26 White Water Rafting Terms and Sayings Few Will Know

Are you finding yourself daydreaming at work about all the fun you’re going to have white water rafting this coming summer?  So are we!  Here are some “insider” terms you won’t find in advertising or on websites that you can drop on your next rafting trip to really get your guide’s or fellow guest’s attention!

raft getting sprayed with water from rapids on Clear Creek Raft Masters Tours Colorado

  • Chunderdome (n)

Definition: The area in rapid featuring most turbulent or consequential whitewater.

Ex: “Man, I got off my line and ended up straight in the Chunderdome. What a ride!”

  • Submarine-ing (v)

Definition: The act of submerging and resurfacing a raft in a big wave.

  • Dump-truck (v)

Definition: The act of dumping out all the occupants of a raft with exception of the guide.

  • DOTY (Dad of the year) (n)

Definition: The adventurous Dad who signs his family up for the more advanced section against their request.

  • Wrecking-ball (n)

Definition: Typically the biggest person in the raft who is going to absorb the most impact from the oncoming waves.

  • King Arthur’d (v)

Definition: The act of having your paddle forcefully taken by the guide because they have lost theirs to the river.

  • Storming the Castle (v)

Definition: When your raft is coming into the crucial part of a rapid.

  • Blue Angels (v)

Definition: The act of running a very technical rapid very close to another raft leaving, little margin for error.

  • Scuba Steve (n)

Definition: The person in the raft wearing pool goggles.

  • Ice Bucket Challenge (v)

Definition: The act of rafting a big rapid in early spring when the water is cold and you know you’re going to get soaked.

  • Riding the Bull (v)

Definition: The act of sitting on nose of the raft with legs hanging out using only the bowline for stability through a rapid. Said person will typically have one hand in the air.

  • The Gladiator (v)

Definition: The act of running a challenging line through a rapid with an audience on the side of the river.

  • Rotisserie (v)

Definition: The act of spinning your raft before pinning your boat between two rocks, 180 degrees to the direction of the current, and subsequently flipping over.

  • Theater Seats (n)

Definition: The eddy at the bottom of a challenging rapid used to watch incoming rafts make their attempt to run the rapid.

  • Pinball Wizard (n)

Definition: The person in the boat who falls out and bounces off every rock from the top to the bottom of the rapid.

  • Gerbil (v)

Definition: The act of managing to climb to the top (which used to be the bottom) of a raft during the course of a flip without falling off. Very rare! Also known as a dry-flip.

  • Riding the Rail (v)

Definition: The act of your raft tipping up on one side to the point where it almost flips.

  • Popcorn (v)

Definition: The act of bouncing up and down in an attempt to free the raft from a rock stuck on a rock.

Ex: “Look at the popcorn in that raft!”

  • Rose’d (v)

Definition: Being Rose’d is the act of getting a swimmer to the safety of the raft but failing to pull them in. Coming from the movie Titanic, where Rose held onto Jack from the safety of the floating door, leaving Jack submerged in the freezing waters.

  • Hero Line (n)

Definition: The route through the rapid that has the lowest odds for success.

  • Pot Hole (n)

Definition: A kayaker that cannot be avoided during your navigation of the rapid and is subsequently run over.

  • Rising from the Grave (v)

Definition: The act of nearly falling out of the raft but for the efforts of one foot securely locked in. This act requires generally involves the submergence of the head and most of the upper body.

  • O.S. Line (n)

Definition: The Outer Safety line that goes around the perimeter of the raft. Frequently mistaken for another “O.S.”

  • Behind the Curtain (v)

Definition: The act of rafting behind an overhanging waterfall.

  • Piercing the Veil (v)

Definition: The act of rafting through an overhanging waterfall.

  • Clean Teeth, Clean Lines! (v)

Definition: The myth that cleaning your teeth before a day of rafting will aid in your successful navigation of the days rapids.