Brace or Roll?

There you are paddling in the sound. The forecast called for the wind to slow down but it sped up. You’re kayaking back to the take out. You look to your right and a bigger than usual wave is breaking right next to you. This isn’t a wave that you ride over. It’s gonna slam you. Do you try to brace or set up for the roll?

I’d let the wave decide NM

Dive, dive, dive!
Sound the klaxon and yell “Dive, dive, dive!”

seond this motion-or no motion…
actually if i am heading bow towards the beach then i will try to ride it bongo sliding…

if it tosses me then it does…the other choice is to turn sideways to the wave quick-like-cat then toss YOUR body into the green wave…when the wave slams down the action of the wave will right you again…simple as that…this would be the less traumatic way…


get out the sponsons

pretty common
low or high brace, depending on size of the wave and what you feel like practicing, convert to bow rudder and peel out over top, or just wait till it lets go. be careful with shoulder. if get dumped, then roll up, but you shouldn’t have any problem managing breaking wind waves with bracing.

Don’t give in like a whimp!
Try and cowboy up and ride the thing. If you end up over, so be it. But don’t automatically puss out. :slight_smile:

Always brace first (or whatever). Roll as a result of a failed brace (or whatever).

Are You Clairvoiant?
How did you know that instead of 21knots expecting to drop to 12knots or less turned into 30+knots this afternoon?

Oh, you question. Id try and brace over with a roll in the back of my mind.


I seem to have it in my mind to want to stay upright as much as possible, so I would brace.

Exception would be if the wave is going to take me some place I don’t want to be (e.g. you’d be surfing into some rocks) - in that case I’d flip so my body acts as drag and keeps me from going places. Then a roll would be the way.

Come on … don’t hold back Salty …

Some illustrative answers from Jalama …

Was that you?
I think I would have stayed on the inside break, if I’d even dared to go out that day.

Not Clairvoyant
It did the same thing on Saturday at Morehead / Cape Lookout.

sometimes a picture is worth more
than a thousand words.

Normally you would set up for a roll in a situation of paddling into a large breaking mostly because it’s the best place to have the paddle. (like a surf entree) You don’t want to hold it up (which a lot of people do) and get it in the face.

But for a side wave - brace and lean. You may side surf a bit. If it’s shoulder height, I lift the paddle above it to brace. If it’s too high, use caution, because the wave can pull that paddle down forcefully and pull you over.

From the side like you noted
I would extreme high brace into the wave and ride it if my rush assessment says I’m not going to be pounded by a ton of breaking water. If it is way more than head high and going to curl right over me roll away from the wave, let the wave pass over me and come back up.


Nope … that’s vintage footage
I think that’s from 2000 expression session at Jalama. I did not know such things existed at the time.