Rowing and Paddling

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Rowing and Paddling


the propulsion of a craft by muscular power applied to oars or paddles. Vessels with oarlocks are rowed and vessels without oarlocks are paddled. Sculls, seagoing shells, and popular boats are rowed. Kayaks and canoes are paddled “flat” and in slalom events.

Sculling, kayaking, and canoeing, which developed with the evolution of transport, merchant, and popular rowing, are the most developed forms.

Rowing in seagoing shells became a sport in the 1930’s when motorboats and launches replaced rowboats as lifeboats in the fleet. Rowing in six- and four-oared shells with a coxswain is being developed. Races are held, as a rule, over a straight course of 2,000 m for men in six-oared shells and over 1.000 m for women and teen-agers in four-oared shells. Races are sponsored by the sports clubs of the Navy and of the All-Union Voluntary Society for Assistance to the Army, Air Force, and Navy. USSR championships have been held since 1966 (except for 1970). Rowing is one of the events in the water competitions in socialist countries.

Popular rowing involves special one- and two-seat sporting shells with coxswains or improved recreational boats (which also participate in competitions). The racing boats in popular rowing have a long narrow frame and required dimensions: maximum length, 4.8 m (one-seat) and 6.3 m (two-seat); minimum width, 1 m and 1.5 m, respectively; the weight and height of the boats are unrestricted. In its rowing technique, instruction methods, and training, popular rowing is closest to sculling; the racing distances and rules of competition are the same. During 1928–52 competitions for the USSR championship in popular rowing were held; since 1953 the individual republics have sponsored championships. The RSFSR and the Ukrainian SSR are the most advanced in popular rowing.

Slalom canoeing and kayaking originated with recreational boating in kayaks and canoes on mountain rivers. The first slalom competitions were held in Austria in 1934. The courage and spectacular abilities evinced by this type of paddling are responsible for its wide dissemination in the countries of Europe, America, and Asia. The rowers use special one-seat kayaks and one- and two-seat canoes made out of Plexiglas with water-tight compartments that make them unsinkable.

Slalom competition is held over courses of varying difficulty, depending on the velocity of the current (2–5 m/sec and greater), the complexity of the water course (tortuousness, roughness), length (400–800 m), and the number and complexity of the man-made obstacles (gates). Men and women take part in the one-seat kayak competitions; only men take part in the one-seat canoe competitions, and male and mixed crews take part in the two-seat canoe competitions. Individual and team championships are held (with three crews in each type of event). Since 1948 the European championship (even years) and the world championship (odd years) have been held regularly. Athletes from 21 countries participated in the Ninth World Championship (1969). Slalom events were included in the Olympic Games in Munich (1972). The German Democratic Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany. Austria, and Czechoslovakia are most advanced in slalom canoeing and kayaking. The International Canoeing Federation (ICF) has a special committee on slalom. The first all-Union competitions (individual) in the USSR were held in 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.