Log Rolling Terminology

back step – running backwards, or back peddling on the log. It is harder to do than front stepping, or running on the log.

bobbing the log – when a roller rocks the log back and forth in the water. The object is to put your opponents end of the log under the water, making it difficult for them to move their feet, hence driving them off the log.

bucking match – this is when two roller are facing opposite directions, or looking over the same shoulder (usually their left) when rolling. The two rollers generally fight for control of direction of the log .The opposite of bucking is running.

checking it down – another way of telling rollers to slow the log down, and get control of it. Judges will commonly tell rollers to “check it down” so they can call time in to start the match.

corks – another name for spikes.

crowding the center line – this refers to rolling very close to the center line. When two larger rollers surpass time limits and get to a smaller log, they must roll very close to the center line to keep their end of the log from sinking under the water. When a roller’s end goes under the water (sinks), it makes it impossible for them to keep up with the foot speed of the roller whose end is higher out of the water.

dock – a structure fastened to the shore, either supported by supports or floating, that rollers push off from in a log rolling match. It is commonly used to be sure that rollers have enough water and clearance from obstacles to roll safely.

draw – a draw is a fall in a log rolling match that was deemed by the judges to be a tie. A tie happens when the two competing roller’s feet leave the log at the same time.

fall – a fall is when one roller loses control of the log and their feet leave the log before their opponent. A fall can happen with only two steps difference from the time one roller falls in to the other.

foul – a foul is called when a roller breaks a rule of rolling during a match. One of the most common rules broken is stepping on, or across the center line of the log while rolling.

front step – this is what running on the log is commonly called. The opposite is back stepping.

kick – kicking refers to a roller giving the log a sharp jab, or snub of the log in an effort to knock their opponent off balance. Kicking is commonly done with the rollers outside foot, or the one furthest from the center line.

knot – a knot is a hard spot in a log where a branch once grew. Knots can be removed by judges at the request of the roller. They are much harder than the wood around it, and could result in the roller tripping or slipping or catching a spike on it.

on deck – when a roller is in the next match up.

pike pole – a long pole with a metal tip and hook on the end that has been used for hundreds of years to move and jockey logs around.

pole – long wooden or metal poles are used by judges to push rollers out from the dock and/or obstacles before a match can be started.

pole out – the act of rollers pushing out from the dock using wooden poles held by the judges. Rollers must be clear of the dock and/or any obstacles before a match can begin.

quick whistle – a quick whistle is called when the timing judge calls “time in” and a fall happens before it is deemed that both roller have control of the log. For example, one roller falling as the judge calls time in would be a quick whistle.

running match – This is when two rollers are facing the same direction, or looking over opposite directions when rolling. Much of the match is usually spent running. The opposite of a running match is a bucking match.

spikes – the shoes worn by professional rollers in competition. Todays spikes are commonly made of soccer shoes that have metal spikes affixed to the bottom. The spikes are similar to old metal golf spikes, except that they have a sharpened tip on them.

splash – splashing is the kicking of water into your opponents eyes using your foot, or both feet. It is not against the rules, and though risky, is used to momentarily blind your opponent.

time in – this is when time has been called (or began) by the timing judge, and the match begins with the timer running.

time limit – every log except the four log has a time limit that forces rollers to move to the next smaller log after surpassing it. Rollers do not need to wait for the time limit to go to the next smaller log if the agreement is mutual to go to the next log. Some of the more advanced professional rollers will agree to start their match on a smaller log.

timer – the judge who’s responsibility is to time the match, calling time in, quick whistles, etc.

trick and fancy – a sport that has all but been forgotten, it is an event where roller perform stunts on the log. Usually done with a partner, they can range from jump rope, juggling, roller skating, to standing on your head on top of a chair all while balancing on the log.

warm up – in most competitions, rollers are given a chance to step out on each log for a set amount of time before the match begins. This is to allow rollers to loosen up, and “feel the log out” before the match begins.

white water – refers to when the log is moving so fast that white water moves over the log.

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