I got my first roll at Delmarva this weekend, with the kind and patient help of a bunch of talented mentors. What a fantastic, amazing feeling! So what comes next? Do I practice the roll I learned, until it is easy, or is it better to try to learn a new one? I am hoping to get into a pool soon to cement it and keep going. I fell asleep last night thinking of my set-up and body position, .
Like dancing. Once you get your groove don’t stop. If you have a local pool, YMCA, school or swim club keep going through the winter.
Keep doing it on that side so it stabilizes the body memory. Whatever worked for you.
And start the work to add the other side. Most people have one that operates a bit better than the other.
Keep at it until the motion becomes unconscious, and then think about expanding your repertiore if you want. Having a few different rolls is fun to practice, and I personally found that the amount of boat control you get from knowing a bunch of different ways to make the boat come back up also gives you better control when you’re right side up, That can help keep you from capsizing as easily in conditions that would have put you over before. Have fun with it!
- roll on both sides
- fail with your roll, but then succeed on a 2nd or 3rd try
- roll ‘inadvertently’ i.e. no setup before capsize
- capsize, ‘lose’ your paddle, retrieve your spare paddle while inverted, roll up
- wet exit, then reenter and roll up
- determine what water conditions would favor rolling on one side rather than the other
- make it all as automatic as you can
Thanks for all the great suggestions. Hope I can find a good place to practice!
Check with your regional indie outfitters — those in my area usually offer pool sessions over the winter. Though usually they tend to focus on more “conventional” C to C whitewater rolling with standard blade paddles rather than the more effortless and graceful Greenland versions, at least it can get you into a pool to do your own thing. If you can bring along a friend who is also GP favorable, even better for doing your own practice.
Congrats, by the way! I didn’t get to talk to you again before camp broke up on Sunday but I saw you got your “rolling pin.”
And other items …
Find a buddy or two with whom you can practice. If your roll fails, the buddy can roll you back up without the time consuming wet exit and bail.
If you don’t have a dry suit (or at least a wet suit), get such. This will extend your rolling season. Maybe more important for me in North Idaho.
Practice practice practice. Probably focus for a while on the roll you have. At some point, you will go out and it won’t work and you will have to think through thee steps, or get some coaching, to get t back. There is a lot of 2 steps forward 1step back with rolls, it seems. And it is not like riding a bike - does take regular practice.
Once you have it somewhat regularly set up on one site, a next step would be to start the roll not set up, so you would have to move the paddle into position underwater before the roll. And learning the opposite side also.
Only when I had one roll on one side reasonably well would I start looking at a different format rolls.
I know, I looked for you Sunday morning by the beach to say goodbye, but you must’ve already left. It was great meeting you IRL and hope to see you again! I was pretty darn chuffed to get the rolling pin!
Luckily my spouse and I can practice together, and luckily he just got his first (different) roll too. So we’re both raring to go. And we’re already thinking about drysuits… but for now a pool will be better.
Yeah, 2 steps forward, 1 step back pretty much sums up my experience thus far. I’m expecting it to be much harder without all the support of experienced mentors, but we definitely want to try to keep practicing. The good thing is I now can understand a lot of what was a complete mystery to me before.
As some others said, keeping working that roll until it becomes fully ingrained. Part of it being “ingrained” is that you can capsize any way (without set-up), and still be able to then set and roll back up.
Once you get that down, go for your offside roll and work that until it becomes ingrained as well. Bilateral rolling ability becomes increasingly important in challenging conditions, like white water, surf, highly gusty days, where you don’t get to choose which side to roll up on.
After you get your bilateral rolling ability, then you can begin diversify the rolling styles and/or hand roll, or rolling stick, etc. For me, these latter techniques are just gravy. The “meat and potatoes” is bilateral rolling that allows you to go more safely in more challenging conditions.
Thanks! I probably should’ve mentioned the roll I learned was a butterfly roll, pretty close I think to the hand roll, and I was not aware of putting much pressure on the paddle. It was more just extra flotation. So I’m guessing the real “combat roll” is a layback roll, which I didn’t do. Given that does advice change? Should I go for a layback roll or keep doing the butterfly until I’m really confident at it?
I was over at the south end of the beach with the harpoon games crew. I had on my drysuit and was waiting at first to try for the “sit and spin” competition since I had discovered the “new to me” very rockered boat I brought this time rotates like a top. But I was also eager to use the harpoon I made at Michigan QTC in August and ended up spending the rest of the morning trying to hit the target and passing along tips on norsaq launching to those trying it for the first time. When that broke up it was nearly lunch time so I dragged my boat and gear to the camper to be ready to leave. Heard the lunch bell as I was loading and then got stuck in my drysuit for bit (had not trimmed the new neck gasket and found I couldn’t get it off when it hung up on an earring I had neglected to remove.) So I was very late to lunch and slipped in once the raffle was already underway. I looked around for you guys but couldn’t spot where you were sitting. Oh well, next year for sure!
Nice thing about the butterfly roll is that you can practice the last part of it – sliding into a full balance brace and then coming back onto the deck --any time you are out paddling, even if you don’t do a full roll. And it’s such an effortless, even elegant, roll – nothing wrong with just working to perfect that until it’s as natural as tying your shoes.
If I remember correctly, the “butterfly roll” is the one with one paddle end tucked under the armpit and the grip is held one-handed on that same side. While it nice to have that (and it was developed in response to specific situation of a inuit kayak hunter), I think you should get the the two handed layback roll down. This will be the “core” of your “combat roll.”
BTW, the incredible lift of the Butterfly is in the use of the full paddle in the sweep (as long as one end is “locked” in under the armpit). You can use that same lift advantage by using an extended paddle sweep with the layback roll.
It’s actually just surfacing and immediately going into a balance brace with the paddle held very loosely in one hand on the surface of the water, and then sliding up onto the back deck. I was told one could push down a bit on the paddle to facilitate the last move, but I’m not aware that I did that, so it seems to me that the paddle was mainly useful for flotation on the balance brace part of the roll.
Ok. So I may be mixing up the shotgun roll vs the butterfly roll. Here is the video of both in comparison.
It’s hard to see what is happening in the second roll but it’s definitely not the first. So I’m going to say what I did was the second one. But I did it much more slowly!