Using all sorts of floats for overcoming rivers and watercourses

By Tiffany Allen,2014-05-05 21:59
9 views 0
Using all sorts of floats for overcoming rivers and watercourses


Milan Bílý, Bronislav Kračmar, Petr Novotný

Charles University


Milan Bílý, Bronislav Kračmar, Petr Novotný

Prague 1999

Katedra sportů v přírodě

Univerzita Karlova, Fakulta tělesné výchovy a sportu v Praze

Vedoucí katedry: Doc.PhDr. Miloš Příbramský,CSc.

     Milan Bílý, Bronislav Kračmar, Petr Novotný, Prague 1999.

    Illustrations Bronislav Kračmar, Prague 1999.

    Table of contents

    1. Development of canoeing in the World and in Czech

    republic (Novotný)

    2. Characteristics of water terrain with regard to the

    usage by canoeing (Kračmar)

    3. Paddling equipment, technology and maintenance

    4. Paddling technique and tactics on the canoe (Bílý)

    5. Paddling technique and tactics on the kayak (Bílý)

    6. Eskimo rolls (Bílý)

    7. Procedure of teaching

    8. Rafting (Novotný)

    9. Dangers (Kračmar)

    10. Sprint canoeing (Bílý)

    11. Water slalom and sprint

    12. Water tourism (Kračmar)

    13. Some other variants of paddling

    14. Used and recommended literature


     “People will never end to search for exciting sports and entertainment, never end to wish for inebriety, encompassment of elements and water gives it to them all…”

“We cannot fight the water, we can only cooperate with it.”

    1.Development of canoeing in the World and in Czech republic

    Using all sorts of boats for overcoming rivers and watercourses is old as mankind itself. Pictures of all sorts of primitive boats are on sculptures, which were found on miscellaneous places on earth. A silver boat found in the grave of a Sumerian king is the oldest retained evidence. Its age is estimated approximately somewhere around 6000 years.

    Boats which had the main impact on later sport and tourist paddling have their origin from the north American Indians whom built and used small boats moved by paddles for traveling, hunting, and even for war purposes (fig.1). They were open boats with raised bows (tip of the boat), typical by its characteristic construction, where there was a fixed shell planking from birch-bark on the hard frame, built from naturally grown ribcages. The same method was still used for building canoes in the 50ties of this century and was changed after the invention of waterproof glues, which allowed shell construction. Another big change came with the invention of fiberglass, which completely stopped the usage of wood for the construction of tourist boats. The canoe got to Europe with the discoveries of Columbus. The word canoe is a term used to describe a boat powered by paddles. In England, these boats were used for recreational purposes already in the year 1850 and from there canoes spread slowly all over Europe.

    Second boat, which was crucial for the development of canoeing, is the Eskimo kayak (fig. 2). Its origin is from Eskimos in the northern parts of our planet, where in the hard wind conditions a fully closed boat just with a hole for a person was developed. This hole was then covered with an apron tightly attached to the kayak, which stopped the water from getting in the kayak even when the boat flipped over. These boats were narrow, deflected in keel, very maneuverable, used by the Eskimos for hunting for seals. They were very good at maneuvering these beats and they could even roll back the boat when without leaving the boat when they flipped over (the Eskimo roll). They’ve used whalebones for the construction of

    the frame, which was then covered with sealskin. Eskimo sat on the bottom of the kayak, which gave him certain stability.

    Kayak was used in Europe mainly in Scandinavian countries, from where it spread out to other parts of Europe where it was used for recreational and later for sport purposes.

    Spread of recreational and sport canoes and kayaks lead to birth of first canoe clubs. The oldest of all is the Royal Canoe Club in England founded in 1866. After this one, other clubs were funded in Germany, France and other countries.

    In our country, the biggest credit for making the largest advancement in the evolution of water tourism and canoeing has Josef Rossel Ořovský, who in CYK (Czech yacht club) propagated and gave the encouragement for building water canoes, which were used for tourism on our rivers. After a birth of a few canoe clubs, in 1913 the Svaz kanoistu kralovstvi ceskeho the predecessor of today’s CSK (Czech Canoe Union) was founded (Union of Canoeists of the Czech Kingdom).

    On 20.1.1924 in Copenhagen, the international canoe federation, International Representantschaft fur Kanusport (IRK) was founded with the membership of Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Austria. Our union entered the IRK in year 1925 like its fifth member and it is considered as one of the founding countries.

    In year 1933 the first European Championships in sprint canoeing took place in Prague, which contributed to the submission of the canoeist races to the Olympic games in year 1936. In the year 1938 the first World Championship took place in Voxholm. The first World Championships in water slalom took place in year 1949 in Geneva, and from the year 1959 it takes place along with the down river. All the races take place every year.

    During the World War 2 IRK was destroyed and in year 1946 on its base the ICF (International Canoe Federation) was founded, which still works today and which’s chairman was from 1954 to 1960 Czechoslovak canoe officer JUDr. Karel Popel.

    In the year 1967 World Championships in whitewater slalom took place in Lipno and in the same year Sprint Canoeing World Championships took place on Elbe in Špindlerův Mlýn. First academic World Championships in whitewater slalom took place in year 1994 in Prague-troja and one year later, we were the organizers of one race of the World Cup series.

    At the present time World Championships in sprint canoeing take place every year except the year of the Olympic Games. A difficult competition is the World Cup, because the athlete must prove high performance over a long time period.

    After the first Olympic Games in whitewater slalom in the year 1972 in Munich the first artificial course was built in Augsburg, lying 60km from Munich. Another start had to be cast aside for 20 years until the Olympic games in Barcelona 1992.

    Senior World Championships take place in odd years and the Junior World Championships take place in even years (the first World Championships were in the year 1986 in Spittal Austria,

    in the year 1996 it took place in Czech Republic). The last large competition is the world cup, which regularly takes place since the year 1990.

    Now same famous names from the Czech sprint canoeing history:

Olympic games winners

Brzák-Syrovátka (Berlin 1936, C2 1000m), Mottl-Škrdlant

    (Berlin 1936, C2 10 km), Holeček (Landon 1948 a Helsinki 1952, C1 1000m),

    Čapek (Landon 1948, C1 10 km), Brzák-Kudrna (Helsinki 1952, C2

    1000m), Doktor (Atlanta 1996, C1 500 a 1000m).

World Champions

Pavlisová- Zvolánková (Waxholm 1938, K2ž), Karlík-Felix

    (Waxholm 1938, C2 10 km), Felix-Kudrna (Copenhagen 1950, C2 1000m a 10 km), Vokněr (Macon 1954, C1 10km), Vrdlovec (Tampere 1983 a Mechelen 1985, C1 10km), Szabó (Plovdiv 1989, K1 10km), Doktor (Dartmouth 1997,C1 500m).

    Most outstanding personalities from sprint canoeing

    Generation of 1930-1940: B. Karlík, J. Brzák - Felix (three time world champion), Vl. Syrovátka, V. Reif, J. Vízner, L.Cígler. In 1940-1950: J. Holeček, Fr. Čapek, B. Kudrna. 70ties: Čtvrtečka, Šach, Masár. 80ties: Vrdlovec, Kubíček. Break of 1980/1990: P. Procházka, A. Szabó, M. Doktor. 90ties: M. Doktor.

    We are a very successful country in whitewater slalom and in sprint canoeing for many years.

World Champions

    Lída Veberová Polesná, K1 ženy, (6 times), Vladimír Jirásek, C1 (4 times), Petr Sodomka, C1 (8 times). Deblkanoisté Valenta - Stach, brothers Pollert, Kmošťák - Halfar, Nedvěd - Schwarz,

    brothers Benhák and many others.

    In 1955-1971 mixed doubles were on World Championships where we’ve also got some champion titles (Martanová - Pecka,

    Novákovi, Sirotková - Janoušek, Krčálová - Svoboda,

    Traplová -Svoboda, Koudelovi).

Olympic winners

    Lukáš Pollert (Barcelona 1992, C1) and Štěpánka Hilgertová (Atlanta 1996, K1 women).

    Outstanding personalities in whitewater slalom in the 90ties are: Lukáš Pollert (gold on OG 1992, 2. OG 1996, 2.WC 1997), C2 Šimek – Rohan (silver OG 1992 and 1996, four times world champions, six time world cup winners), Jiras Máder (gold WC

    1999), kayaker Štěpánka Hilgertová (gold OG 1996, gold WC 1999, 2x world cup winner), Irena Pavelková (winner of WC 1997), Luboš Hilgert, Jiří Prskavec and many others…

    2. Characteristics of water terrain with regard to the usage by canoeing

    Sport and recreational paddling doesn’t require just knowledge of the paddling technique but it also requires the knowledge of water characteristics of flat and mainly the whitewaters. If we don’t take sea tourism in mind, there are flat waters

     and the whitewaters.

Flat Waters

Are mainly artificially created water reservoirs, valley dams, thponds, flowed gravel deposits and fractures. From 14 century,

    there is a network of ponds built in Czech republic. It today holds about 21 thousand ponds with a total surface of 49000ha. There is a reserved part for water recreation and sports on some ponds. In this century, there has been many valley dams built in Czech, their total number has reached over one hundred. You can rarely find naturally created water surfaces. They are the Bohemian Forest tarns and blind shoulders of rivers.

    We can find currents even on flat waters, but they are not very interesting for water sports. It is caused by the influence of weather and wind. On large water surface, the waves can get so large, that the waves get dangerous for open boats.


    Whitewaters are streams, rivers, leads and floating channels. Watercourses on the land of Czech Republic have most water in the spring period. This period is in low lands in February and March and in the areas of middle and higher watercourses than in April and May. Lowest watercourses, limit the period for water canoeing to the period from August to the winter. -See Scheme “Average flows…” (fig. 4)

    When moving on the watercourses (further only on rivers), we should realize that the immediate water flow, which takes the boat down the current, is part of a very complicated cycle of the water in the nature. The most involved factors are usually rain and water vapors. Rainwater flows down the terrain and at the same time it soaks in to the ground. The amount of flow depends on the division of rainfall through out the year. Air temperature also has a big impact. Higher temperatures cause melting of glaciers in the alpine areas, which causes higher flows in rivers. Similarly the temperature influences the melting of snow in our areas. The size of the river basin is also a big factor. On small rivers, flooding occurs just

Report this document

For any questions or suggestions please email