Advice for whitewater kayak

I started in the pool over the winter and have worked my way up to class III throughout the summer. I tried rolling afew times in my LiquidLogic XP10, but haven’t successfully nailed one without assistance. Some of my friends think I should try a smaller boat. Any suggestions for a smaller river runner that would be easy to come by and older model (say found for under $300 or so). I will plan on keeping the xp10 for big water and flatter water, but some trips call for a more agile boat. Plus, lugging the 50lb xp to more stealthy put ins is a chore. I am all but 6’ tall and under 260lbs but slowly losing (female). Thanks for any advice!

Fitted out?
Something more agile would be nice to have in the stable anyway - more boats! Can’t help there because I am out of your size range.

But just to ask, is that cockpit fit loose on you? You might be able to help with the roll a bit by adding foam if you are slopping around in there. Looks like a pretty big cockpit at 21 inches wide, if I am reading te site correctly.

Not familiar with the boat and not at your size.

But I suspect there maybe more than just the wrong boat. You might want to check out a few other things before going out buying yet another boat:

  1. Outfitting. As mentioned already, it needs to be snug’ish. Most importantly, your thigh/knee should engage the thigh brace instantly. For rolling specifically, your hips should have solid contact with the hip pads too. A loose boat is not a good boat to learn in.

  2. Get a good instructor to help diagnose your technique. It’s not all muscle.

  3. Instead of buying another boat without trying it out, you might want to borrow your friends boat to see if it makes any difference. Once you got your first couple of rolls successfully, it might just “click” and you found you can roll your own boat just fine.

Good idea. I haven’t really tightened up in the cockpit since I’ve been in it. I know I was tighter in the rented boat I used in the pool (Remix79) so I’m sure I can adjust some in the hips…I have some foam pieces I didn’t put in. Maybe that will help. This boat is described as an ‘easy to roll’ one. That is relative I guess…I’m still waiting for it all to ‘click’. :slight_smile: Physically…I know I’ll be able to do it, I just am missing something in the timing and/or motion.

get instruction
IIRC, I rolled xp10 a few times in the pool, I am 5.9x150

This is not my boat, it did not fit me properly. Again, this is based on my recollections, I think I couldn’t reach footpegs, my hips were floating in it as well.

So, get instruction, not a different boat.

The XP10 is a barge compared to most WW boats. A smaller boat will be easier to roll and more fun in II/III water. I’d recommend a river runner like the Mamba 8.5 or even a river-play boat like the Super Fun or an old Super EZ.

If you are looking at used boats on boater talk, just search the name of the kayak and look for a link to the eddy flower site. Eddy flower has the weight ranges and such. There are tons of older boats that would work for you.


find out what is available in your area
If you want to find something for $300 or less, you would be better off finding out what is available near you and then seeing if it suits your needs, rather than searching for a particular model.

Try craigslist for the metro areas within acceptable driving distance of you. If there are any whitewater clubs check with them. Club members are often selling boats and there may be listings in the club newsletter.

You can also check out the classified ads here on this site and on Once you find something in your price range that is not too distant, research it a bit more and if it fits your needs at least go sit in it. A kayak is worthless if it doesn’t fit you comfortably even if it has otherwise desirable features.

If you wind up buying an older boat, make sure you can get a skirt that fits it. Cockpits have gotten larger over the last couple of decades.

Check out paddswap web site for searching local.

They still make all size skirts and some places make them custom for you for $120 or so.

Sitting in it is a good idea, but generally you can resell a $300 boat pretty quickly without losing anything.

Look around for an Inazone 240.
The Inazone series from Pyranha was one of the best in their time and are still good WW kayaks. If you can find one (used) you will be very fortunate but happy.

Easier to roll
I am shopping too and recently read an article that all boats are easy to roll if you have good technique. I get my roll about 75% of the time in flat water. I never get it in rough water. I have rolled 6 or 7 different boats, including my QCC 700, with the same success rate. So, I believe my problem is technique more than boat. This is likely the case for you also. I have also heard that manufactures and sales people will say a boat is easy to roll to increase sales. While a flat bottom, hard chined boat is likely harder, it would still be easy with good technique. Your boat is not an especially difficult boat to roll from what I have heard. If you are in the South/East drop me a note and I can let you try some of my boats.

I just saw your location in your profile. I guess that idea is out. Check around a local club for a roll clinic. Might be worth it for you. And me too.

That should have been

Once you have a solid roll with good technique, you can roll almost anything and there isn’t that much difference. But, for folks who are learning to roll, smaller and skinnier boats are easier to learn in. The general advice for whitewater is to learn in the smallest boat you fit in. For flatwater folks, the skinnier boat will often be easier to learn in.

A log shaped hull rolls easy, but it doesn’t give you the feedback you get in a hard chined boat. I can feel it when my hull is flat to the water and I can react to that, so for me having some edge actually makes it easier.

A good instructor can have you rolling in minutes and knock out bad habits within 2 or 3 sessions. Without that kind of feedback, most folks can get a roll, but they almost always develop some little quirk that makes it unreliable. Often, it’s a rushed setup or bringing the head up too early. Those 2 things are probably responsible for 90% of failed rolls.

The InaZones are fabulous boats. They are great river runners. I’ve owned 2, Celia still has one. I replaced my last InaZone with 2 boats (I3 & Diesel). There are a lot of InaZones around and they can be gotten used very reasonably.

I do work with my local club, but only tried on 3 different sessions (2 were in Mar/April). I’m probably not doing something right wiht the timing. I should probably just suck it up and pay for a 2 day class at a kayak school. :slight_smile: I’m sure they can get it to click!

Hunt down a good instructor
It may only take a few hours.

Give it more time
Whatever the reason, and a few years down the road it’s not worth chasing it all down, I took LOTS longer than 3 sessions to get a roll as have most people I knew.

Yes, get good instruction and resolve to give it a few to several months for things to start clicking. You have to learn some paddle feel as well as the lower body and torso actions for rolling, that’s a big package.

If you stay at it, with the right boat to facilitate learning (it appears yours works), you’ll get it. Just don’t take a few unsuccessful sessions as a long term verdict.

folks learn at different rates
Some lucky individuals learn to roll in a pool in one session but many do not, even with excellent instructors.

Some folks spend months at it and suddenly have a breakthrough. Even after you have developed a reasonably reliable flat water and pool roll, it may take much longer before your roll becomes solid in current.