C to C Rolling Question


I have a quick technique question about the C to C roll.

You might have seen an earlier post I made a few weeks ago.

I had a very strong C to C roll and then started recently having problems which were compounded by a shoulder injury.

I have reverted to practicing with a paddle float to get my technique back and to avoid further shoulder injury (my problem while rolling was causing my paddle blade to dive and putting a lot of pressure on my shoulder)

I think I have figured out most of what my problems were, but still have not tried without the paddle float.

Here is my question: With the paddle float the blade obviously does not dive. I have found that I can execute the roll either by pulling on the paddle shaft while doing my hipsnap and using the shaft like a pull up bar. Or, I have found that I can just kind of let it float on the surface as a sort of brace while executing the hip snap and torso movement thus using pretty much just my hips to right the boat. Of course this sounds like the “more correct” way to do it because you are using more hips, but on the other hand a paddle without a float does not have the same boyancy either.

Which is more correct (given a strong hip snap with either technique)----should you pull on the shaft and use it like a sort of pull up bar pulling on it to help right yourself, or should you just brace the blade on the surface of the water and not really use it to pull yourelf up?

Another qustion—it would seem that the farther away the blade is from the boat, the more leverage you would have, but on the other this might put more pressure on the shoulder. Is it better to still maintain a bit of elbow flex on your onside arm while you are reaching the paddle out to initiate you roll?

thanks for your help


don’t pull…
"…should you just brace the blade on the surface of the water and not really use it to pull yourelf up?"

This is exactly what you should be doing on a C-to-C. You need a light touch on the paddle shaft and the small amount of resistance the paddle has against the water should be more than sufficient to hipsnap the kayak up. Also although your arms need to be slightly extended to reach the surface of the water, a slight bend is always preferable as it is safer than a fully extended arm. Have you considered learning a sweep roll? It is much easier on the shoulders than a C-to-C.

I agree.
Also be very sure your outside hand is in front of your face (in the safety box) and that you don’t overrotate during the sweep. The sweep roll is easier on your shoulders. So is the Eric Jackson version of the C-to-C.

Just a thought
I am hardly an expert, but I was shown a neat thing to do this last weekend that should fix up some irregularities in my roll (also basically a C to C) and also felt like it took a ton of pressure off my shoulder. As you describe, I was tending to do some amount of “pulling down” on my paddle at the start of the hip (thigh) motion unless everything clicked perfectly. What I was shown may well jive with what is recommended by some of the experts mentioned above.

I don’t have my offside roll yet, so this was a right-handed roll. The coach had me place the left paddle blade over the upturned bottom of the boat with my left hand essentially over my right hip. The shaft was at the usual angle from the boat for a C to C, with the right blade over and clear of the water a bit. This put my right arm in about a right angle bend and near enough to my face that if I turned my face downwards I was almost touching my upper arm. Altogether a pretty tight position, without any body parts hanging out that were likely to take unsupported pressure.

From there, all I had to do was turn my face down towards my arm (and the bottom), and just push my face down into my upper arm. I came up effortlessly with a somewhat loaded boat, a condition which had produced a couple of really ugly muscle-up rolls just several days before. It also seemed that this position would allow me to better control the speed of my roll than what I had been doing before.

This may be re-inventing the wheel, but it felt so easy on the upper body I thought it might fit this situation.

Diving Blade

– Last Updated: Jun-06-05 3:38 PM EST –

Try adding cocking your wrists forward in your setup to your roll. This will help keep a climbing angle on the blade as you sweep out. A properly done roll in quiet conditions should feel pretty effortless. In conditions and during unexpected capzises, it is common for some elements of your roll to be less than pretty. But like an airplane crash you can walk away from, a roll that gets you upright is good enough. Maintaining a climbing angle is critical. As you have already found out, a diving blade angle is really hard to recover from. Even a diving blade (not blade angle)as in a sweep roll, you'll still need a climbing angle on the blade face to give you the modest amount of purchase necessary for your hips and knees to provide the real power of the roll. And yes, do extend the blade as far out along the waters surface as you can without over extending your sweeping arm. Good luck.

disagree about the sweep roll
A sweep roll/slash roll can be done with a diving angle on the blade. That’s my personal favorite roll as it is completely effortless. The diving angle becomes a natural climbing angle as your torso rotates thorough the roll. On the other hand, an initial climbing angle at the start of the sweep results in the paddle diving (in a bad way) during the roll.

My apologies if I misunderstood your post.

difficult to dx via a forum but…
OK, we all could be way off or helpful. Hard to say over a forum question.

However, the better your set up the less tension on your shoulder to make up for lack of technique. Many folks set up to far forward! Rather, twist and curl up so that paddle well out of water, hand up and over the bottom. You know it when there is allot of tension on the other side of your torso. It is that TENSION coiled up when release that rotates firmly and completely. Another advantage is that this set up makes for your body and head to start ON THE SURFACE of the water. This makes for less force to get upright.


climbing angle

I think we are on the same page. By climbing angle, I don’t mean parallel to or at a greater angle than the surface of the water. But at a climbing or positive angle relative to the path of your paddle shaft through the water. Similar to the blade articulation and dexterity needed for skulling strokes.


paddle FLOAT
I’m by no means an expert. But I’ve gone past the process you’re going through.

Or, I have found that I can just kind of let it float on the surface as a sort of brace while executing the hip snap and torso movement thus using pretty much just my hips to right the boat. <

Yes, that’s the more “correct” way, as you feel.

So, as to your next question:

but on the other hand a paddle without a float does not have the same boyancy either.


The answer is basically the key on the paddle sweep part. That is, you’re in business if you can keep the paddle on the surface even WITHOUT the paddle float!

How? As others has mentioned, by having a “climing angle” on the paddle blade during the sweep, your paddle WILL stay on the surface all the time. As such, you can “sort of brace on it” … etc.

So, the paddle can “float” even without the paddle-float! (Punt intended)

The head drop makes the hip snap
> From there, all I had to do was turn my face down

towards my arm (and the bottom), and just push my

face down into my upper arm.

Wow, this sounds terrific. It takes the usual corrective formula – raising your head unwinds your hip snap – and turns it around in the extreme into a positive technique – lowering your head quickly actually accomplishes the hipsnap!

This is kind of similar to the way Eric Jackson teaches a deep high brace, which for him is a prelude to rolling. He says, drive your head into the water, the harder the better. You will automagically roll your hips to right the boat from your deep-braced position on the surface of the water.

But your instructor has taken it a step farther, to the full roll, which is neat. Can’t wait to try it.

BTW, what instructor was it?


Get Eric Jackson’s Video
on Rolling and Bracing

I’m not an expert roller, I have bad technique and don’t know a Steyer from a Reverse Eskimo Poop roll but this video helped me so when I tip over in waves and moving water I can pop back up. Once you get the hip-snap down you just need to get your paddle so it can brace a bit and you can come right up in a whitewater boat, no huge stress on the arms or shoulder. I think people above are mixing sweep rolls and blade climbing angle etc with a roll where the paddle doesn’t really sweep or need to.

Who it was
I was shown this by Jed Luby this last weekend at a two day training session. The basic thing of keeping your head down is the same that people have been telling me for a long time, but I found the image of driving the head down to the arm (which ends up sending the upper body down) to be particularly effective.

I should mention that my thigh lift/hip snap/whatever you want to call it is usually fairly decent, hence timing and management of the paddle tend to be my confounding issues when things start going south.

Ditto the EJ Video
The advice on blade angle was given in direct response to the posters question about a diving blade in a C to C. Fixing rolling problems by reading a text response to a posting almost guarantees confusion!


I am a newbie roller . . .

– Last Updated: Jun-07-05 7:22 PM EST –

( I just love typing that! ) What got me to roll for the first few times was the mental image of starting my roll by trying to bring my driving knee and my lower ear (right knee and right ear for a right hand out roll) together while pushing out slightly with my top (left)hand.

I have heard that the top hand should stay near the shoulder on a high brace / roll, but pushing up slightly really seems to strengthen my brace.

This is sound advice.
And also rather standard advice as well. The original C-to-C video (Grace Under Pressure) stresses starting the roll with head movement and placing the inboard hand as you describe. So does the inventor of the C-to-C roll on his website. So your instructor is in good company.

Yay Jed!
I figured it was Jed – that sounds like his kind of technique. (Plus I know from another thread that you saw him last weekend.)

Congrats to you both on what sounds like a very successful rolling session!


Inventor of the C-to-C roll!?

– Last Updated: Jun-06-05 8:57 PM EST –

Who's that?!

BTW, it does sound like Jed took this to a precise and extreme level of technique. I think that rolling instruction is becoming really mature these days. Just think of golf swing or tennis instruction.

Now if only the rest of kayak teaching -- particularly forward stroke -- could make the same kind of "scientific" progress. Maybe we'd hear a lot less of the cry of the teacher-bird ring futily across the water with -- ro-tate! roh-taate!! rohhhhhhh-taaaaate!!!

(Pardon my hobby horse.)


I like the technique of driving your face into your upper arm. I think I can picture what you are saying and it seems like that might help a lot.

I personally try to focus on my paddle blade. I find that if I focus on the blade on the surface of the water and then keeping my eye on it until follow through it helps me to use my torso more effectively, and helps me to have the proper follow through without lifting my head prematurely.

Does anyone else do this? Does this sound like a good technique? I don’t know because I am self-taught and have not really had anyone assess my roll.



Semantic BS
If you are holding onto your paddle and snapping your hips, you are putting pressure on the paddle (or pulling). The C to C is not about the hip-snap, bracing on the paddle, or pulling the head down… it’s about a combination of the three. Do any one correctly and you’ll also be doing the other two. A good roll will incorporate all three ideas into a fluid motion.

I have found that a climbing angle on the blade(in relation to the surface of the water) during the set-up and sweep, gives a POWERFUL roll.

Yes, extending the paddle will give more leverage (called an “extended paddle roll” or “Pawlatta” roll).

Ken Kastorff