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Hi, and Happy New Year!
Question... I have an unstable left shoulder, but am an avid swimmer. How dangerous is rolling a kayak?
I think rolling up with your right arm away from the boat would be fine. Keep your left elbow in close to your body as you come up.
And happy new year to you!
Yeah, just focus on the right side roll.
Good rolling is more about style than force. Go slow and feel for any discomfort, work with someone that understands and limit high energy WW rolling. You will find out what works. If it hurts , don't do what you did to make it hurt. Find your limits and sty within them.
I think if you set up on the left side, sweep with your right hand blade and roll up on the right side of the boat you will probably be OK.
But be advised that the conditions in which you are likely to need to roll a kayak, like whitewater or paddling in surf are such that you might be required to suddenly brace on either side.
If you have an unstable shoulder, you can suffer a dislocation simply from a poorly-executed, forceful, forward stroke. If you have not kayaked before, I would suggest getting some good instruction on basic technique. Focus on keeping both of your hands in front of your transverse body plane at all times by using good torso rotation. Never allow your hand to trail behind your body plane. With the high brace, keep your hands low, beneath your head, and your elbows close in to your sides. Some of these terms will probably not mean anything to you if you have not kayaked, but they will if you get some basic instruction
The shoulder joint is least stable when the ball of the joint (humeral head) is high and forward in the socket. While paddling, think about keeping your shoulder low and back.
I agree with Roym. Many people teach whitewater rolls - like the C-C - which are timing and strength intensive. They're not necessary for touring kayaks, as you're rarely - if ever - in a situation where you have to be concerned about banging your head on the bottom, as you are in whitewater.
Concentrate on the more gentle sweep rolls and nailing your technique and you should be fine. I cannot emphasize enough that technique is critical; a well-executed roll is almost effortless.
Thanks everyone! Sounds like a plan!
its very easy to hurt your shoulder learning to roll, speaking from experience. Its natural to get a bit nervous when the roll fails, and the natural reaction is to try to muscle yourself up anyway. This is the last thing you want to do.
Normally I'm a fan of self-teaching for those dedicated enough to try but since you only have one good one to work with, I'd get expert help to make sure you avoid injuring your good shoulder. As Bryan says its really finesse, and finesse isnt intuitive when you're upside down under water. In the meantime if you always keep your elbows close to your side (don't "open" the armpit" you're unlikely to injure a shoulder.