greenland style kayak question

i have a P+H Scorpio LV and have been watching videos on greenland rolls…which kayaks fall into this category? ok, i know that may be a dumb question…but i am pretty new in the sea kayaking thing and want to learn to do this amazing greenland style roll. Is it possible with my type of Kayak? are there some type of sea kayaks that you can’t do this style of roll with? can any one here on pnet do them as graceful as the look on utube? and was it harder than you thought? they make it look easy. i’m going to a clinic with the mind set that i am doing these rolls.greenland style or other!

Greenland rolls can be done in any Kayak that You are able to use Your legs to control.

The more difficult ones, generally take a low volume kayak to learn and some of the really difficult ones can only be done (by most humans) in certain kayaks.

There are exceptions to this…but those exceptions take hundereds of hours to be obtainiable.

and Yes I find them very easy (and relaxing) and so will anyone that forgets the paddle and does the roll with their body controling the boat.

Body - Boat- Blade (the order that things done in a kayak matter)(the body movements matter the most, the blade matters the least)

Best Wishes


Don’t be too concerned with the boat,
as long as you can lay back onto the rear deck you will be able to progress nicely. Your paddle will be the more important change assuming that you are currently using a euro paddle. While some boats roll more easily than others, most sea kayaks under 22 inches in beam roll reasonably well. What I am saying may not seem agreeable at this time, but as you progress you will realize that proper techique will provide results over a broad spectrum of boats (assuming you are able to get onto the backdeck). Don’t be in a hurry and enjoy the ride. Bill

which greenland style roll are you
referring to?

If you mean the standard layback style roll no special kayak is needed.

I don’t know how high the backband is in the scorpio, but it shouldn’t be a problem to modify it, if you find that it is hard to get on the backdeck with the backband.

Other rolls might be harder to do with your kayak, but technique is more important than the boat. A reasonably proportioned kayak should have you doing about half of the greenland competition list.

If you are only interested in rolling, there are certainly easier boats to manage for rolling specific needs, though that can get expensive unless you build. And that’s a whole nother ball of string to unwind.

is it more technique
than upper body strength? looks like technique to me…but have heard people say they can’t do them because they don’t have the upper body strength…i can’t argue because i don’t know. in my mind and eyes it’s technique. am i right?

no backband issues
it’s low and minimal. so hopefully i can make it happen.i mean i will make it happen :0)

technique…massive strength can actually get in the way…flexiability is way more important.

Best Wishes


style rolling is all about the conservation of energy and flow.

more like ballet or Yoga without gravity (or Tai Chi)

if You are using masive amounts of strength…Your doing it all wrong.

Think of Yoga, a spinal twist is the same as a balance brace only done laying down and being held in the arms of the water…

Best Wishes


kayaks that will roll

There’s a Greenland rolling DVD with Dubside. He’s shown rolling all kinds of kayaks, including mammoth sit-on-tops – all to back up this one quote: “Don’t blame the boat.”

Yes, it’s a lot easier to roll some boats than others. But Dubside, who isn’t a big guy, has the technique to roll ANYTHING. It’s quite a hoot to see him do it in that video. (Maybe you could borrow it.)

G in NC

i am checking this out now. i love the internet!!!

Size-wise, it appears to be…
…pretty similar to an Anas Acuta, so the boat shouldn’t hamper you from doing most Greenland rolls, or at least the ones that are useful. Some of the more esoteric stuff like “brick”, “fist” and “straightjacket” rolls will probably require a different boat, but if you get to the point where you’ve done everything else, you’re seriously hooked and a specialized rolling boat is in your future.

that will be the day that i actually prefer to be upside down rather than right side up.ha ha. i had a bad experience in my 1st ever wet exit…so i am a little nervous…but really want to do this and feel real confident and comfortable. thanks everyone! the links are great!

Performing any type of roll takes
practice and time. Once learned it can be fine tuned and performed with grace. Rolling is all about technique and some kayaks will allow you use better technique than others. Kayaks with low decks will allow you to keep your center of gravity lower and let you use less paddle support. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t pick it right up. I had to work very hard to learn to roll and now enjoy doing many of the greenland rolls. Each new roll brings new challenges and new accomplishments. It’s a wonderful journey. Enjoy.

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t roll right away. Most folks I know took 3 or more pool sessions to get their first roll. Baby steps.

You may also find…
…that learning bracing and sculling skills first will help you progress to rolling. It’s a case of building a foundation of basic skills that create a path to more advanced skills.

Greenland lay back roll

– Last Updated: Feb-24-10 2:43 PM EST –

The basic Greenland style lay-back roll is effortless and many times you see paddlers violently hip-snapping themselves up and it's far from graceful looking or effortless. You can do the lay back style of roll effortlessly with a euro paddle too, but paddlers seem to pride themselves in forcefully rolling up with power. To answer your question, I paddle with loads of people who can do effortless rolls like you see in videos but most of them use GPs. The Greenland style gets paddlers to do balance braces and gently scull on the water which gets paddlers to get so comfortable laying on the water that finishing a roll is like rolling over in bed and you don't find that with conventional euro style technique. You can do that too with a little practice and the right instruction.

Learning them

– Last Updated: Feb-24-10 11:50 AM EST –

I reread this post and changed my mind about what I'd recommend. I paid more attention to your anxiety about being upside down. I had a poor experience early on, as well as claustrophobic feelings under the boat, which really damaged my learning process. I lurched there but I think I had the local record for time spent trying to get to that first roll.

I am going to suggest something outside of the usual process that, after it was all over, I realized would have been a much, much better way for me to learn a roll. Since you are a gurl, you have more flexibility than a lot of the guys and have a boat that should help...

Ditch the paddle and the goal of rolling to start. Find someone who knows Greenland well enough to get you started with sculling towards a static brace. You will find that a layback roll happens quite easily out of that, and you can learn it without trying to avoid pulling down on a paddle. It's the hold with two hands that tends to make for diving paddles, and anxiety and tension will make that happen easily and repetitively. And it is very discouraging.

Now if you want to try it the usual way, going for "the roll", since the first Greenland roll that is usually taught is a layback roll, you have to be able to lay back over your rear deck. If the rear coaming is way high on your waist, it'll be harder. I don't know where the Scorpio hits your back. It's not a high rear deck I know, but I am guessing you aren't way tall either from the pics I've seen. I think the volume should be low enough to facilitate this.

Here's a silly question - do you have a Greenland paddle? If you don't, that not need hold you back. You can put just about anything that floats on/in your hand - a partially inflated paddle float or a chunk of wood. They'll all work.

Pulling forward
I also find on some kayaks with higher back decks if you pull yourself forward in the seat it will help with the layback. That will give room to clear the coaming and some higher backbands. So even if you’re stuck with something less optimal there are ways to adapt. I could not do a balance brace in my Point Bennett if my life depended on it. One day I decided to pull myself way forward almost at the edge of the seat and as soon as I tried it worked perfectly. So mess around until it works. If you’re nervous about it, have a friend stand by and spot you.


Brian makes a great point. when I was being taught to roll much time was spent learning a high sculling brace. when I got that comfortable the rolling part just kind of happened.

Lift your butt
When I started rolling there was no rolling kayaks - you used what you had. I had a Necky Arluk III and I use to lift my butt up off the seat to lay back a bit. You don’t have to be plastered on the back deck to do an effortless lay back roll. I don’t have an elastic back but just getting your head back and the body tilted back a bit will do it.