:
A paddle that can be taken apart at a joint in the middle usually used as an emergency paddle.

Spray cover/deck/skirt:
A nylon or neoprene cover worn around the paddlers’ waist that closes off the cockpit opening.

Sprint Racing on flat water over marked straight courses over distances of 500m, 1000m, etc. Sprint kayaks and canoes must meet strict size and weight rules, and are designed for speed, not comfort and stability. Sprint is an Olympic sport.

Squirt boat A whitewater kayak of low volume, one so lacking in buoyancy that it may be deliberately submerged to perform tricks, as in Freestyle. A specialised kayak with exceptionally low bow and stern that submerges easily allowing the experienced paddler to perform complicated and intricate manoeuvres and stand on its nose or tail.

Stability What beginners wish there was more of. Stability in canoes and kayaks is dynamic, relying on body movement, with the paddle.

Standing wave:
Continual waves which remain in one place; usually caused by the dissipation of energy when a fast flowing current reaches a slower pool of water or by obstructions. 

The right side of the canoe when facing the bow. 

Stern The aft extremity of a canoe or kayak.

Stern draw:
A stroke applied at the back of the boat to pull the stern sideways.

Stern push:
A stroke executed at the back of the boat to push the stern sideways, and away from the paddle. 

Stern pry (goon stroke):
The most basic of the forward paddling steering strokes for canoes. A pry stroke executed at the back of the boat to push the stern sideways, and away from the paddle.

Stern rudder:
A stroke executed at the back of the boat to steer it.

Stern sweep:
The back half of a stationary forward sweep stroke.

Stopper The wave formed immediately downstream of an obstacle over which water is flowing. Known as a ‘hydraulic jump’ in other circles. Large ones will stop boats, and those below weirs may be deadly.

Strainer A fallen tree or a submerged fence through which water flows, but against which a boat or person can be held by the force of the flow (being strained like leaves in a tea strainer).
Keep well clear of such hazards. If swept against an object, lean towards the object to prevent capsize.

Support crew:
Member or members of a team that look after a paddlers needs (i.e. drink, food, erecting camp, massage, etc,) and meet at locations along the river. 

River surfing is riding on an upstream face of a standing wave. Ocean surfing is riding on a face of a wave, out from the shore towards the beach.  

When a canoe or kayak is accidentally filled with water. 

Sweep stroke:
A wide, low stroke. The stroke starts at the bow of boat and finishes near the stern and is used for turning.

Anyone who has capsized and is floating or swimming down the river.

Swimmer rescuer:
A person swimming in the river to help others in distress.

T grip (pear grip):
The top of a canoe paddle.

TC1 Single touring canoe. Usually refers to boats used in marathon racing. TC2 and TC4 are also used.

TK1 Single touring kayak. Usually refers to boats used in marathon racing. TK2 are also used.

Tail The part of the dog that wags. Back of the boat!

Where the paddle shaft flares into the paddle blade.

Throw line:
A length of rope, usually 15 20m, stored inside a small floating bag to which one end of the rope is attached. It is used in a variety of rescue situations.

The cross braces which stretch from gunwale to gunwale to strengthen an open canoe.

The end of the paddle blade. 

Toggle A device at least 75mm long and 10mm in diameter fixed by cord to the ends of a canoe or kayak as a safe hand grip. Toggles are not intended as carrying devices — carry the boat, not the toggle.

A stream of fast water usually compressed between two obstructions forming a downstream `V'. 

Tow back or back tow:
The area of water on the downstream side of a stopper which is flowing upstream.

Tow line:
A short line with a quick release mechanism used to rescue boats or swimmers. It can be attached to a boat or a paddler rescuing.

Torso The part of the body that provides most power for paddling — power in paddling does not come from the arms, but through twisting the body. toy boat A marketdroid’s concept of a canoe, e.g. Condor or Pioneer, perhaps Minnow.

Trangia 25 CookerTrangia A stove, as described by R. Kipling as ‘the kind you must particularly never touch.’

The level at which the boat sits in the water. 

Trip leader:
The person who has taken the responsibility to lead a trip.

The bottom between two waves.

The section of river that is between you and the start of the river. The side of the boat facing the oncoming current. 

Upstream V:
A V shaped wave pattern formed by water moving past a rock which is just below the water surface.

The temporary trail in the water behind the canoe; also called the wash. If another boat rides on the wash, the paddler can go the same speed but with less effort exerted.

A rise in flowing water in the shape of a pinnacle or hump, caused by the power and varying forces of the river as it accelerates or changes direction.

"Weather Cock"
A boats tendancy to turn into the wind

Weils Disease Weils Disease or Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection carried in rat’s urine which may contaminate water in lakes, rivers, etc

Weir A wall across a river to control its flow, such as the ‘locks’ on the Murray. They are dangerous, because the flow at the surface immediately downstream of the weir will be upstream — objects (i.e. boats and people) can be trapped in the circulating flow. Keep well away from weirs, both upstream and downstream.

A garment made of neoprene foam which insulates against the chill of cold water; essential for cold water canoeing to avoid hypothermia.

White water (wild water):
Fast moving turbulent water.

Wild water race:
A race held on white water, with rapids being grade 3 or over. Wild water races are usually 3 8km long. 

Wing paddle
 A type of racing paddle with an aerofoil like cross section.

X rescue:
A deep water rescue which is performed by one paddler. The rescuer drags the victim's upturned boat across his/her own boat and empties it by see sawing it and then places it on the opposite side. Very similar to a T Rescue where the boat is brought up onto the rescuers cockpit and emptied and then returned to the SAME side.

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