"beamy boats"

I admit that I am no expert as far as touring boats. I have a Necky arluk IV that I think is 24.5" wide. It seems to roll easily but I can only compare it to the numerous ww boats I have owned. I would like some input on the ease of rolling between my necky and other narrower boats.

Not just the width

– Last Updated: Jan-31-08 1:59 PM EST –

Hull shape and chining, overall volume compared to the paddler, fit in the cockpit all affect how easily it'll feel like a boat will roll to an individual. Also the other boats to which they are accustomed.

For what it's worth, I increasingly think that there are two discussions here. One is can a boat be gotten up one way or another without much fuss, the other is how easily someone can do more targeted and specific rolls in a given boat such as layback, C to C etc.

About 20 years ago
Mr. Mike Neckar pulled into our parking lot with a trailer full of kayaks. Truck door popped open and out thumped this huge man, pants half way down his rear, big smile, and a few off color explatives about the tight parking lot. It was my first of many meetings.

I’ll never forget his reaction to my comment about my Arluk 11 being easy to roll.

Oh sht, if you know how to fing roll you can roll the Fing Queen Mary…they’re all easy.

That’s beginner sh

He was right. Stop focusing on the boat and just do it…OK. Please. Who’s to say half the responses you’ll get here aren’t from experienced paddlers, but those just learning themselves with an over-focus on things that don’t / should not matter.

Nothing wrong with asking
People just want some perpective on how conducive their boat is to rolling. I don’t see a problem with that.

“Can it be rolled,” and “how conducive is it to rolling” are two seperate questions.

Yes, you can roll everything from a SOF that fits like a pair of jeans to a canoe. And I agree, I don’t think people should fixate on these things. But again, coming to a community to ask other peoples perspectives isn’t a bad thing at all.

“Easy” rolling boats IMO
Never answered the question… all IMO.

NDK Romany isn’t the skinniest out there, but rolls very easily. Impex Outer Island is pretty skinny and rolls super easy. Necky DS Elaho is a super easy one to me. All of these are narrower than the Arluk, granted. But I haven’t rolled an Arluk so I don’t know if I’d thnk it was harder or not.

I thought the Seaward HV Quest was godawful - tried three times and literally could not get it up, as did my friend with the same result. No outfitting, which was part of it, but I just couldn’t get it past the point to go up. I think it’s a pretty skinny boat, but the overall volume, fit and deck height made for a fatal combo for my 135 pounds.

The Dagger Piedra beats most sea kayaks for rolling, as well as most WW boats. It’s wider than the above boats, but low volume and pretty round.

I could start a fight about how easy it is to roll the Valley Avocet - a good example of one where you might get different opinions.

the point is
comparing boats for “ease of rolling” is like comparing blade shapes for “ease of paddling”. That there area discernible differences doesn’t mean the differences matter. Wide boats are more stable, wide boats require more effort to bring back up. Skinny boats are tippy, skinny boats take less effort to bring back up.

exactly, outfitting
and not every person fits exactly the same in every kayak so it kind of leaves a variable unacknowledged. “but this boat rolls easier for me” when it’s the outfitting that made the difference.

boat doesn’t matter … much
"I could start a fight about how easy it is to roll the Valley Avocet - a good example of one where you might get different opinions."

Avocet - first sea kayak that I hand rolled. Although I missed my first attempt last night because I fell out. It’s stock with no outfitting.

Boat+body type (height, weight, torso length, arm & leg length, thigh thickness, flexibility, attitude, skill level, etc.) together can make a difference in perception of ease to roll. One persons perspective vs. another’s should yield different lists, likely with some common overlap.

A 300lb. person in your Piedra might not be able to roll it at all because the fore and aft deck might be 6 inches under water, or their knees might be up under their chin.

Gumby and Dubside could probably hand roll a tug boat.

These type of questions really can not be answered by any of us for someone else because there are no clear divisions along a continuum of boats.

A better question might be: Can I learn to roll X boat? And the answer, in most cases, would be yes (assuming the paddler was within the design range for the kayak - i.e. fits). Boats can be padded out, paddlers can be wedged in, boats can be rolled loosie-goosie (my preference).

An even better question might be would X boat be the best boat for me to learn how to roll? In most cases paddlers don’t learn on the easiest possible boat because they don’t know what that boat is yet, they want to learn on what they already own, or they are placed in a rental/borrowed boat by an instructor. I believe anyone can learn to roll nearly any boat, but it may require a lot of perseverance.

How does this help the original poster? It probably doesn’t. Just give it a try and stick with it. You may succeed in 1/2 hour or maybe it will take you months.

I’ll stand down now.


That’s not MY point
"comparing boats for “ease of rolling” is like comparing blade shapes for “ease of paddling”. That there area discernible differences doesn’t mean the differences matter"

You need to understand I’m not talking about “ease of rolling.” I’m talking about attributes of a boat that factor into the “rolling experience.” And you know full well there is more too it than wider is harder, narrower is easier. For every type of roll there is probably an attribute in a boat that can be good or bad for that type of roll.

We have been discussing design features and attributes on this site for years. Frankly I find this recent push telling ppl “it doesn’t matter just roll the darn thing” is ridiculous.

If someone is curious about their boat and other peoples impressions, they should feel free to come here and have a honest discussion rather than being told to ‘shut up and roll.’ Which if you read the OP’s post, he can and does. He just wants to know how ppl feel about his boat’s rolling attributes as compared to boats other people have tried.

(I also think the Avocet is very easy - have encountered some who don’t.)

overlooked too often - learning to roll may often be served by a different boat than the one that works over time afterwards.

Boats easier to roll?
Paddle easier to roll with?

Harder to roll with hood up?

Harder to roll on a monday than a sunday?

Feathered, non feathered?

Wider or narrower?

Soft chine vs hard chine vs multi chine

harder to roll a ‘recreational’ kayak than a ‘sea’ kayak?

Harder to do in the winter than the summer?

Harder to do with a bottle of water on your deck??

Better to lean forward?

Better to lean back?

Better to ctoc?

better to sweep roll?

Greenland stick vs euro blade?

Fsk vs SK

Harder to roll with watch on left wrist than right?

Smaller paddler rolls easier?

Larger paddlers rolls easier?

Harder to roll in wind?

Harder to roll in current?

harder to roll with camera in your hand?

It really is winter isn’t it.

Sorry, I guess im being an antagonist :stuck_out_tongue:


Yes… sometimes…it depends
While it is chic among some of the very experienced folk to say the boat doesn’t matter, for less experienced/skilled folk the boat does make a difference. By ‘boat’ I am including fit and volume as well as hull profile and deck heights.

Most often a boat that is relatively low volume, that fits well and is not excessively wide or square will be easier to roll than a high volume, enormous cockpitted, very wide box.

I thought I said more than “shut up and roll”, given that the poster inquired about “ease of rolling” which I was addressing and you are talking about attributes of the rolling experience what would those attributes be?

Perception(s) …

We’ll probably just have to agree to disagree on this one. I’m in EJ’s camp, so when I say “boat doesn’t matter … much” I’ll refer to EJ’s statement on the Rolling and Bracing video whicih goes like this: “If you’ve got a paddle in your hand (or even if you don’t) and a good hip snap, there’s not a boat that’s more or less your size, that you can’t roll extremely easily. The difference between rolling one boat and another boat maybe has a difference of 1, 2, 3 percent difference in the amount of force it takes, if that. However, the difference in people’s ability to roll one boat or another is huge.”

He explains that this is because “people lose focus on the task at hand.” When they experience something different than they are use to (e.g. different boat), they lose focus on “head down and hips” (hip snap) and end up lifting their head. He goes on to explain how to overcome this when you switch boats and I believe what he says really works.

Truly, I don’t notice much difference between rolling different boats that are roughly sized for me, but that is because I work hard at improving my roll whenever I have the opportunity, and I know you do as well. Last Tuesday I got my first ever hand roll in a sea kayak. So what did I do next? Tried an offside hand roll and again I was successful. I probably did another 15-20 hand rolls that night. This really builds confidence (even though it’s only a pool roll). I’ve probably rolled nearly 30 different boats to date and have yet to encounter one that I could not roll, but I’m sure there are some out there.

I’ve studied EJ’s and Kent Ford’s rolling videos extensively and now am mining data from Dubside’s video. Never let anything get in the way of your education …


Thank you wetzool


– Last Updated: Feb-02-08 6:00 PM EST –

I've only rolled about 2 dozen different model kayaks and my roll is not as solid as yours.

But, I witnessed the greater difficulty you had rolling my Inazone than your RPM. And you have an audacious hip snap. Janice Lozano confided to me, when I had the Animas, that it was the one boat she found she couldn't roll. I've seen even Sally have difficulty with certain boats.

So, while the boat SHOULDN'T matter, in reality it sometimes does.

As said elsewhere: skills matters most - but for me it would be disingenuous to assert that fit and boat do not matter at all.

It matters in some cases
for sure, and I don’t think anyone is saying otherwise. A wide surf kayak, or surf ski, or WW play boat may require a different approach, but it’s not such a big deal.

Endless analysis between subtle differences among very similar boats is silly.


– Last Updated: Feb-03-08 8:07 AM EST –

Wetzool says this -
"...between rolling different boats that are roughly sized for me,..."

Jim said this -
"...a boat that is relatively low volume, that fits well and is not excessively wide or square"

Salty says, from what I can figure, that I could roll the Queen Mary if I just believed enough.

John, darned if I can figure out where you disagree with Jim in a substantive way. Having rolled together in pools, I for example don't think you'd be surprised at my inability to roll the non-outfitted Quest HV. I am not at all sure that Salty's final answer agrees with either of the above.

…disagree on this one…

– Last Updated: Feb-02-08 6:37 PM EST –

I titled my post "Yes.... sometimes...it depends" and tried to make the broadest possible statement and John's response was: "Jim, We'll probably just have to agree to disagree on this one."

I'm not sure where John and I disagree, but he feels we do ;-)

I give up