Help with my new book project - "Fear of Rolling"

I haven’t been the target of judgment, but I also haven’t had as much exposure, i.e. posted all my kayaking routes, gear, etc. to be relentlessly picked apart. The reason is mostly because I don’t know yet what my plans are, but even when I do I’m not sure I’d detail them in a new thread here. An instructor in person, in a class, I’m guessing will have more compassion and be able to meet me where I am at.

If there comes a time that kayaking becomes a little stale sans rolling, or I notice conditions where I want to paddle are often rough, then I will seriously consider taking a rolling class to address these issues. There, someone said it.

To those who currently roll, please happily roll to your heart’s content. Those who are unable to roll or choose not to, let us be merry in our present condition.

One last thing. Let us all (including myself) take an inward look at ourselves from time to time to see if we can be better people and treat others with even an additional inkling of respect. This will improve not only this community but others we are a part of as well.


It took me years before learning to roll. To me the object was to stay in my boat and on top of the water.

I did, finally, take a class, in a pool. The people I was with were keeping a safe interval, but when I had reason to roll, I was alone, just me.

I sold the sea kayak and bought a surfski. Still don’t want to have to roll, much less become and expert at it.


You’re obviously not a “real” kayaker and would not like this book. :roll_eyes:

“Why do you just inflict pain on me?” Isadora sobbed.

“I promise you, I’m trying my best to help you.” her therapist whispered. “I want you so badly.”

“Good God, why is there a dead horse in the corner?!”

“Isadora, my dear, it’s only there for occasional beating. Studies have found it to be very therapeutic, especially in winter months.”

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Isadora paddle? Obviously not.

You forgot to put a big ol’ T in front of that title.

Fear of Trolling


One paddler’s troll is another’s question or simply a comment.

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I like and appreciate the “real” and “elite” kayakers posting here. They teach me new things and inspire me.

Many thanks to all you real elites.


I’m one of those semi-advanced beginners who wants to learn to roll. Not because I necessarily intend to go out in conditions where I would need a great roll just to be safe, but because it looks…. Fun.

Also, heck yeah, I am scared of rolling. Because under the boat with, yanno, lots of water all around and that normal desire not to drown. But still I hope to learn, because, fun. And also because it might feel great to get over that fear, which I imagine would make me enjoy my kayaking time even more.

And when I do learn to roll, you can bet yer sweet bum I am going to go around every single internet board, whether it’s even about kayaking or not, and try to make any non-roller feel totally inferior. Mwa-ha-ha!!!


Trust me, it wears off quick (Unless you are Greenland enthusiast/competitor because s/he is mastering 101 techniques. And, that is just with the paddle… Just joking!). But, sure, do it. Just so you can get into a discussion based on contextual merits rather than emotional conjecture.



I had the good fortune to pair up with a friend to learn and practice rolling. So, on a failed roll, the friend just rolls you back up … typically no wet exit and boat draining. This is a real time saver, allowing one to make more attempts etc. We still do this.

I must be a much better teacher/helper because his roll, reentry and roll etc. is so much better than mine.


It is extraordinarily fun. Really really. I haven’t started the search yet but this dialogue has me resolved to find someone I can pay for a couple of days to help me redo my roll the way I later realized I should have started it.


Good luck on your brace and roll.

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Celia, I occasionally review threads and somehow missed the response to learning rolling skills as “chicken”. I highly respect the skill and encourage kayakers to learn it. My objection is the clear message that some, many, a few or anyone is afraid of water, and all they need to do is “grow up” (my words, not stated by anyone). I don’t fear water. I’ve dumped in rapids doing white water. I swam in the ocean, rivers, pools, dove off cliffs, dove to the deep end to retrieve objects.

It’s apparent that rolling skills represent a badge of honor or a right of passage for many kayakers. What I hear! “What I hear!” Is get over your baby fears and learned to roll with the big kids. NO! NO! NO! I DONT WANT TO! I have a big fat slow boat. It’s stable, dont want to spend my limited water time rolling over in a boat. I do t want to spend the time I get to paddle rolling around in a boat that I bought to explore.

It’s a paradox when you tell inexperienced kayakers how easy it is, then describe your countless certification courses, refreshing your skills. You think its fun, so you do it rather that go a theme park. I don’t have to catch up to ypu to feel worthy. I’m happy being an inferior kayaker in a slow, fat, ungainly, little boat.

I simply don’t want to, but there are people who had near death experiences. It isn’t our place to tell them to just get back on the dead horse and ROLL it.

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Thank goodness we have real self pronounced elite kayakers that post on this site that are willing to serve as role models because they have achieved the ultimate personal achievement of capsizing a kayak and righting it without falling out.

I repeatedly said that there are paddling scenarios where having a roll is a valuable skill. Of course those scenarios also go with environments where more training is desirable. I don’t tell people l know who want to take rec boats out in ponds and flop out with their feet sticking over the edge that having a roll is crucial. I do tell someone who wants to succeed in surf having a better one than me will make things easier.

As to getting past fear… once someone decides they WANT to paddle in a situation where having a roll is valuable what exactly are you suggesting they do? Skip it because it is too hard? Or see if they can get by that to enjoy what they started out wanting to do?

I have myself aged into paddling less where the roll will matter. But l am more than glad l decided to get by it for the freedom it did and to some degree still does give me. I had a lot of fun with my moderate whitewater fling. I have no idea if you enjoyed the whitewater time you claim but it’d be a shame if you didn’t.

And where are you coming in with near death experiences? At no point did l recommend people go do stuff, or use the roll to do stuff, that produces a near death experience. You just brought that one in new now, and it has nothing to do anything anyone here said.

I agree with rnsparky that we are fortunate to have members versed in the fine arts of advanced kayaking.

Celia, when I joined the forum, you’re one of the first members who stood out as a helper. I know you’re intension is to help other kayakers to get the maximum out of the activity. Nobody would argue that rolling is a fabulous skill to acquire. I had a lifetime of learning, classes, seminars, professional training, certification and testing. I retired from a good job because I got tired of certifying and recertifying. I reached a point where we were asked to volunteer for assignments and I frankly figured out that I don’t want to do this anymore.

Kayaking is challenging enough for me. Nobody has to fear for my life because I don’t. It’s admirable to offer help and encouragement. This is not directed to anyone in particular, but to the forum in general. No member should be ridiculed for not wanting to roll a kayak due to being afraid of getting trapped, and they shouldn’t be put in a position to examine it to anyone. I figure the hardest part would be staying in it.

I’m a member of a pool to swim. I bought a kayak to paddle. It isn’t my intention to denounce anyone, and I actually think its unfair to imply members trying to help others are elitists, but these topics come up over and over again. The same is true of skirts, immersion suits and PFDs. The forum has lost members over thise topics, and some members joke about it. I’m not sure I’m in the frame of mind to actually articulate my point, so feel free to disregard it as rantings of a lunatic. All I ask is that members respect that phrase from years ago: NO means NO! Many of our freedoms have been eroded, but at least give members the dignity of choice. I think your enthusiasm for the skill will be adequate to encourage new members looking to expand skills in that direction.

I never thought I’d have to do an assisted reentry. Until I took someone out and he fell out of a Pungo. I

It is a real trick to fall out of a Pungo. My friend did it in 6" of water, trying to get in.


Hehe. Yeah, honest question for those who practice rolling in a pool… was it awkward bringing a long ass kayak into an indoor swimming pool the first time? I would feel pretty self-conscious about it :laughing: Maybe if the pool was huge it would feel a bit more natural and loose. Like yup perhaps this boat belongs here, or I can talk myself into it in a few minutes.

This comes to mind, if there weren’t oodles of people in it all the time

I used to host the “pool practice” for a local seakayaker club at a community center I ran. Participants chipped in to pay overtime for lifeguards and custodian.

Who participates? Those seakayakers who want keep their rough water skills up while the water is “too cold” or “hard” for their preferences. White water paddlers who don’t want to loose to their rolling, bracing and, more usual, “playboating” skills while the rivers are frozen. Finally, there beginners who have aspirations to go beyond flat water paddling. Pool practice is where to learn self and assisted rescues (and later rolling) with coaches and/or future partners who come to know and trust what the newbie is capable of taking on when the “kayaking season” starts.

Then you have a few idiots like me who go out year-round, especially where there is surf. My “practice” is to do several rolls on both sides near shore to make sure I am mentally in the game and the techniques are on. It also quickly acclimates my face to cold water and eliminates shock and possible “gasp reflex” when the inevitable capsize happens.

Folks who have no aspirations beyond an easy paddle in idylic conditions can simply wait until the warm weather arrives. They can occupy their time in the meantime watching the olympics, reading, hitting the gym, participating in a forum of whatever. Depending on his/her urge to get on the water, it can be an easy or not transition to the “paddling season.” Of course, for those with means, there can be a paddling vacation in warmer climes.

There you have it.