13 year old gets roll on first attempt

Not just paddling

– Last Updated: Feb-01-08 1:28 PM EST –

I used to ride horses more seriously. It was astounding how easily the young ones could get comfortable going over fences on a horse compared to those of us who didn't start until we were adults and had earned the bucks to pay for the habit. There was also a giant safety factor in being that loose. The kids didn't stiffen up as much, so fell off a lot less while learning.

I enjoy seeing stuff like this because it never hurts to be reminded of how straightfoward something like rolling can be. But in fairness to most reading this thread, I'd bet that most of us could have managed this kind of grace if we had learned rolling when we were relatively unstressed and limber kids rather than waiting until adulthood.

It’s not the body of an adult
that hinders things…it’s the paralysis analysis and heads full of irrelevance and self limiting baggage that gets in the way.

Ever notice that the folks who have the toughest time learning things like rolling are the very ones who are immersed in all the drama about this or that boat, paddle, certain style etc?

That is not a coincidence.

Um - and I’m one of them

– Last Updated: Feb-01-08 3:36 PM EST –

And the time it took me had everything to do with having to overcome sheer fear, already discussed. It didn't have squat to do with overanalyzing boats or equipment.

It was only AFTER I got three in a row in a different boat and paddle combo that I realized something about that arrangement was working better than before. I was more shocked than anyone when it happened - I got into the water with no expectations that day.

You have much experience more than me. But you don't know what was in my head when I was under the water each of those many failed times over two years.

It's not just you. There is a tendency for many people to take after-the-fact reflections about rolling and plop that into the heads of the people like myself when they were having a lot trouble with it. I can see how it happens, makes a nice closed logical seeming circle and all, but it's not what was.

I am not saying that I know what's in the heads of others who have posted here that they had trouble rolling, when they are actually upside down and trying for it. It's pretty individual. But I would back away from making assumptions about their psychic state unless I was in the water with that person.

I guess
I can understand how you took that personally. It’s my take after teaching a few hundred people over the years Celia. I stand by it.

No harm - think of it this way?
Like I said, I can see how this happens. And to your credit you have tons of experience at being in the water with paddlers learning a roll.

That said, let me ask you a question. Because my core problem was fear and claustrophobia, I felt a need to make choices to protect a certain comfort level. Some of these introduced undue difficulty in the process. But I had to leave some head room for the anxiety or it wasn’t going anywhere at all.

When you have someone coming to you that seems obsessed with details that you think are less important - is that ever someone who is actually covering up being fundamentally afraid?

Absolutely, and

– Last Updated: Feb-03-08 1:21 PM EST –

believe it or not your situation is very common.
Befor they can concentrate on rolling they first must get comfortable in the water. This can mean a pool, though I only once used a pool, a mask, adequate clothing, repeated wet exits etc.

As an instructor in anything physical you develop an ear for all the alibis...back, knees, etc. In a sense people are pre-programmed to fail, and have rationalized that subconsciously. They are afraid, and have a way out. Ask any ski, climbing, kayaking instructor.

The key to me is tricking them in a sense by not responding or focusing on that stuff. Rather, focusing on logical progression and step by step successes. Build people up, and they will be at ease. I bet once you overcame the fear, entrapment, claustrophobia stuff, the roll was not far behind.

My crude, as usual, message is simply that the head limits all of us, and good instruction re-directs the head rather than re-inforcing it...make any sense.

Maddie had problems being submerged too
We’ve practiced wet exits over the past few years and Maddie always had a problem being underwater, never mind being upside down in the kayak. Trying to get her to go snorkelling was always a struggle – she always seemed OK once she was in the water, but getting in was a problem.

I think it was a combination of two main things that made it easy for her, as well as overcome her fear of being under water.

First was starting her out by letting her hang under the boat and get oriented, with me there to pick her up as soon as she wanted. This, I believe, is the second biggest factor in her becoming comfortable under the water. The Inuit people had some true wisdom in this method. Celia, do you think it would have been easier if you had someone there that you trusted who would lift you out of the water - just to get you comfortable being submerged?

The second factor, and I think the most important, is that she WANTED to learn to roll. That stong desire helped her to get past her fear of being under water.

I think her desire to roll came about a year and half ago when I took her to the sea kayak symposium at Port Townsend where she stood in awe of Shawna Franklin, Leon Somme, and Dubside as they gave a rolling demonstration. That was the first time that she said she wanted to learn to roll. Incidently, Maddie met Justine Curgenven at a talk in Vancouver that we attended last fall and Maddie was again in awe – there are some pretty good role models in the paddling world. Anyway, I didn’t push her to get rolling, I figured when she was ready to try it, she’d let me know – and she did. And I think this desire put aside all the fears and gave her the determination to do what she set out to accomplish.

I don’t think it mattered to her what boat she was in (I picked her a Necky Eliza) or if it was a hard or soft chine.

As we were driving home after the pool session, she looked over at me and said “Dad, you know, when I was under water I didn’t even think about holding my breath, it was something that I just did”.

She does make me proud. :wink:



Maybe after she builds her own kayak

– Last Updated: Feb-02-08 12:47 AM EST –

I suspect that Maddie will want to work on her technique a bit more before attempting hand rolls – but I’ve no doubt that when she makes her mind up to do hand rolls that she will.

What is planned to start in the next few weeks is something that Maddie has been bugging me about for quite a while now – she wants to build her own kayak. So in a few weeks (after I finish my current kayak build and the shop comes clear) she’ll begin to build her own stitch and glue kayak. We’ll be documenting this build and you can expect to see some very cool, and different, personalized features that she’s come up with for this boat.



It’s Dave Steele
I’ve been a David Wilcox fan for years and I have to say, until you mentioned it, I never though of it – but that song does sound like something David Wilcox would do.

The singer is actually Dave Steele in a now defunct band from Ann Arbor, Michigan called “Big Dave and the Ultrasonics”. Unfortunatley the band broke up in 1999 but I had the good fortune of seeing them play live in Vancouver earlier in that year. Their 3 albums are a bit tough to find now but if you can find them, and you’re into some refreshing up beat blues, they’re definitely worth picking up.



If you had me to teach…

– Last Updated: Feb-02-08 11:01 AM EST –

at the least you could have joined the ranks of the many that I flummuxed, so there'd have been an entertainment benefit.

To the question above - I had help in the pool sessions and many pond sessions. But what I had to deal with was being able to execute a plan when I was out of the pool, and that took time. An "obia" is just one of those things that takes the time it takes to whittle down.

Seriously, I hit the setup position fine on the first shot and most times after. I could bring the Squall up, in a big way, with no more support than PFD in my hands quite early on. None of the steps were an issue until the paddle was in my hand and I was in full command of its movement. But the panic would overcome my ability to control the last half of the roll without lifting my head or diving the paddle.

In hindsight, I believe that I'm one of the odd ones who would have learned a roll fairly quickly if my initial goal had been to learn with hand paddles in something like the Piedra, a WW boat but one that is pretty roomy and normally shaped so it wouldn't have felt foreign or too cramped. At most a GP, but it's still a paddle and having a paddle in my hand was what kicked off all the issues.

Salty, even if you had me up in a single lesson it would not have eliminated the goodly chunk of time to get by the panic so that I could practice and make the roll real. I could have compressed the elapsed time a bit by just about living in the pool - I know that works because I was able to really accelerate my time to a left side roll and my first WW combat roll that way. But the state of anxiety I had was still enough that it would have taken more time than the "got it on my third try" folks here.

The other thing that I've learned is that it takes me longer to get pissed off enough about taking a swim to fix it than some others. Again, WW seems to have accelerated this all, but it must be remembered that I was long into a flat water roll by the time I started that and swimming in WW is usually a whole lot more dangerous. It is at best a guess as to whether WW would have had this beneficial effect earlier on.

BTW, I didn't stay with it because I had a burning desire to roll per se, tho' after long enough it did unfortunately warp into that. I stayed with it because I believed that if I was going to sea kayak, having a roll was a required safety skill.

Wow, uncanny
Thanks for the correction. Amazing resemblance.

Go Maddie !
That was fantastic.

Good job and good job dad!

Tips for YouTube?
Great video!

Would you be kind enough to share tips for encoding?

The stuff that I “produce” looks just horrible on YouTube - compression artifacts galore.

wag wag wag

Oh, this is just WRONG!
(from someone who hasn’t gotten her roll yet)

Just kidding. That’s awesome. You must be very proud! :slight_smile:


No big secrets
This was the first time that I’ve ever done anything with video – I used Windows Movie Maker (the free software that comes with Windows). When I published the movie, it was initially 101 mb – too big for Youtube by 1 mb, so I changed the compression settings in WMM to make the file about 45 mb – I figured it was probably better to reduce the file size on my end than have YouTube do it. Turned out that it worked rather well. But it was merely by chance.

Sorry I can’t give you any big secrets, I’m rather new at this myself.