Butterfly Roll Gone Missing

Can’t seem to get enough boat rotation to get the butterfly roll started so I can scoot on to the back deck. I know the standard sequence, and have watched various videos, and used to have it, but it seems to have gone missing. No problems with standard roll, sculling, shotgun, and most of the time balance bracing. Problem is with the initiation of boat rotation. I paddle an OI that is custom padded out–using masik makes no difference. Am stuck: suggestions appreciated.

Rotation timing
I’m just getting this one - and it seems the key difference is a little quicker hip action - more committed. Not all out aggressive - just less leisurely than a standard roll with it’s long sweep allowing much more time to roll the hull over. Or maybe I’m just so new to it I have to power it a little more?

Paul can compare between his cheater SOF an his OI for a different perspective.

With the “cheater” SOF as Kris lovingly describes it, the butterfly and most other back deck rolls are effortless. With the OI, I have been caught a few times trying to bring the boat around just with gentle pressure like in the SOF and realized it was not going to come up unless I used a little hip snap.

think of it this way: Instead of sweeping from bow to stern you are “sweeping” from the boat outwards holding the paddle in the middle of the loom.

when you get to your "position, a slight hip snap and gentle pressure downwards on the paddle and you are up. works on either side quite esasily…it’s just timing


Extend your torso out from the kayak
In the process of moving me from the butterfly roll (which I’ve had for some time) to the norsaq roll (only recently mastered), a more experienced paddler suggested that, once I had begun coming up (passed 180 degrees), I extend my torso out away from the qajaq, perpendicular to its length. This extension makes it much easier to use your hips to roll the qajaq around and under you prior to using the paddle (in the case of the butterfly) or the norsaq to give you the last bit of momentum to carry you up and across the back deck.

See if this works for you. It did for me, and has made the butterfly roll ever so much easier.

Take your time
I was having trouble with the butterfly roll and found my problem was initiating the sweep too soon. I was told to relax after capsize and allow my torso to float up past 180 and when the paddle was clearly on the surface to start the roll. Push outward and then down with the paddle,drop your head on to the back deck and then throw the other arm across for a counterbalance,then a little knee torque and you’re up. Works for me although I still only have a 90 percent success rate with that roll.



i’m in a cheater SOF too
a modified FC Wisper…for me the key to the butter fly was extending the paddle/hand BUT remembering to keep pulling the body toward the stern, so in essence, as the paddle is floating on or near the surface i am arcing the body, the arm and the paddle (all in the water enjoying the free flotation) toward the rear of the boat, then a minor hip flick and i’m on the back deck…its the smoothest roll i have…now if only the reverse sweep roll would magically appear :frowning:

I’ve got it now, funny the new paddle Bill built me is easier than using my older Betsy Bay, I’m thinking the thicker and shorter loom lets me hold it more steady, and I can keep the paddle in the straight position parallel to the boat that I want.

I also find I have to really lay all the way back (it is not forgiving of not going all the way back the way the standard sweep is) and the timing of bringing my other arm across to get that last few inches is very important. I don’t think I’ve found it needs any more hip if I do all the above.


Depends on the boat
It is very much in the timing to slide up on the back deck, and some boats just require more precision. My Explorer LV is shamelessly easy to slide up onto the back deck, my Vela requires pretty precise timing and more relaxation, and I miss it some if I haven’t been working that boat. Just an uninformed guess, but I suspect the OI tends towards being more fussy about timing, and how well you have that other arm locked down to the rear deck and really reaching out as you slide over.

More on butterfly
Thanks to all who responded–Paul, am looking forward to getting together when you make it to the Triangle. I posted this question to the Greenland kayaking forum, and the responses there and here are interesting. About half the respondents see the butterfly as a slow roll from an approximation of the static brace as a starting point. The other half see it as more of a brace roll with a strong hip snap. Once actually made the analogy to a c to c. Probably depends on the boat. The OI once it starts to come around is effortless, but it does like being upside down, so I think I will work on getting more into the static brace starting position using rotation and then inttoducing a stronger hip snap once I start the unfolding of the butterfly.

I get confused easily writing about it
what I mean by that is that I have never really tried to analyze the rolls much. I just watch the video and try to copy them. So in all fairness, my description may not be all that accurate as it seems to be the only thing that I remember about it.

Case in point. the other day I was doing a bunch of continuous storm rolls having seen them on the Walden site videos. I was instantly told by another paddler that I was cheating as I was not finishing forward enough. Cheating? I thought it was for fun…never thought about being precise enough to win competitions or anything…but after a little research, that particular roll does in fact finish with a forward tuck, just that this is not so evident at all on the Walden videos.

Michael Arnett, one of the instructors around here is incredible about analyzing and pointing out the one thing that is primarily hindering you from attaining a roll. I have been having real problems with forward finishing rolls and he told me to get an avataq, and start perpendicular from the boat and bring myself up by trying to get my knee and chin to meet. Interesting description but I immediately saw that I was finishing a couple inches more forward because of it. Now it is just up to conditioning a 51 year old body I guess.

You are right about the OI liking to be upside down. This was really disconcerting to me at first coming from the SOF and even the tempest. but once moved slightly, she rolls up very easily. I am still hit and miss on the norsaq rolls with it and unsuccessful so far with a hand roll but I will get there…just have to initiate much more of a precise hip snap than the SOF is all.



– Last Updated: May-28-06 11:12 AM EST –

so did it come back? And, after you feel confident, try to do the same thing without the paddle..voila..hand roll.