How Long Did It Take You To Roll?

Look at the time I took

– Last Updated: Jan-27-08 1:38 PM EST –

You don't have anything to feel badly about. You're staying at it and got a "not easy" boat up.

you got that right
Someone on this board once said, get the first one and then do 1000 in two months. Maybe not 1000, but a heck of a lot. One of the things, perhaps even the key indicator, that distinguishes good paddlers from folks for whom paddling is primarily a social exercise is practicing versus talking. When I’m in a group, I’m using playing around with boat control strokes and rolling, and also talking. Most folks are just talking.

Well said sing

That would be me
And I’ve also said that great instructors have no pre-defined model. Rather that have a huge bag of tricks that they pull from after listening, and watching. Those instructors will have most people rolling in a session.

I find it amusing the threads of this roll or that roll blah blah, rather than understanding the overall concept and employing what “works” within safe parameters.

Once a student gets a roll, it’s a case of hard wiring the nervous system via repetition.

Anyone here who is struggling will absolutely have a roll for life if they do 1000 in the next month or two.

no kidding

“The Kayak Roll” video
worked well for me. I first learned a C-to-C as shown in “Grace Under Pressure”, but couldn’t transfer it to my offside. I used “the Kayak Roll” to learn a sweep on my offside, which then became my stronger side.

me three sessions—the third session I changed boats to one with a low deck so I could lay back and it was alot easier—to this day I don’t think I could do a roll in my old R-5 Riverrunner. Boat was a POS. I’ll tell you a story of once I saw a guy all decked out in ww gear—helmet, pfd,good paddle etc but in a short stubby rec boat—old town otter I think—he was trying to roll in the local lake and couldn’t quite make it(I’m sure that most people here would have trouble rolling the old town) so I offered him my T-170 WS to try and showed him how to hold the paddle for an extended or Pawletta roll—he rolled up beautifully the first, second and third tries—the only problem was his boat. I told him if he wanted to paddle ww then he should spend a little more money on a ww boat—never saw him again so I don’t know what happened.

ps I’m still learning
I’m of the opinion that although some, if not many of us have good rolls, no body has a bombproof 100% roll all the time—even the best paddlers sometimes wet exit.

And do not rush it
That is the biggest problem I had with rolling a surf kayak in a river “water park”. Tried to rush the roll because of the conditions, fast moving water and a big boulder downstream that I would hit with my helmeted head if I was not up in time.

Slowed it down, made sure my paddle was on the surface, made sure I threw by body back as I swept the paddle, and I had no problem rolling the surf kayak, in fact it turned out to be easier than my QCC700.

one afternoon with puddlejumper.

– Last Updated: Jan-27-08 8:30 PM EST –

Puddlejumper and I had never rolled before. I tried once, I suppose you could say, literally once with Guinness in springtime 2007, but never anything eelse. No coach, and no pool sessions

Puddlej and I just hit the lake, watched one another (he'd never rolled either), and critiqued one another in roto Valley Avocet. I'm pretty adept at the water, swimming and stuff, having grown up on a New England lake. So getting used to holding breathe and stuff was no great shakes.

Anyhow, we progressed with plenty of wet exits, and I will tell you, having the right boat (low back deck) DOES make a huge difference. And also forgettioong about all that C-to-c stuff like on the EJ videos was critical. I agree with the rolling method of Jay Babina, sweeping back deck roll to learn--I did not know of his thoughts on this until well after we learned o roll.

First, did the paddle float extended paddle roll. Huge sense of "I can do it" after that.

Then extended paddle no float.

And then third, no float, no paddle extended, and get it consistent, which PJ and I both did. End of day, 2 hours later, (one boat that we both used this actually took us about 1 hour each to roll), knew it pretty well.

Went back a couplle weeks later, no loss of learned skills--sort of like riding a bike, I guess Even went back with my Pop later in season, autumn, and cranked off a couple without issue. In fact, right boat wants to come back up. Windowshading is the issue, not rolling.

Now that I have it down, adapting to C-to_C is easier, for sure, so I beleiev in learning sweep roll first for sea kayaking. Sure, I know all the downsides of a sweep (unprotected posture, et cetera), but it;s a great roll. Greenland style. And 'm nt doing ww kayaking, no how.

Must admit, opposite side/off side roll fr me will take some practice. Paddle placement feels, well, off side. I will do this early in the season so as not to ingrain rolling one way only.

Thanks, puddlejumper, where ever you is, for that wonderful day of firsts for us both.

definition of a bombproof roll…
As Rick once said: “A bombproof roll is one that hasn’t met a big enough bomb.”

Though one on this board has asserted that ‘proficient rollers’ never blow their rolls, everyone (aside from said poster) fails to roll at some time(s).

One does have to keep practicing…

Learning to roll with instructor
I think a good instructor can make the process a lot easier by showing you the best way to perform the roll and by telling you if you are making any mistakes. A video showing you what you do can also be very helpful, as the saying goes: a picture is worth a thousand words.

It is certainly possible to roll without doing it the best way, but it takes more muscle and increases the chances that the roll will fail.

It took me probably 5 or 6 lessons with one of the best instructors before I had the standard Greenland roll on both sides, but I didn’t practice much on my own. My excuse is that I didn’t start until I was 73 years old, I am not as flexible as I would like.


Hit one roll during first session
I rolled once during my first pools session, which basically, was the first time I’d spent more than a minute in a kayak, and my second time ever in a kayak. That was the only roll I hit, though. I may go to another session and see how it goes.

Sing likes to talk about body awareness and muscle memory, and others talk about how a roll that you can do when you really need it is a completely different skill than doing it under controlled conditions. I couldn’t agree more. I went to the rolling session on a whim, and have no illusions that even if I learn to do it consistently, doing it “for real” would be completely different. That would take some really serious practice.

eyes shut
I don’t open my eyes either, pool, river or ocean. I bet it would be a lot easier if I could see, but my contacts would float out!

I used a mask once in a pool and it was very enlightening to see where I thought my blade was and where it really was.

How many folks here use sight as a crucial element of their rolling?

rolling-a psychological feast
Lots of intense issues for some in this process. For one, I’m dealing with an entrapment issue that occurred many years ago-a too tight boat and a flashback of my life-something that I relive every day before falling asleep.

Yet I still roll, am still learning to roll, and hopefully will fight the mental beast within me for the rest of my life-though I’ve recently been made aware of techniques to quell said beasty.

We learned to roll in 3 sessions in a hotel pool after all the guests were asleep…it was winter and we would wait until all hotel activity stopped then slips our boats into the inside/heated pool around 1am. The clerk at the front desk was well aware and gave us the polite nod to continue.

One person in the kayak and one on the pool deck reading aloud D.Hutchinson’s description of the put across roll…eventualy success.

But for me each new kayak is like beginning all over again…I have little transference of my knowledge that I’ve actually rolled many kayaks but full transference of that said beasty mentioned above.

My goals in rolling aren’t necessarily adding new rolls, I’ve got the armpit, the crook of the elbow, the standard, the c-to-c, the butterfly—what I dont have completely under control is fear of entrapment…that is my windmill.

Thought about taking my
28" wide Manta Ray (SOT) and a roll of duct tape to the roll practice at a local college.

Plan was to walk in with the boat and start asking if people would duct tape my legs to the boat. Then keep repeating loudly, “I’m not leavin’ 'til I get a solid roll!”

Of course, I might have to stand up to get the thing to flip…


How’s This For An Alternative…

– Last Updated: Jan-28-08 7:13 AM EST –

you want a roll that you don't blow everytime a firecracker goes off... More folks with rolls for firecrackers than bombs.

If you don't play the rough stuff (whatever that may be to push the envelop, within some safety parameters) every so often, you'll never really know how reliable your roll is in a heavier-than-normal (normal being the norm of one's paddling) conditions.

I agree no one has a 100% bombproof roll but don't make that an excuse to have and settle for an unreliable roll, especially if one goes out in anything but flatwater. I won't claim to have a bombproof roll but a highly reliable one that let's me go out and play stuff that others wouldn't or shouldn't.


It’s a process

– Last Updated: Jan-28-08 10:59 AM EST –

That's all. You can be further along in that process or less so, but as long as someone is still trying they are likely to get better.

I get concerned about hearing rolling failures couched as a weakness of the individual, which is exactly how it sounds when a less reliable roll is attributed to someone making excuses. Very few people get better when they are left feeling badly about not being as bold or as mentally well-disciplined as others. More often they'll just find another pond or group to paddle, maybe one that doesn't ask them to grow at all. That's no good for anyone.

Obviously I was committed to getting a roll myself - I wouldn't have been able to push thru the panic if I didn't take it seriously. But it seems that there is all this additional baggage that comes up about rolling.

Of course people shouldn't get in over their heads. But that's about common sense and understanding the paddling environment, not whether they have the correct attitude about rolling.

Take a look at: . If you’d like to email me off line (, I’d be happy to walk you through the core concepts.

Kudzu - question
what style of roll were they teaching?

C to C or a screw type of modification or a lay back style?

Euro or GP?