Glossary of Paddling Terms

JUNIOR: 18 years of age or older on the 1st of January of the year of competition provided he/she has not qualified for senior status.

SENIOR: a competitor who has accumulated four or more points at the Canadian National Sprint Racing Canoeing Championships. A competitor classes as Senior in a specific event.

MASTER: 25 years or older if female and 30 years or older if male

BACK NUMBER: Number worn to distinguish lanes during a competition. In crew boats the person at the back of the boat wears it.

BLOCK: Contoured foam block on which a sprint canoer kneels.

BOATMAN: Anyone who works on the docks, at the club or at regattas.

BOAT RACKS: Sawhorse like apparatus used to place boats on when not in the boathouse.

BUN: Small cork filled cloth sac used for kneeling on in a C-4 and a War Canoe.

BUNGEE: Elasticised rope used to secure boats for transport.

BURGEE: A paddling championship typically in the shape of a nautical flag.

C-BOATS: Specially designed flat-water canoes, which are designed to be paddled in an upright position. They come in the C-1 (single person boat), C-2 (two person boat), C-4 (four person boat), and the c-15, which is also known as the War Canoe

CKC: Abbreviation for Canoe Kayak Canada, the sport’s national governing body

CANMAS: Canadian Masters Championship, held each year immediately after the National Championships wherever the Nationals are held. This is a one day event.

CHIEF OFFICAL: The top official at a regatta. He/she is a member of the Competition Committee. Among their duties are: Receive and resolve any protests that may be filed. Verify and approve all crew substitutions. In the event of inclement weather or other unforeseen circumstances, which makes it impossible to carry out the competition, postpone the competition and decide on another time when it may be held.

COMMODORE: The chair of the board of directors

COX: Steersperson and captain in the War Canoe.

DECK NUMBER: A number placed on the deck of the boat indicating the lane drawn by the competitor or crew for a race.

DIVING: Submerging the nose of the boat with each stroke.

DNF: Did not finish the race.

DNS: Did not start the race.

DUSEN/VANDUSEN: A top of the line high performance honeycomb carbon fibre kayak.

FARTLEK: Long continuous paddle. Generally about 10km and 15km for the older paddlers. Used to work on technique and to build endurance.

FLAT BLADE: Easy to use kayak paddle for beginners.

FOOTBOARD/FOOTREST: An apparatus in a kayak used to push off for greater stroke strength.

HACK: To chop at the boat with the paddle while paddling thus damaging the boat.

K-BOATS: Specially designed flat-water kayak.  They come in the K-1 (one person boat), K-2 (two person boat), and the K-4 (four person boat).

LIFE BELT: (Personal Flotation Device) safety belt worn by all paddlers under the age of midget (14)


  • Abenaki, Bell Lake, Dartmouth;
  • Banook, Lake Banook, Dartmouth
  • CHEEMA, Lake Thomas, Waverley
  • Maskwa, Kearney Lake, Halifax
  • MicMac, Lake Banook, Dartmouth
  • North Star – This a rowing club on Lake Banook, not a paddling club.  It’s located behind Banook Canoe Club’s beach area.
  • Orenda, Lake Echo
  • Pisiquid, Windsor
  • Sackawa, First Lake, Lower Sackville
  • Senobe, Lake Banook, Dartmouth

POGIES: Specially designed outerwear to cover the hands while allowing the paddler to paddle without hindrance in cold conditions. There are canoe pogies and kayak pogies.

RACK/FLOORBOARD: A wooden apparatus used in sprint canoes to raise the paddler to provide a flat surface to paddle on and distribute the body weight throughout the hull.

REFEREE: An “on water” official who follows a race down the course. He/she has the power to judge the race, stop the race, caution or disqualify any crew or competitor failing to race within the rules.

REGATTA: A competition in sprint canoe/kayaking. At this competition a competitor may race a maximum of 8 races provided 2 are at the 200m distance.

RIDING WASH/SURFING: Using the wash of another boat to propel forward a boat-like paddling downhill.

RIDING YOUR KNEE: In a sprint canoe, using the front leg instead of the shoulder to push your body back straight thus causing “diving” in a sprint canoe.

ROTATION: Using predominately the muscles of the torso and lower body for the forward acceleration of the boat.

RUDDER: An object, which hangs off the back of a kayak, used to steer with. It is controlled from the front of the boat.

SHOOT THE BOAT: On the last stroke of the race throwing yourself to the back of the boat to shoot the boat forward an extra foot or two. After the “shoot” the boat will come to a stop.

SINGLETS: Approved racing shirts to be worn by a competitor to identify the club to which he/she belongs.

SOCK (Wrap) A BOAT: To put a tube-like protective fabric cover over the boat to help protect it while it is in transit.

SPINNING: Paddling faster than your boat’s moving; An inefficient stroke.

SPRAY SKIRT: A fabric, usually water repellent cover that fits snugly around the paddler and over the cock pit of a kayak while paddling.

SPRINT: Short high-tempo, high intensity burst of high speed.

START: A series of different strokes used to accelerate the boat from a stationary position to top speed.

STARTER: An “on water” official who starts the race. The objective is to give all competitors a dead, even start on the start line. A starter can stop a race and/or disqualify a competitor.

STROKE RATE: The number of strokes a paddler takes per minute.

TECHNIQUE: Proper application of physiological principals to most efficiently propel the boat.

THE “BLACK”: Legendary Junior Men’s C-4 cup raced annually at Nationals.

THE “J-STROKE”: A steering stroke used to maintain a straight line in the sprint canoe.

THE STROKE: Person in the front of the boat that controls the pace of the crew during the race.

WASH: Waves that come off the back of a boat.

TO “WHIP IN”: This must be done before a race. The competitor goes to the Whipper In to pick up his/her racing bib and his/her deck number that is fitted onto the deck of the boat.

WING BLADE: A kayak paddle with a specially designed scoop to make the stroke more efficient.