Kayak Language

Inland paddling
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murray
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Kayak Language

Post by murray »

I am new to this forum and not sure if this fits the bill but here goes
I am just back from a great week in Austria and thought it would be worth trying to write some record of the trip. However it seems to me that we Kayakers do not have much of a language to use to describe our experiences. How many times can you use stopper or hole to describe a feature. If you look at the rich variety of words available in Welsh, Gaelic or regional English to describe natural features(courtesy of Robert Mcfarlane),eg Bay = slow water above a weir, Berw = boiling foaming water, Tolg = to sputter or vomit like a mountain torrent.
What words do you use to describe a river.

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Jim Tait
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Re: Kayak Language

Post by Jim Tait »

Flat and boring
Fun
F~~ing Scary

Hope this helps.........

garya
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Re: Kayak Language

Post by garya »

Bony .. lots of rocks when levels are lower

or

Bump and Scrape... too low to run, will damage both the river and your boat.

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Chalky723
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Re: Kayak Language

Post by Chalky723 »

"Nice Swim" or "Nasty Swim" will cover most rivers for me!!

D
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Mark Gawler
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Re: Kayak Language

Post by Mark Gawler »

“interesting” can cover a multitude of sins without spoiling the fun for next group.
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stonercanoe
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Re: Kayak Language

Post by stonercanoe »

Me, I love USA guide books. Their names for features are great; Bus Eater, Hell Hole, Raft Muncher, Armageddon, and these are on grade 3 runs. Don't read the descriptions for the harder stuff or you will never paddle again!
Canoeing technical term, SBR (Sneaky Bastard Rock), the green slimy small rocks that you don't spot above the huge grade 3 that you are about to run that nudge you off your perfect line, or spin you around so you drop into the hole side ways!
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murray
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Re: Kayak Language

Post by murray »

the Americans may like to over name but they are putting a description of the feature to a place which is great. Bus eater makes you think twice about paddling down the middle. Bimble is great how about "skidaddle" to get through a section quickly or "to have a quick tremble" to surf in an easy wave.

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banzer
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Re: Kayak Language

Post by banzer »

There's the opposite of over-naming.... 'Fluffy Bunny' on the Wairoa in NZ is a huge waterfall at the put-in that the guides claim to be the first rapid in order to wind up the punters...

Also PLF (obvious)
Squirrely water
Boils, seam lines, and I particularly like 'riding the dragon's back'..... many more I'm sure
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morsey
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Re: Kayak Language

Post by morsey »

murray wrote:
Sun Aug 06, 2017 9:11 pm
However it seems to me that we Kayakers do not have much of a language to use to describe our experiences.
Guilty. I also wish there were ways to describe rivers, it's just; eddy, stopper, eddy, stopper, rapid named ego, eddy, stopper narrative. That's all it's ever been. Well there was a time when there were dancing trees running alongside on the river bank, that was funky, but was a one off.

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banzer
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Re: Kayak Language

Post by banzer »

morsey wrote:
Well there was a time when there were dancing trees running alongside on the river bank, that was funky, but was a one off.
Is it mushroom time of year again?
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DaveBland
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Re: Kayak Language

Post by DaveBland »

I'm not keen on descriptions. Everyone's is different and it leads to all sorts of problems. [Thinking of a description of how to paddle 'Hammer Factor on the Green that was so wrong it's untrue].

The only descriptions I want are "left, right or centre". and "best get out and look".
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Re: Kayak Language

Post by Franky »

To the OP: Is your concern that we don't have precise enough terms to describe subclasses of features, or that we need some more "poetic" terms?

As far as subclasses are concerned, each feature is unique and so is best described technically, e.g. "transverse wave running left at 30 degrees for 5 metres".

Whether that makes for interesting reading depends on your taste and what you are reading it for :)

If you mean, "How does one make writing about kayaking more vivid?", well I think there are some nice terms already in existence, e.g. pencil, plug, boof, trashing, washing-machining, pourover, bony, manky.

I'm guessing you're asking how you can enliven an account so that it's more interesting than, "We went down a two-tiered metre-high drop and into a big stopper that was particularly retentive on the right, then had to go round a rock on the left, below which was a difficult slot, then there was a pool with an eddy on the right where we broke out, then we broke in again and there was another stopper."

I guess the thing to consider is what your real subject is. Is it the topography of the river, or is it your experience of kayaking down it? They're different things. The first is objective, the second subjective. If you're writing a guide for others who might want to do the river, you want to concentrate on the detail. If you want to convey the feeling of going down the river, let your imagination run free. There are any number of ways you can do that - use metaphors for humour, exaggerate for dramatic effect, think about the personalities of the people on the trip, and single out odd, amusing or unnerving experiences... The world's your oyster.

Most of the descriptions in the "Rivers" section of this site are good examples of prose that's detailed without being dull, and without resorting to obscure words to avoid repetition. Check out the write-ups in "English Whitewater" (many of which are edited versions of the descriptions on this site) or "The Welsh Rivers".

I think you need to decide what tone and readership you are aiming for, and take it from there. Above all, look at other examples (blogs etc.) and try to emulate the style of those you enjoy reading the most.

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morsey
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Re: Kayak Language

Post by morsey »

Beware of what you might seek... Kayaker terms

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DaveBland
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Re: Kayak Language

Post by DaveBland »

Reading that, I think it should be on the Celebs that kayak thread under "Usher".
dave

murray
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Re: Kayak Language

Post by murray »

Hi Franky perhaps I haven't been clear in my post. I am not trying to be poetic, though that would be a benefit, nor saying that we cannot write a guide but that there simply is not a language created by Kayakers.
Language is a continually evolving form, an obvious example being to google or byte. These are new words created to describe items or actions. When we were more attached to the land our language was full of words that described rivers, waterfalls etc. "transverse wave running left at 30 degrees" could easily be contained within a single word. These words could be poetic, banal or profane and their meaning could be precise or loose. Highland peat diggers had different words for cutting peats at various angles and heights in a peat bog, each with its own unique meaning. A kestrel in flight has been called a 'wind fucker' in some areas. There are indeed some words in existence but perhaps not nearly enough.

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morsey
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Re: Kayak Language

Post by morsey »

murray wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:46 pm
I am not trying to be poetic, though that would be a benefit, nor saying that we cannot write a guide but that there simply is not a language created by Kayakers.
No, you are correct. 'We' do not have words to describe our features. Every time another paddler has told me of a river, I was left thinking; "What do they mean?" We really need someone to think of words to describe a surface wave, a play wave, a green wave, a boil, a haystack, a tube, a hole, a lateral, a steep pour over, a closed in recirc, a steep towback... Please someone invent our vocabulary for us, we aren't even decided on whitewater or white-water.


What kayaking does not need is two fold:
Hipster slang (It will be mocked, beatdown, flushed, green roomed, hauled out on a throw rope).
Pedants (Who will bring their; "You called it a flare, but you meant a flair!" and a small fluffy bunny will die, and more people will think Kayakers are weird and go SUP instead. At least SUPservients are too busy falling off to worry about technical terms).



Welcome to the forum, the above is jovial sarcasm, Kayakers call it banter, and, it's whitewater.

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Badknee
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Re: Kayak Language

Post by Badknee »

I have been paddling with a range of nationalities in France this year. It make explaining features more interesting. Hand signals and drawings in the mud helped.
All the usual scratches...

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