eSkimo roll

Anyone taught themselves how to do this? I tried in my new kayak and it’s hard. I was also in 48 degree water with no hat so didn’t try too many times. THink it’s something you could teach yourself or do you take lessons?

Some Folks Teach Themselves
Most don’t.

Having someone tell you what you did wrong is a big plus.

Watching videos and lots of practice.
My brother and I tried to self teach. We would take turns rolling each other up if we could not come up on our own. He got it I did not.

Took one lesson and still could not get it, but the instructor had me try a paddle float and that helped. This year I am rolling consistently on right side. I practiced in our pool by hanging on the the ladder first and rolling up to help with the muscle memory. Now I am working on my left side roll. Have someone help you and practice in warmer water.


Same here
I also watched a lot of videos and studied illustrations and went out and tried it myself. Learned the C to C roll and stuck with it for some time. Recently started using a sweep roll and it’s easier. Better to go with a good instructor to avoid picking up bad habits. Done right, an eskimo roll is almost effortless.


48 degress in Honolulu?!

Tried on my own
and failed several times after reading articles and watching videos. I learned to roll with an instructor in less than twenty minutes and did an off side roll in under an hour.

Agree and ditto
Rolling is one of the most counter-intuitive things I have ever learned to do. I know one guy that taught himself, but that is not the way to go unless you can’t possibly get a lesson from somebody trained to teach the roll. If not possible, at least get a dvd.

It was also fairly easy for me because I took a lot of lessons first on strokes, skulling, and bracing, some of which were not easy or me at all.

I’m not in Honolulu now, I went camping in Puget sound.

I only tried a bit, but it sucks because after each fail, I had to tread water ahile I bilge pumped for like 4 minutes.

That really does suck
You need a buddy to be there for a quick bow rescue if you fail.

find a beach?
Chest deep water.

Personally, I prefer a pool. I start by hanging on the poolside and do a few hip snaps before moving on with paddles.

that’s funny!
My experience was just the opposite: I took a class and didn’t get it, then bough EJ’s DVD and picked it up right away. :wink:

Try with a paddle float

– Last Updated: Jul-10-08 10:32 AM EST –

Best is to have a buddy with you in a boat and do a bow practice/rescue. Just hold on to his bow and dip yourself in the water, then do the hip flick and come-up as if doing a roll. This will train you without the concern of where to put the paddle and no need to wet exit.

Once you got that, take your paddle and give it a few tries. If you fail, stay in your boat and signal your buddy with your hands moving back and forth along the upside-down hull to come by you (keep your hands a little off the hull to avoid being pinched by his bow). He comes to you and you grab his bow and do the bow rescue.

I can't roll yet but the second way works very well. You can also practice with the paddle float attached - I can roll this way easily, so I'm getting there -;). In warm water, you can try re-entry and roll with the paddle foat - much easier than cowboy or similar reentry for me at least, even in waves.

I think if you can take the time over several sessions with a buddy you should be able to learn it. At least that's what I'm telling myself but have not really put more than 20 minutes of practice total yet, so I've only gone so far in my learning - paddle float and bow rescue work reliably now but my paddle-only roll needs just a little bit more - I can feel I'm almost there and I feel what's wrong, just can't coordinate all the motions yet: I do all the classic mistakes and I know it -;(
- I know my head sticks-out first instead of last and thus drags me back down
- I feel my pull-knee is not pulling and thus I'm trying to come-up with the boat still on the wrong side
- I feel I'm rushing it and not giving my body enough time to float-up with less efort (can't move very fast under water but I'm trying, thus wasting energy)
- My paddle digs down, helped by my improper paddle position to start-with, etc.

And yes, nose plugs, especially in fresh water, seem to be of great help -;)

treading water?
you can avoid treading water by doing your paddle float re-entry before you pump the water out of the cockpit—thats the way most do it—as long as you have hatches with bulk heads fore and aft.

do your rolling practice in warmer
water–at least initially until you can roll fairly reliably—also what kind of boat do you own—some are much easier to roll than others. Length not importand but beam and design of the rear deck is. The narrower the beam and the lower the rear deck, the easier the boat will be to roll. Most experts say that 24 inches or less should be fairly easy assuming the rear deck is not too high.

what type of roll?
I’d echo the comments on those that suggested trying to find someone to help you practice, even if its just someone who can spot you and offer a bow rescue so you don’t have to wet exit every time you miss. Ideally, though, I suspect most people learn to roll most rapidly under the guidance of a good instructor. The key word here is good. You want someone who will guide you through all the movements of the roll so that you can get a feel for what is, for most of us, a very non-intuitive skill.

Another factor to consider – what type of roll are you trying to learn? There are a number of varieties of roll, and some are more forgiving of deficiencies in form than others. For instance, the first roll I was taught was the C-to-C, but after gaining more experience, I transitioned to a sweep-style roll, which just feels more natural to me, and which seems to be more forgiving of lapses in form.

I was inspired by this thread, and had previously done some research and reading w/a search engine, and decided to finally give it a try, alone. Been thinking about it since my trip on Gun Lake last summer w/a very helpful member of this site, who let me paddle his Silhouette and helped w/ my 1st wet exits.

Made it on the third try, after practicing some wet-exits…:stuck_out_tongue:

Things that I think helped…

I used a mask (I seem to maybe remember seeing a photo of Patrick (Onno) using a mask titled “rolling practice”, or something like that…)

Warm, chest high water…

Used my wing paddle…

I used a sweep from the port side (is it still the port side upside down?) as I am right handed, and was able to check my paddle location and angle w/ the mask on. What made the difference the third time, I think, was getting a full range of motion on the sweep w/ some layback on the rear deck.

Now I’m planning on more practice in hopes of progressing to no mask/deeper water and doing a “lefty”…

YES! Thanks all, and I hope this helps the original poster!

Really depends

– Last Updated: Jul-17-08 12:50 PM EST –

Some can teach themselves to roll, but they also tend to be those who can look at a good video and really have a solid sense of their orientation and next steps even the first time they are upside down under the boat. The above reply is probably one of those folks.

For most (like myself), who get upside down and find at first either that their anxiety level went thru the roof, or that front/back up/down have suddenly gotten a very peculiar relationship, starting out with a instructor is a faster way to get going. As above, it is a seemingly simple thing that is for many anti-intuitive as heck at first.

Things like warm water, goggles and noseplugs help tremendously - it reduces the distractions like water coming into your sinuses and makes it easier to spot what is going on. A low volume boat sure doesn't hurt. I also tend to recommend ear plugs if you are going to get seriously wet a lot - no one is invulnerable to otitis. But someone spotting you and seeing what you are doing with your blade etc is incredibly helpful.

I tried for the second time here’s how it went.

*in another thread I talk about making hip pads, those are almost done, I think will really help.

This time I found a pier and tried rolling. First off, I have no anxiety being unside down, but still can only hold my breath so long especially while moving around. So each time, I only get a couple tries before I have to wet exit.

I watched a video today and found that I was trying it wrong. I had been doing the sweep brace with the front of my paddle and the video they used the back. Seems much better.

I’m getting about halfway, but I’m not really getting a good hip snap. Maybe it’s because there is not much foam on a 24.5" boat, and there is not too much to grab with my hips. I get about halfway and then I slide back. It’s tough because then I wet exit and when I flip my yak back it gets a lot of water and then I have to dump/pump.

I agree…
…I would have certainly enlisted the help of someone if they had been available locally. I used a dock post and a floating 4’ x 4’ piece of foam to get used to having the boat almost all the way over with my side in the water, then snapping it back. My boat has thigh hooks that facilate my bringing the boat upright, and is a bit narrower than 23" or so…

I would keep trying to learn all that I could, and keep trying, with whatever help you can muster…

My experience teaching rolling
is that it is the rare person who can teach themselves, even with books and videos. Not only is rolling a counter intuitive act but the orientation problems that Celia mentioned are widespread. Teaching rolling is really about diagnosis. A good instructor can save you time, effort, and frustration and you will end up with a more reliable roll.