35 Canoeing Terms

Canoeing is a popular summer activity that nearly everyone can do. It’s also an old form of transportation, and has been around since the 17th century in North America. The following article will give you essential canoeing terms to know so you can better enjoy this water sport.

  • Beam: The beam is the width of a canoe from side to side.
  • Bent-shaft paddle: A paddle with a bend near the top which increases power but decreases control.
  • Blade: A blade is one end or edge of a single, usually straight piece of material such as wood that creates the shape of the canoe.
  • Bow: The bow is the front end of a boat and curves out to allow for prime visibility when paddling.
  • Broach: When you turn your paddle perpendicular, or even upside down, in order to slow yourself down while on the water this is called broaching. It can also be done with an oar as well instead of just a kayak paddle tips.
  • Buoyancy: Buoyancy refers to how much air there is inside something that’s immersed in water (the more buoyant it is), which usually happens if it has been inflated beforehand. If not, then what was being submerged could sink due to its inability to support itself by holding enough air within its own volume and weight.
  • C-class canoes: C-class is a type of canoe that usually has a shorter, wider hull and typically uses bulkheads in the bow to allow for more cargo space.
  • Canadian canoe: A Canadian canoe refers to any kind of single passenger boat with an open or closed cockpit where the paddler sits on top of two parallel thwarts set at about 24 inches apart from one another which are connected by crossbars running across them. One end of this boat rests on the ground while the other side goes into water when it’s put down there.
  • Chute: A chute is a rapid that can be easier to paddle through than others.
  • Deck: The deck of the boat refers to its upper surface and sometimes also includes an open cockpit area for passengers (e.g., when there are two thwarts) or cargo.
  • Downstream gate: If you’re paddling downstream, then this means going with the current which will require less effort on your part as opposed to going upstream where it’s more challenging due to trying against the flow of water instead. In other words, this term could simply refer to any type of river situation in which you travel downriver from one point to another while using a canoe or kayak as your vehicle. You would need different strokes to paddle downstream than if you were going upstream.
  • Draw: A draw is the process of lifting a boat so that it doesn’t touch the bottom and then drawing a line in the sand around its outline, which can be useful for mapping or measuring purposes.
  • Eddy: A relatively calm area that is away from the main current, usually near the shore.
  • Eskimo roll: The term Eskimo roll can refer to a type of rescue technique for kayakers where they get out of their boat when it’s upside down by flipping themselves back over into the water and then continue on with their outing.
  • Fast and clean: When you’re trying to paddle fast through a rapid or downriver section this is called “fast and clean,” which refers more specifically to the timing aspects rather than your average speed because if done incorrectly these maneuvers often lead to mistakes instead.
  • Flatwater: This term can refer both to still bodies of water like lakes or slow-moving rivers and also to areas when paddling normally where there are no waves or rapids.
  • Freeboard: Freeboard refers to the vertical distance between the waterline and deck of a boat, with it being larger on boats that have an open cockpit area for passengers (e.g., two thwarts). The term’s name is derived from “free board” which means not touching any part of the vessel while at sea – in other words if your canoe has low freeboard then you might want to attach keels before heading out onto rougher waters because otherwise you risk swamping it easier than if its design were different.
  • Grip: The grip refers to how a paddler holds their paddle, with there being several different styles depending on if you’re using one or two hands as well as what type of vessel you’re trying to steer – for example in canoes it’s often easier when using your index finger but more difficult when holding onto the center shaft instead.
  • Hull: A hull is basically just another word for boat and might refer to any type of watercraft including kayaks, rowboats, sailboats, etc., while also referring specifically back towards the main body of said vessels that make them buoyant on top of all other aspects like weight distribution (i.e., gunwales), rudder, keel line, etc.
  • J Lean: The term J-lean refers to a type of stance in which the paddler leans their torso forward while moving their hips back so that they can execute a stroke with force and precision without being slowed down by having too much weight on one side.
  • J Stroke: This is just another name for the sweep paddlestroke which starts from either the right or left side of your canoe’s bow (i.e., stern) and then moves towards downstream as you come out of each thrusting motion. It has its origins in French Canadian terms meaning “from left to right” if translated literally into English – thus it was first used in Canada but now is also used on national and international racing circuits.
  • Kayak: Kayaks are yet another type of canoe but with a more pointed bow (i.e., stern) so that it can be used to enter shallower waters or move into smaller spaces for fishing among other things – nowadays they’re also generally made from plastic whereas traditional ones were once made entirely out of wood like those in the Pacific Northwest region of North America where we see them regularly today on tours as well as countries including Iceland, Greenland, Scandinavia’s Nordic Countries (Denmark and Norway primarily), Russia’s Arctic territories such as Karelia and Siberia among others.
  • Keel: The keel is just one part of a boat’s design and if it were different, the vessel would be either more stable or less stable depending on what type of keel line that was added or removed.
  • Keel Line: The keel line is just one part of a boat’s design but can also refer to any point in which there are open water such as at locks along waterways where boats have to travel through nautical gates leading them inland or downstream – for example when going upstream (i.e., against the current) you’ll need a better technique than with downstream paddling because the currents will push up from below and make it difficult to move forward without first coming back downstream before heading out again.
  • Line: Lines are an integral part of canoeing and refer to the many different types of lines used for different purposes – some are attached at one end where it enters through a hole in the hull or deck, and then exits out another hole on the other side.
  • Oar: Oars were originally made from wood but now have been largely replaced by metal blades (e.g., aluminum) that can be inserted into oarlocks so they don’t get lost as easily when not being used; this is why people might also see wooden handles called ‘oarloons’.
  • Paddle: The paddle is just one part of a canoe and refers specifically to the type of device that’s used for rowing – it can either be single-bladed, two-bladed (e.g., K I), or three bladed (K II); if using a different stroke than those mentioned above then an additional blade will most likely be needed so make sure your paddles match what strokes you’re planning on doing otherwise you won’t be able to get the desired effect.
  • Rudder: A device that’s used for steering and controlling a boat (e.g., canoe) from the back or stern; this is usually composed of two parts – one fixed to the rudderpost which remains in place while another moves with it to steer.
  • Shaft: The shaft connects directly between the oarlock and either blade, where it can be adjusted so there’s enough room for an individual to sit without getting their feet caught up underneath them when they’re rowing – if you have ever seen paddles made specifically for children then these will typically lack a space because they don’t need as much room as adults do due to sitting closer together.
  • Thwart: A thwart will run across the width of a craft and should be placed near where someone sits inside when using it – there’ll typically only be one on either side for recreational boats but those who compete might need two if they want to do more than one type of stroke.
  • Upstream Gate: One might say they are going upstream when they’re against the current, which means that water is moving away from its source instead of towards it – this typically coincides with things like rivers and bodies of water where you will always need to be in a boat if you want to go along them because walking or running alongside would not work as well; these gates usually have bypasses for those who decide they don’t care about winning but still want to finish what’s been set out before them.
  • Waterline: The water line marks how high up on the side someone should sit inside their canoe/kayak so there isn’t too much friction between the seat back and any part of their body – it’s also a term which can apply to rivers as well because this is how high up the water will be in that area if there were no waves or other disturbances.
  • Weir: Weir refers to where an artificial dam has been put across a river and controls both its height and flow rate – these are sometimes used for flood control but more often than not they’ll just divert water into another channel, making them good options for those who want their property on either side of the weir to stay dry; historically speaking, however, these have also been built with the idea of catching fish while letting people go through (i.e., without paying).
  • Yoke: A yoke is a connector bar that’s put between two pieces of equipment such as a canoe and a kayak so that they can stay together more easily; these are usually made of aluminum or nylon but there are other types which might be used as well depending on the objects in question.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close