Best online rolling resources?

Am looking to head to a lake in the coming weeks to learn to roll with a friend. Both of us are good paddlers but haven’t tried rolling yet. While we realize an instructor-lead course would probably be better, we wanted to try to learn ourselves before going through the expense of taking a course. So, I’m looking for good online learning resources for how to learn to roll sea kayaks. In doing searches here and via Google I’ve found a few good write-ups, including the following:

Anywhere else I should check? Any tips? :slight_smile:



what lake
Tim what lake are you going to? I am also new at this and live in up state N.Y. and my join you.

Round Lake

Will probably be driving up to Round Lake, north of Clifton Park. What area are you in?

Rolling Resources…
Here’s a few for you:

Seems the entire URL didn’t paste correctly, but the third one above is accurate in entirety. Just copy and paste into your web browser.

Pick up a copy of Paul Dutky’s book “The Bombproof Roll and Beyond.”

For me the most difficult hurdle to overcome was learning to let your shoulders and head leave the water last.

Good luck!


Rolling Tips
Before I switched to a Greenland paddle, my biggest problem learing to roll was keeping the paddle blade at the surface. I kept diving the blade. This seems to be a common problem so I thought I would offer a few things to help with this:

  1. Wear a divers mask while learning. It will let you watch the paddle blade better and it will keep water out of your nose.
  2. Put a paddle float on the end of your paddle. This will let you develop the rest of the motions without having to focus on the blade angle. Once you start to get comfortable with that, let some air out of the float and try again. Be careful with this technique as you have the potential to learn bad habbits.
  3. Once your face breaks the surface, dont try to watch what you are doing anymore. I find that trying to look around at this point will tend to bring your head out of the water and cause you to sink.
  4. If at all possible, find someone with a good roll and have them come along. A trained eye can fix a problem in 5 minutes that may take you 5 days to figure out.

    Good Luck


Yeah, I’ve heard lots of tips about always making sure to keep looking down and keep your body in the water as long as possible, and the paddle float is a great tip I’d forgotten about!

Thanks for the links, they should help.


round lake
Tim I am in Dutchness Co. Like to paddle the Adirondacks. Were is Round Lake And Clifton Park? Post the weekend you are going.

Perhaps A Tape?
I found “The Kayak Roll” to be very helpful. While I needed a trained eye to spot and correct my mistakes, there many who post here who have learned on their own.

I’m speaking as a beginner who has rolled a number of times in laboratory conditions. I seem to have lost it again, however, I haven’t really had much time lately to work at it.

The only risk I can see in learning sans instructor, is something that my sensei told me. He said that it’s harder to break a bad habit in technique than it is to build good technique from scratch. So, if you do end up needing an instructor, he/she may have to get you to unlearn some bad habits. Not so horrible really.

Good luck…Lou

watch those shoulders
instructor or not, NEVER NEVER attempt to muscle your way up. This is one of the most common mistakes that I see beginers make(and I put myself in that category not too terribly long ago).

Its far too easy to get frustrated and get out of the “paddlers box” when failing your rolls over and over again. The common misconception is that you are not trying “hard enough” and the common fix is to use more arm/shoulder muscle and crank down on the paddle while trying to hip snap. Trust me as someone who learned the hard way - Its not worth it, and it just doesn’t work.

A technique that I used to teach two people thus far is the paddlefloat assited roll. Simply leaning out onto the float while edging the kayak and laying back will help you to get a feel for the kayaks axis of rotation. Rotating the boat along its natural axis while leaning on a paddle float will allow you to develope the elusive hip snap that is what really brings you to the surface (at least in a c2c roll).

It’s so common for beginners
to think that here’s some kind of “muscle” needed for rolls. A well-executed roll is so effortless, it is almost REALLY easier to upright the boat than to fall over in the first place.

I learned to roll with a Greenland paddle… extended out, as most native Greenlanders themselves practice. The wood is naturally buoyant, the design unfeathered… no confusion when you need to sweep the paddle.

When I first began learning, I thought I had to be concerned with a dozen thoughts of technique. Once I got the hang of it, I realized how simple the roll really is, and how muscle memory works. Just like any physical activity skill. My wife would always tell me as she watched my first hours of failed rolls, “Stop thinking so much! You over-analyze everything!” Yep, she was right.

Keep your elbows close to yur body in all cases to prevent shoulder trauma, and remember… it’s not a powerful force that rights your boat and you, it’s mostly a repositioning of mass over the boat’s center of gravity.

When you get it, you’ll smile… and I wish that for you!



Looks like you’re a few hours south of here. Clifton Park is up 30 mins north of Albany. Round Lake is appropriately in the town of Round Lake, just a little further north :slight_smile: We’ll be going sometime next weekend. I’d like to go this weekend, but business calls unfortunately!


Well, for the record, we had a lot of fun trying, but neither of us made a successful roll. We watched the videos and read as much as we could, but suddenly when you’re upside down in the water what looked so simple makes no sense at all :slight_smile:

Anyway, we practiced wet exits, getting back in the boats without going ashore, and the eskimo recovery I linked, which did help to get a bit of a feel for rolling. We look forward to trying again, but perhaps next time it will be under the guidance of an instructor :slight_smile: