Washington, which in recent years has developed into the nation's No. 1 canoeing center, now makes inroads into canoe literature.

In the last few weeks two stalwarts from the 2,000-member Canoe Cruisers Association have emerged with tomes on the double-ended sport.

Ed (Boulderbuster) Gertler came first with "Maryland and Delaware Canoe Trails," a 180-page compilation of big and little canoeable waterways, some spilling over into southern Pennsylvania.

Gertler has been hooked on paddling for a decade and a half and produced the book from first-hand experience.

In the preface he writes, "I have paddled all the streams in this volume. Be assured that if I recommend carrying a dam or falls it is because I carried (or wished I had)..."

Gertler covers a wide variety of waters, from the crashing whitewater of the upper Potomac to the shallow, meadering swamp streams of Maryland's Eastern Shore.

The trip descriptions are presented in a pleasant, folksy fashion with a mix of historical and technical facts plus personal observations. It includes maps, information on safe river levels and directions to put-in points.

"Maryland and Delaware Canoe Trails" is available at local outfitters and sports stores for $7.95.

The other new canoe epic is Bill Endicott's "The River Masters," a massive review of the 30-year history of world championship whitewater canoe and kayak racing.

Endicott is slalom coach of the U.S. whitewater team and led his charges to their best showing ever in this year's world whitewater championships in Jonquiere, Quebec.

The U.S. team swept to overall victory in the slalom events.

His book, the result of six years of research, was ready just before the races. It is a compilation of the history of the sport, starting with the first crude whitewater racing machines and how they evolved, and includes narrative descriptions of every world championship series.

The last 40 pages are charts of the best international competitors and how they fared over the years.

It is a highly technical book, built especially for growing legions of serious whitewater racers. It is available for $8, plus $1.20 postage and handling, from Endicott at 905 6th St. SW, Washington, D.C. 20024.