Paddling Terms

Hi everyone,

I’m new to kayaking and have been reading a book about local rivers and lakes where I live to find some nice calm places for me to learn.

However, I’m not sure what the author means when he uses the terms “deadfall” and “shoals”.

Could anyone offer some information about what this is referring to. I don’t want to get myself into water I can’t handle.



are shallow areas some distance from land that will be just at or below the surface.They are dangerous but usually easy to spot because they create breaking waves.

I think deadfalls means fallen trees unless there’s another use of that term.


olde_inuits reply sounds good to me

A little more info
in regards to the terms used for rivers.

a “shoal” lots of time is nothing more than a shallow sand (or rocky) bar jutting out from the shore, or in the middle of the river.

A “dead fall” is what was described above, but another term for it is a “sweeper”.

Generally the dead fall is a downed tree in the river, and a sweeper is the branches that are just at the surface of the water.

A deadfall and a sweeper can in fact be deadly if the river is running fast, and you get swept into it.

It is liable to pin you against the branches or the tree trunk, and possibly hold you underwater.

It is always best to look way ahead for such obstacles and keep on the opposite side of the river until you are experineced enough judge how safe they are.

Another killer is a “undercut rock” where the river current flows under a overhanging rock.

From above, it might look like you can paddle right on by the rock, but when you get to it, if the current is strong it is liable to take you and your boat right under it.

Be alert for all of the above

the next lesson will be about “hydraulics”



looking forward to future installments!

Explain this one!
Laminar flow.


Try this
I am partial to the Brittanica definition for boating use.


How about a muckle-up?