Easy Rolling Kayaks

For what it’s worth…
The last time I tried suggesting that some boats were easier to at least learn to roll in, a couple on this board got pretty cantankerous about it and indicated I didn’t know my arse from a hole in the ground. Good luck!

Hull shape
Although it’s likely to be very contravercial I still think to the individual, hull shape has some affect. I find some kayaks get kind of stuck on the way around. My Outer Island with soft chines feels smooth and predictable. This will of course vary depending on user. I have friends that prefer hard chines. There’s no right or wrong it’s just what works for you. This subject also needs to be defined depending on the type of rolling you do. I practice Greenland style with an occasional screw roll thrown in. The screw roll works great for kayaks that have higher freeboard.

Just my opinion,


This summer I was playing with some white water boats and the newer flat bottom types were a bit stubborn to roll. I found that a lot of WW paddlers were using a lay back style and coming up on the back corner which made it easy. But the old bullet shaped hulls come around very easy. Most sea kayaks, once you have a decent roll come around pretty easy and ironically, the big round tanks come around very easy. Not talking about the super low and narrow rolling boats.


– Last Updated: Mar-17-10 12:11 PM EST –

Unless one is a rolling competitor, I think folks should pick a craft for intended functions rather than supposed "rollability." For example, I don't ride waveskis for it's "rollability." It's actually a bit more demanding to roll than a surf kayak which is more demanding than most other kayaks. I ride waveskis because they fly on a waveface.

Similarly, I didn't pick my SOTs for rolling but because these are good fishing vehicles. Heck, if I fall off, I can just climb back on. But, the fact is that I can roll both my RTM Disco and Scupper Pro SOTs. Ditto I can roll my ww creeker and my playboat.

I guess I don't get all the talk about "rollability" because I taught myself to roll and in a cape lookout which is supposedly not a "good boat" to learn in. Never got in (caught by) how "tough-rolling-is" mindset.

From my perspective, all the talk about "rollability" of kayaks is a bit over-hyped, unless one is seriously into Greenland type comps. Otherwise, we pick (or should pick) a particular kayak (or paddle craft) likely for reasons/usage that we intend for it the majority of time we go out, besides supposedly how "easy" it rolls.


agree totally

Best Wishes


Part of the sport
Among my fellow paddlers kayaks are often chosen for several reasons. First, we enjoy touring but also we love to roll. It’s just an extension of our enjoyment. There are some that do compete but for many it’s simply for fun. I know there are those with the “you don’t need to roll” mindset. That’s fine if you choose not to. Rolling to some is like an art form. It adds another dimention to paddling. Why not leave it at that? If someone wants a kayak that’s easy to roll then that’s their choice.

Done here…

agree…afterall…that is… buying a kayak for it’s intended purpose…like Sing said

The purpose doesn’t have to be singular…paddling and rolling can be it’s purpose, just as , just paddling or just rolling or just floating can be it’s purpose.

but they all roll if the person doing the rolling has spent the time to learn the way that particular hull rolls and not try to define it’s roll for it outside it’s capacity…such as speed rolling a slow rolling kayak etc.

So as Sing said, buy, for intended purpose…but learn the kayak before blaming it for the rollers inabilities. The more specialized rolls do take a dedicated rolling boat…but the majority of the rolls don’t so a kayak can be purchased and used for paddling and also for most of the rolling for fun and for exercise and for relaxation (Yoga in a boat)anything under 22 inches wide fits this catagory.

Best Wishes


Think of the Children
While different hulls feel different during the roll (think Primary & Secondary stability) I find that my position in the boat greatly effects the ease of roll more than the hull shape.

Lately I have been paddling an older Pyranha I:3 river runner/playboat where I am wedged in pretty tightly with very splayed legs and my feet are in that awful playboat toe point.

I find that rather than my usual reflexive C2C where I come up upright and ready for more, I am coming up heavily biased toward the back deck and not IMHO as ready to continue with the party as with my more normal roll.

Though the boat comes up just fine it is the position I am forced into that makes it feel harder.

Just a thought.

PS, learned to roll in a long boat and initially trying to roll a short WW boat where the ends would dive felt very disconcerting.

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I enjoyed reading this. I have a strip boat IO a friend made for me. Back deck is an inch and a half lower, he also gave the 18’ 6" beauty a more aggressive rocker. Rolls like a dream. I also have a Trak kayak and was wondering about more rocker making it easier to roll, that was my theory too.