Mystified by the jargon veteran boaters throw around? Don’t know why everyone got real religious all of a sudden? If you’re new to paddling agua blanca, this glossary of kayaking slang terms will get you well on your way to understanding the lingo of the river.

Glossary of kayaking slang terms

Slang terms—nouns

Beater (n.) A kayaker whose skill doesn’t match the level of whitewater paddled, often leading to a beat-down and much mirth—for everyone else.

Bootie beer (n.) Punishment for swimming. Pour your beer in your bootie and chug it down. Often goes hand-in-hand with a rescue beer, which a swimmer should purchase for his rescuer to ensure future rescues.

Carnage (n.) What may happen if you blow your boof, roll, huck or lean upstream. Not to be confused with Spiderman’s archnemesis. Often followed by a yard sale.

Class fun (n.) Slang term for a rapid or stretch of river that offers more smiles than worries. Think: deep, big wave boogie.

Dirtbag (n.) A term of endearment for broke, unemployed kayakers dedicating their lives to chasing flow. Often found living in a dilapidated van down by the river, and spoken of with admiration and envy by kayakers with day jobs.

GORB (n.) Good Old Rafting Buddy. Has been known to ask, “Does the river take out where we put in?” Tolerated for kayaking tips.

Hair boater (n.) A skilled paddler pushing the limits of sane boating on steep creeks. Mullet and love for Mötley Crüe not necessary but encouraged.

Local boater (n.) The best person to follow down a river you are unfamiliar with. They know the best lines, the worst holes and appreciate payment in beer after showing you a good time.

Open boater (n.) A small but mighty band of boaters who believe half the paddle equals twice the paddler.

Squirt boater (n.) A mysterious and tiny tribe of mermen and merwomen.

Slang terms—verbs

Boof (vb.) A powerful stroke and hip thrust off the lip of a waterfall, flake or rock. This maneuver helps avoid getting stuck in holes below, and makes you look stylish.

Carp (vb.) The fishy resemblance of a kayaker trying to grab air between unsuccessful rolling attempts.

Chunder (vb.) When a boat gets caught up so violently in a hydraulic it results in unintended surfs, backenders, pirouettes, and occasionally cartwheels, often continuing long after the paddler has been ejected.

Huck (vb.) The act of throwing oneself over a waterfall.

Wallace (vb.) A beatdown. As in, “Hey, watch that guy getting wallaced in that hole!” See also: chundered.

Slang terms—adjectives

Brown (adj.) Originated with Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat character carrying around a bag of poop at a dinner party (seriously), but it mostly refers to difficult rapids, drops or stouts. Best paired with a claw hand gesture and a GoPro.

Church (adj.) Slang term for a perfect run or perfect day providing a transcendent kayaking experience. Not to be confused with the Whitewater Church in South Fayetteville.

Gnarly (adj.) What a kayaker’s feet look like by the end of summer.

Manky (adj.) Sketchy condition of a rapid or stretch of river. Synonymous with very rocky or unappealing rapids. May also refer to the nasty, moist gear moldering in your trunk.



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