Pro Tips: River Slang Defined
Do you have a non-whitewater friend who has a hard time following the conversation around your boater friends? Or maybe even you are having a hard time with the conversation. Here is a quick guide to get everyone up to speed on the latest lingo.
Jangle - jangling - Word Of The Year for 2023 - When your boating friend is always late, talking to everyone at the put-in, and slow to get their gear on.
“Hey Howard, quit jangling and let's get on the river!”
Jangle Bell - Handheld bell to ring at your friend that is jangling
Shrig - Mostly a kayaker hand gesture of an upside-down L to show they are cool.
“That drop was shrig bro.”
Church - Another hand gesture seen in the kayaker world. Think of the “OK” sign with your hand but expressed with an ultra cool relaxed tone. Can mean just going boating or doing something awesome.
Brown Claw - Maybe the hand gesture that started them all? Often seen while a boater is going over a big drop, or surfing a wave. Also a driveby “wave” to give to other boaters, similar but cooler than the “Jeep Wave”
Gnar - Shortly for gnarly.
Beater - A bit of a derogatory term for someone who isn’t a very good boater. They flip or wrap their raft, swim out of their kayak or ducky, and/or end up swimming as a passenger. They’re often in over their head, both literally and metaphorically.
Beat-down - You miss the line and end up in that terrifying recirculating hole or eddy. Maybe you are stuck in your kayaking trying to roll. Maybe you raft is getting surfed uncontrollably. Hopefully you aren’t uncontrollably swimming and pretending you're in a washing machine.
Chunder Dome - A big honking hole that you can get beat-down in. Usually along a highway filled with onlookers. The river equivalent to the Super Bowl.
“YEAHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! WAHOOO!!” - The highway onlookers from their camp chairs as you go for a ride in the Chunder Dome.
Send it - Whitewater version of Nike’s “just do it.” Also applicable to the ski slopes. “Just send it Bro!” other versions of the term you may hear: (adjective)“feeling sendy” and (verb)“sending!”
Yard Sale - typically seen at put-in and take-out of popular rivers. Users forget that other people are around and just start tossing gear everywhere, leaving no room for other river users. You may also hear it used to describe the aftermath of a flip, wrap, or swim. Also seen on the ski slopes
Carping - when your kayaker friend goes upside down and is desperately trying to roll back up. Their roll is unsuccessful because they are bringing their head up first and trying to get air, looking a bit like a big old carp fish.
Mank - dirty, unclean, nasty. Sometimes referring to a rapid that has undercut rocks, wood, or other things that make it an unclean rapid. Many people also have a “mank bucket” in their dishwashing set up. It is the first bucket that collects all of the nasty food particles and leftover syrup and sauces.
Janky - Broken, falling apart, not up to standard.
“Dude you drysuit is pretty janky, might be time to send it in for repair.”
Flaggus - All the little odds and ends that tend to find their home in one disorganized place. Flaggus comes into play in the Yard Sale at put-in and take-out, and all too often at the floor of our raft’s cockpit.
Boney - typically low water and lots of rocks.
F.U. Rock - A rock that is hard to see before you find your raft stuck on it. Often, when you are rafting a river with low flow.
Type II Fun - That trip you maybe thought was going to be fun that turned into punishment for days on end. Turned back to fun once you got home alive. Related to (but very different) term: Type I Fun
Chundered - verb - a synonym for beat down. You can also get chundered in other parts of life, like preparing for a hard exam for school or getting stuck in a bad conversation at the bar.
“Hey Thomas, how is studying for the bar exam going? I’m getting CHUNDERED.”
Hero Line - The hardest line down a rapid, typically through the big hole or feature only a hero would take. Also known as a “Hollywood Line” if there are a lot of spectators, especially at the chunder dome, there to witness your feat.
Gravity Rig - No rapids, no straps, (hopefully) no problems. Some people like to tempt fate and not strap down their gear and hope gravity keeps it from falling into the river.
“Take-out is only a few miles from camp, it is for sure a gravity rig day.”
YouTube Scout - You are prepping for your first time down a stretch of river. Many people post videos of their trip. You watch all the parts with the rapids so you can learn the line from the comfort of your home.
Idaho Sandbag - When you’re driving along the highway in Idaho and something looks like it’s nice splashy fun class III. But in reality, it’s huge, scary, and continuous Class IV+. Commonly experienced on the Upper Lochsa River.
Sun Pump - Electric blowers don’t have enough power to inflate a boat to its desired PSI. Instead of using a hand pump many just rely on the sun to help warm the air inside the champers to get that perfect PSI.
“Dude, are you going to top-off your boat? Nah, I’m just waiting for the sun pump to hit it”
Laying Treats - Serving up a delicious line on a steep rapid by stomping a sick boof.
“Howard is out there laying treats at Husom”
Are you still confusing your non boater friends? Let us know what we missed and we can add it to our list.