best roll video?

-- Last Updated: Apr-22-12 9:15 AM EST --

What is the best video / DVD for learning how to do rolls in a white water boat? I'm going to take the next class, but till then I want to see what I can learn.




kayak roll?

– Last Updated: Apr-22-12 10:27 AM EST –

I assume you are talking about rolling a whitewater kayak with a double bladed paddle, but you did not specify.

A lot of short rolling vids can be found for free on youtube. Some are good, many not so good. I happen to think those by Chris Spelius are pretty good and will give you some oversight as to the two most commonly taught whitewater kayak rolls: the sweep roll and the C-to-C roll:

A lot of folks seem to like Eric Jackson's DVD "Rolling and Bracing". EJ seems to favor a sweep roll with a layback to the back deck (I haven't seen the whole thing, however):

I think "The Kayak Roll" is a very good video but it pretty much limits itself to the sweep roll:

"Grace under Pressure" is a good video focusing primarily on the C-to-C roll:

If you are going to buy a DVD it might be best to get one demonstrating the type of roll that your instructor(s) is teaching. I would suggest that you search youtube for "kayak roll identifier" and watch all of Spe's vids to identify which roll is closest to what you are being taught:

I Second the Eric Jackson DVD
But every time he says “hip snap” you need to think and do “knee lift” or “thigh snap”.

(just my arrogant, egotistical opinion.)

I got to get Jackson’s video
as I have not seen it, but the Kayak Roll is very good. Shows pretty much only one roll, but shows it very well with lots of exercises and gotchas explained.

Then, practice … The theory is not that complicated, but to get the feel for it when everything moves around at the same time takes lots of practice -:wink:

Bracing and Rolling

because they’re really one and the same thing

thanks. I just ordered a copy of the EJ video

Third Eric Jackson
Bracing and Rolling ---- it teaches you how to brace and how to roll, but also in the context of staying upright … and gives you a bag of tricks that will make you a more confident paddler.

“The Kayak Roll” video actually killed my roll because I was usuing a surf kayak with a different kind of hull shape. Not all rolls work well for all body types and boat types. I was doing the EJ roll by myself in about 15 minutes.

EJ’s Roll
What kind of roll does EJ use? Is it a C to C? It doesn’t really look like a sweep with a lay back as mentioned above.

What would you call it?

here are a couple of videos
In this excerpt from Eric Jackson’s “Rolling and Bracing” he talks mainly about sculling and bracing back up from a high brace position:

At the very end of that clip EJ does a roll that is pretty much what I recall him teaching in that video (from the parts I have watched).

If you watch that roll (which begins about 5:20 in the video) it looks pretty similar to this roll demonstrated by Chris Spelius but with a bit less emphasis on the set up position:

What I believe EJ recommends for more advanced paddlers is to try to try to slice the paddle blade to the surface and hip snap up while leaning back, rather than go into a full, formal set up position. That is why Spe refers to doing the same roll de-emphasizing the set up as “the EJ roll”.

No it isn’t the same slow roll completed by lying fully back on the rear deck that Greenlandic paddlers seem to like, but it has a much more pronounced back lean than many sweep rollers and nearly all C-to-C rollers use. I guess you can call it whatever you like.

If you watch really good K-1 and C-1 play boaters, that is what they nearly always do because it is much quicker than tucking and going into a full set up position. I don’t think that skipping the set up position is the best way to start out learning to roll, and I doubt very much that is what your instructor(s) will try to teach, however.

Another video …
Is this one:

Similar to the sweep roll, but not exactly the same. This one is realy effortless and there is pretty much no downward pressure on the paddle. Try that with a half paddle held losely in your hands - if it does not work, you are doing something wrong: there should be no forcing it at all (unlike some other rolls like C2C, where certain amount of strength is required).

After watching that particular video and trying it on the water, my WW playboat roll became good enough to trust it (before that it was more miss than hit).

I guess it depends where one is in their development… Some videos might work better than others. The above really helped me nail down at least one reliable roll on WW (and it works on long sea kayaks too).

sweep roll
What Spe refers to as the “Twist and Slice” roll there is what I call the sweep roll, and is pretty much the roll that is extensively demonstrated in “The Kayak Roll” DVD.

The prime characteristic distinguishing this roll from the C-to-C roll is that the kayak is rolled to an upright position as the sweep is being done. The set up position is virtually identical to that of the C-to-C roll, but the finish position is a bit different.

It is a very smooth roll because it does not require an explosive “hip snap”. The so-called hip snap is diffused over the time it takes to sweep out, and if conducted properly, the boat is already nearly half rolled up by the time the paddle is swept out to 90 degrees from the long axis of the boat. In fact you can watch the slo-mo part of the demo and freeze the roll when the paddle reaches 90 degrees and you will see that the boat is very nearly sitting on its side perpendicular to the water surface.

In the comments Spe says that you do not have to think about “lifting your knee” during this roll. The DeRiemers in “The Kayak Roll” do however advise the paddler to “engage the knee” on the side of the sweeping paddle blade as the sweep is commenced. If you try this roll you will find that there is no way to go through the motion of sitting up and back and rotating from one front quadrant to the opposite rear quadrant without putting resistance on the knee to the side of the sweeping paddle blade.

This video shows Spe’s demonstration of the C-to-C roll:

Done properly, the C-to-C roll does not require great strength and I have seen tiny women, much smaller than the paddler in the video perform this roll effortlessly. It does require decent flexibility, though as no rolling of the boat occurs during the sweep. If you freeze this video when the paddle has just been swept out to 90 degrees you will find that the boat is completely flat upside on the water and has not been rolled up at all.

To get in a good “arch” position (the momentary position at the conclusion of the sweep just before the hip snap of the C-to-C roll) does require one to have enough flexibility to get the paddle and upper body up to the surface of the water and to allow the side of the body opposite the sweep to be “wrapped around the boat”. That is why the sweep roll may work much better with some modern freestyle kayaks which tend to be quite thick (vertically) just in front of the cockpit, making it difficult to wrap around the boat. In the sweep roll the kayak has already rolled up and is “out of your armpit” before you ever reach that position.

The sweep roll usually finishes leaning back a bit looking down over the sweeping shoulder along the paddle shaft. The backward lean can easily be emphasized if desired.

In the C-to-C roll as classically taught by folks like Chris Spelius and Ken Kastorff, the body comes up facing directly forward without any backward lean and the ear lying on the shoulder of the sweeping arm. Some C-to-C rollers do choose to lean back towards the rear deck as the boat is coming up out of the water, however.

How EJ Helped Me…
I went to live instruction and they said “keep your head down.” I walked away with a terrible, unreliable roll.

I bought EJ’s DVD and he said “keep your head BACK.” That was the beginning of me getting an easy, reliable roll.

“WW or sea kayak” doesn’t matter much,
…as long as it fits you decently. Speaking strictly in terms of learning and practicing rolls. Though if you’re having to wet exit, a sea kayak is easier to empty out than a WW kayak is.

EJ’s rolling & bracing DVD is excellent, but so is Kent Ford’s “The Kayak Roll.” The latter has a great troubleshooting section.

I’m glad to have both. Even though I bought both AFTER learning to roll, they helped me clean up the rough edges that popped up most springs after being off the water for 5 months or whatever. There’s more than one way to skin the cat.

rolling dvd
I like EJ’s rolling and bracing and the Kent Ford video. My copies of EJ’s videos are the original - I know that he has a newer version of Strokes & Concepts & also Rolling & Bracing.

How well EJ’s may work for you may depend on your flexibility and how you fit in your boat. If your have decent flexibility and and your back deck is low enough - it will be fairly easy for you lay back on the stern of your boat when rolling and bracing.

I’ve seen a few people who either have limited flexibility or boats with a higher back deck that have found it difficult to lay back.

When I learned I used elements from both videos. Other videos I have seen have been Ben Lawry’s dryland rolling video & total whitewater instructions - combat roll.

I like some aspects of Ben’s, but I would have preferred if he took his student from dryland and onto the water. Then he could of shown how to fix problems - which is something that the Kent Ford video does very well, and EJ’s to a lesser extent.

The Combat Roll is good, but there isn’t anything in it that isn’t cover in EJ’s Rolling & Bracing.

One last comment - EJ’s Strokes & Concepts is the best whitewater paddling instructional video I have seen. You will find yourself reviewing it constantly if you are dedicated to improving your paddling.

This one
This one helped me more than any other. The float bag was the key. After I used the float bag everything else fell in place. I also used a swim mask at the beginning to help me stay oriented.

That is not a good video overall
It ignores, maybe misrepresents, the layback hipsnap. The layback hipsnap is the key to the Eric Jackson system and others. It also has the rollers setting up on one side and going all around to the other side to roll. As Jackson correctly says this trains you to roll when you should be bracing and slows down the roll. Glad it helped you but I would not recommend it generally.