Elusive forward finishing rolls...

-- Last Updated: Sep-07-06 9:52 PM EST --

So I went out tonight to play and drown the frustrations of my day at my local rolling pond. I successfully, however sloppily, did storm rolls, angel rolls, vertical sculling rolls (which were actually silly easy), Behind-the-head standard rolls, and a few layback hand rolls. These were all new to me tonight more or less. Cool. I also tried forward finishing hand rolls, chest sculling, back deck rolls, and extended paddle forward finishing rolls all of which I failed. In fact, the only forward finishing roll that I have yet succeeded in is the storm, which from the shoulders down, feels like a C2C to me with an added deck kiss at the end. Knowing that the chest scull is a gateway skill to other forward finishing recoveries I want to get this one next. Is there some fundimental levering that I'm missing? lateral paddle lift? Huge ab crunching? Can you all walk me through the steps to performing a proper chest scull? Maybe then I can visualize what I'm missing. Thanks.

Oh yeah, if it matters, I'm attending the Alex Pak School of Thought. These were performed with a GP and a Dagger Transition, which is a sort of precursor to the RPM.


What made the chest scull
click for me was to keep the tip of my paddle at the surface of the water while sculling. This gives you a lot of bracing support during the recovery. The other thing that helped was to get the boat flipped up first then roll the body up. Good luck.

this might help

I’ve recently become pretty comfortable with the chest scull, then worked into a reverse sweep roll coming up into a chest scull, and finally the complete roll. When doing the chest scull it helped me to:

1.rotate my body so my shoulders are flat on the water

2. hold the kayak up, not letting it collapse over on me

3.keep the paddle tip up and scull wide and slow - relaxing is key

4. if you keep your back arched during the scull, and then bend forward (ab crunch)for the recovery you are using your body and it’s a lot easier on the shoulders. This concept was the most helpful.

5. think of bringing the kayak upright first and you will follow.

possibly all of this is stuff you already know, but it helped me get it. If you’re ever looking for someone in Michigan to practice Greenland rolling with, send me an e-mail.


I was having problems too
last winter and I got a couple hints that really helped my forward finishing extended roll. Made it 100% actually.

First was slow it down. I was trying to initiate the sweep way to early and wound up face down and out of position. I waited an extra second or so and with my body on the surface I would initiate the sweep.

Second was keeping my inboard elbow lock into my body. I had the tendency to elevate the elbow which made the paddle tip dive. With the elbow in I kept a nice climbing angle.

Good luck,


gotta love the whitewater boats…
Here’s how I perform the chest scull. Assume that you are chest sculling on the right side of the kayak and the right hand (top hand) will be called the ‘outboard hand’ and the left hand (bottom hand) will be called the ‘inboard hand’.

  1. Capsize to the right of the kayak with your body perpendicular to the kayak and your chest squarely facing the water.

  2. Orient your hands so that your inboard hand is deep in the water (left arm should be fully extended straight down into the water) and your outboard hand is close to the surface of the water (right arm should be bent with the back of your fist in front of your face). The paddle at this point should be poking out of the water since it is angled upwards.

  3. Scull the paddle with long, slow, and controlled alternating climbing angle sculls.

  4. Focus on tilting the boat away from you so that the boat is nearly upright. A chest scull’s primary focus should not be on what the paddle is doing but rather on what your lower body is doing to keep the boat flat and upright.

  5. When you wish to recover from the chest scull, lift up harder on your right knee/thigh/leg to almost completely right the kayak. At that point, sweep the paddle toward the bow. Press down on the paddle with your right hand (like a c-to-c) while simultaneaously sliding the paddle across the foredeck. Crunch hard and finish with your head close to the foredeck as possible. Remember, when you are doing the c-to-c and deck slide motion, your kayak should already be mostly up. Those motions are simply to recover your body from the water.


If you want to work on some forward
recovery rolls give me a holla when you want to come out to one of the local lakes.

Thanks all.
Sorry I haven’t replied earlier. I’ve been out of town. I’ll go through these tips in the water as soon as I can. One question I have is on the inboard arm. Randy, you said to lock your elbow in, and Alex, you said fully extended. I can see benefits to both. Are you both talking about during the scull, or do you extend the inboard arm during sculling and tuck your elbow in during the recovery?

Thanks for the invites too. See you on the water.


For What It’s Worth
I’m finding that the more I get my knee involved in the ‘hip snap’, the less I need to keep my head back.

Also, the closer I get my head to the surface before I hip snap (knee lift) the less I need to keep my head back.

The diff is
Alex is talking about the chest scull, which I assume you can use like the side scull, as an intermediate between submerged and the roll. I was going from the start up position fully twisted backwards, blade setup on the far side (left stern for me as a righty), then going over backwards (port side). Then wait to come towards the surface on the starboard side, and initiating straight into the roll.

Talk soon.