Commercial boats - Greenland skills

Doing some future shopping homework . .although not as narrow or low volume as a non-commercial SOF, are these among the “friendliest” commercial composite boats for learning some of the Greenland rolls and overall skills?

Valley Anas Acuta

Impex Outer Island

? Sparrow Hawk

P & H Sirius

For a good rolling ,
and all-around sea kayak, at least consider the Necky Chatham 17. A bit less expensive, too, if you go plastic. I’m sure it has its limitations, but not before I hit my own. If I ever progress to the point where I think the kayak is holding me back, I will go to a dedicated rolling SOF. Ken…

Add these
By the way, I am not too sure about the Sirius. It’s been a while so check me on it, but I believe this boat has a rather tall rear deck to be optimum for Greenland skills.

But many find that the NDK Romany, or even Romany LV if you can fit into it work great.

Alison Sigethy uses a Tempest 165 for her workshops and if I recall right there are fewer than five of the over 30 greenland rolls she can’t do in that boat.

I’d also ask around about the Avocet LV, again if you can fit into it. Nice and low and easy roller.


– Last Updated: Mar-17-09 2:51 PM EST –

well . . .5-10 and 190 . . . at some point I may need an HV vs LV. LOL LOL

I’m a total beginner at Greenland stuff, but I’m told by my instructors, and find through experience that my Valley Pintail is great for greenland rolling. I’ve picked up a few types of rolls already, and a full layback is easy, even for stiff stiff me.

So the no V size…
One more thought - we had this boat before we knew Greenland rolls existed so haven’t tried a lot in it. But if you come across an original (1st two years) drop skeg Necky Elaho you might want to give it a look. You should fit in it fine, and it is the only boat I know of where it will easily hang in a static brace in a couple or more positions (though not all of them allow for breathing). And at that weight you should sink it to a nice spot - I’m too light to really get it there. These boats came with WW style braces, so great contact, and nice low deck.

The advantage of this boat is that it’d be plastic and quite cheap to pick up. Of course that’s the down side too - it’s plastic and you’d have to pick it up…

Romany, Elaho DS, or Anas

– Last Updated: Mar-17-09 3:55 PM EST –

There are few production boats friendlier for skills building than a Romany. There are a lot of them around, so you should be able to pick one up for a reasonable price.

The Elaho Drop Skeg is a production boat which is even friendlier than a Romany for Greenland skills. It is easy to lay flat on the rear deck of an Elaho. As Celia noted it is nearly ridiculously easy to static brace and roll. In production for only a few years, there are a number of poly and a few composite ones around. The ruddered version is not the same boat.

Mark Schoon uses his Anas Acuta for Greenland instruction. In my experience it is the production boat most often used for such.

Romany better than AA??
Strange at it may sound to the Greenland “purists”, Maligiaq Johnsen Padilla, who is probably one of the most skilled Greenland rolling paddlers in the world, found the Romany easier to use for some of the more exotic Greenland manuvers than the AA and rated it an easier boat overall to roll. For that matter he thought the Avocet easier too. I suspect the OI would be easier as well since some can do all the competition rolls in an OI. I am not suggesting the AA is a hard boat to roll by any means and it sure looks the part.

AA (Anas Acuta) Comment
I have no doubt that, as found by a local paddler, that this is an easy rolling boat once you get used to it. But I was warned the first time I tried, and it was true, that at my size I may have have to get the roll initiated with a good hard snap. That little bit of oomph that I needed is not something I’ve needed in either the Romany or the Avocet. So the comment may have gone to volume - these other boats may be kinder to less paddler in the cockpit.

“Romany easier to use for some of the…
…more exotic Greenland manuvers than the AA.”

I have heard the same - though I’ve never paddled an Anas or attempted any Greenland maneuvers in one.

The Romany is VERY easy rolling and static bracing. However, the OI is about the easiest boat I’ve ever rolled with the possible exception of a Piedra or Pirouette S. I would imagine the OI is avery good boat for Greenland skills. It might be less friendly for honing some other paddling skills than a Romany.

I have an SOF and a Tempest 165
My SOF is very easy to roll and my Tempest 165 is not far behind. I can do more than a dozen Greenland rolls in the SOF and can do many of them in the Tempest. I think I will be to do most of the rolls in both boats with practice, but I mainly use the SOF for rolling and the Tempest for paddling, so do not practice rolling in the Tempest all that often, except to show-off.

I’m w/ celia and eel.
My Avocet is a pretty sweet roller. I have aunilateral laybacvk roll, and it’s pleasant on the Avocet.

those and more roll nice …some roll at differant speeds, but still roll nice…it’s just the same as forward speed of any kayak.

there is also a wall as far as speed a kayak will roll before it’s hit it’s wall…they all roll slow…but if you like to roll fast, it’s one more thing to consider.

I find that I prefer rolling the Anas Acuta…it’s just me because I also have a Romany and it actually rolls nice and balance braces better…but for slow rolling and just plain nice I prefer the ocean cockpit on a Anas to the keyhole on the Romany.

the Nordkapp rolls even faster than the Romany, but doesn’t Balance brace very easially.

The OI is a nice roller and is also very smooth, but I don’t own one so have done very little with one other than to just try it out.

all the hawks are also nice to roll.

I doubt if any of this helps…but don’t consider any of these boats as just for rolling. They all are very nice to paddle as well…pick your paddling preferance and then procede to learn the rolls in whatever you picked

Best Wishes


The first person I saw demonstrate Greenland skills was using an NDK Explorer. He did this to show that Greenland rolling could work fine a regular production boat, he said. Made sense.

Much later, I bought my own Explorer. Surprise - it’s an especially nice rolling craft, and works well for Greenland tricks, at least the more basic rolls that I can do.

Also, to add another one to the list of great rollers, I’ve got a pair of old Dagger Meridians. The SK is a very nice roller, but the SKS is really fine. If you can find one, these are great boats. Perhaps the sons of Meridian (Zephyrs) will good also - will have to try them out.


I agree with Roy. Find a boat that is a
good kayak and also one that is roll friendly. I have owned a number of low back deck commercial kayaks in the 17’ and up range and have found the Valley Aquanaut LV RM to be the best rolling of all of them and it is an excellent sea kayak that costs around $1,250. Bill

commercial boats for greenland skills
A couple of other boats to consider.

At 5’10" and 190#, an Ellesmere might work. I’m 5’7" and 150# and for my Ellesmere I had to slide the seat forward a couple of inches and raise it by one just to avoid bruising my lower back on the rear coaming. I also put in some canoe kneeling pads to beef up the thigh braces for a tighter fit. However a friend who is 6’4" and probably 200# tried my boat before the mods didn’t have any issues.

A Baffin might be better. It’s a lower volume Ellesmere, and without some of the Ellesmere’s quirks. The Baffin’s rear deck is low enough for a very flat layback. Unfortunately, it only comes in poly. At my size, a stock Baffin works for me. Right now, both the Ellesmere and Baffin have a similar fit for my size.

You’ll find that lower volume boats, especially those with low back decks (like my Yost Sea Rover) will help you as there’s less boat to move under you during the roll.

The OI, AA, Romany and Tempest are also good choices too. Try all the boats you can.

Be careful of moving the seat forward.
The seats are mounted where they are for a reason and changing the balance point of the boat can have some lousy consequences. I moved the seat on my Cetus forward to help with lay backs and this “might” have resulted in some very unpleasant tracking issues. I know that this has been the case for some other people I paddle with. Bill

Greg Stamer uses an Anas Acuta

– Last Updated: Mar-18-09 9:14 AM EST –

That's about as good of an endorsement as you can get. If you're looking for either an AA or a Pintail, try to find a pre-'95 boat that has the flat aft deck, as they're somewhat better for laybacks than the newer boats with their arched aft decks.

If you can afford a new one or find a good deal on a used one, the Betsie Bay Aral or Valkyrie are good boats for learning Greenland skills.

All good comments …
but let me add:

These boats all work well and you can learn many Greenland rolls in these production boats.

A SOF is hard chinned, like the Anas Acuta, WS Sparrow Hawk, WS Arctic Hawk, NDK/SKUK Greenlander and Greenlander Pro.

These hard chinned boats may feel more like a SOF than some of the others. I have rolled all of these except the two NDK boats. IMO, they are all more difficult to roll than the Romany, Explorer, Avocet, Outer Island, Tempests and Chathams. I have not paddled a Pintail. The two Hawks have a fairly high rear coaming that interferes somewhat with good laybacks. So, of the hard chinned boats mentioned I prefer the Anas. Another is the Point 65 North Crunch Rocker and Rocket. Both of these are rotomolded hard chinned boats and roll nicely.

The other group of boats not yet mentioned are the Betsie Bay kayaks. These are hard chinned and very similar to SOF boats. Many Greenland affectionados have these in their stable.


P.S. I can hand roll the Avocet and WS Tempest 165 and my SOF, but have not had tried or had luck with the others.

I should have posted this with my earlier post. This video is the first time I rolled my Tempest 165. I was surprised at how easy it rolled.