Best Roll - Kayak With High Seat Back

Dear Folks:

Looking for advice from those who are very proficient at rolling a sea kayak. I just purchased a new kayak (16’ Eddyline Nighthawk) with a much higher seat back then my previous kayak. Which rolling techniques work best on a kayak with a very high seat back? And what resources (Youtube, dvd’s, etc.) would you recommend that may address this situation.

Thanks in advance to all who respond.


front finishing?

– Last Updated: Jun-15-10 12:04 AM EST –

A storm roll can be done with your head over your knees throughout the whole roll. It's a different sort of roll from all the rear-finishing rolls which are more commonly used, but once you get the feel of it, it's no harder.

I'm not sure where to direct you for on-line instruction. Although you can see good videos of front-finishing rolls at Cheri Perry's website

I'd say the best way to learn it is to get an hour of instruction with someone good. It'll be money well spent, and it'll get you going in the right direction.

Other options, more similar to what you're probably doing already, are a C to C or sweep to C. Those can be finished without leaning back much.

back band
Just change the back band, or for that matter dispose of it completely and sit upright like you’re supposed to.

Easy chair is for lounging, kayak’s for paddling.

Bill H.

Have You Try To Roll It Yet…?

– Last Updated: Jun-15-10 5:10 AM EST –

may not be even a problem. If you have a decent roll, you may be surprised (actually shouldn't be) how your technique adapts.

There are variances in (touring and ww) kayaks but usually not to such a great degree that it absolutely makes a roll impossible. I think sometimes we just psych ourselves out unnecessarily.


C to C

Change nothing
Just do the same roll you did before and you’ll be fine. A lay-back style roll doesn’t require that you be laid out on the back deck.

congrats on that Nighthawk!
had a feeling it was right for you :smiley:

one of the gems on consignment @ Kayak Corral. I spotted it way back in March wondering why no one snapped it up.

oh yeah, try to roll it first, as others posted it may not be an issue. I watched you roll that day on the Huron. You have good technique, you learned from Damon, he knows how to teach the roll…

if it is, replace it w. a lower backband. Here are some very good ones: Snapdragon, BomberGear, Immersion Research.

Happy paddling!

Easy fix

– Last Updated: Jun-15-10 2:03 PM EST –

I had a Nighthawk and really enjoyed it. I only sold it because I wanted a lower back deck to further improve my Greenland skills. I did not care for the back rest at all so I swapped it out with a back band. It certainly made getting in and out easier. The Nighthawk rolls just fine but the peak behind the cockpit makes layback rolls a little more difficult. However, you should be able to perform C to C,sweep and storm rolls perfectly fine.

Congrats on a great kayak. Take her out in some textured water for a real treat :-)


Sweep roll, and replace seat back
The sweep roll should finish straight to the side of the boat, not back at all. You come up in a fighting position.

High seat backs are no good, but many people swap out high backs for back bands. The high seat backs encourage bad forward stroke technique, make getting in the boat too clumsy, and interfere with rolling.

Storm roll
I changed from a back deck to a storm roll. I find the ending position much stronger in windy seas.

But it requires to change your roll quite a bit.

See for example.

extended paddle roll
This one works well and covers lots of mistakes.

Bob Gagnon does hand rolls in that boat.

I go to the extended or Pawata roll at the first sign of difficulty or needing to slow down.

Check out this

this kid is about 90 lbs rolling a 24 inch wide boat that is 16’6" long.

That is Sandy and the guy next to him is his Dad , me.

good stuff dad!
Be proud!

That seatback is downright painful
I rented a Nighthawk. Boat was nice; hated the extremely tall and hard seatback. Should be easy to replace. It’s not just for rolling ease–it’s for your basic freedom of movement and comfort while paddling!