How's your combat roll?

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Not that good at the moment…

If that was me in that situation I’d be sea food.

Rocks and Roll!
more accurately… Roll and Rocks!

I honestly think I could have rolled up but I’d have to change my underwear after being tossed up on those rocks.


Talk about taking risks! Seems every year there’s a story or two along the coast nearby me of a surfer being killed against a jetty or pier. I’m glad he was able to keep that boat between him and the rocks when it counted. I bet his heart was thumping after getting caught there!

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That guy is damn good, but i think he is just lucky to land bottom-side-bottom. Even small roll he would be smashed on the rock.

I agree he is very lucky it did not end very badly. But if you know about waveskis you can see he was throwing the ski around to land on the bottom of the ski. Very skillful paddler who bit off a bit more than he wanted. I had a similar experience several years ago getting caught by a rogue wave that was many times higher than the average waves when I was paddling through a protected cove. I ended upside down on some mussels shells that tore the crap out of my shins before I could get my self to safety. Also I always wear a helmet, he was lucky he didn’t end up with a head injury.

It looks to me like he surfed in a wave that did not close out as he expected and he was shot towards the rocky point. Probably was not planning on that big of a risk when he took off. You get used to surfing a spot, and think you know how things will play out. On the west coast I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a surfer killed by a pier or jetty. I do know that every so often there are pretty serious injuries where someone tries to “shoot” the beams on a pier. (Malibu is a classic) It’s a right of passage for lots of young surfers in California but most piers have taken steps to curtail the activity.

Just the first thing I saw that popped up. It probably doesn’t happen as often as it seems to me. I mostly remember someone right where I was regularly paddling, and then another shortly after about 30 miles up the coast. And I remember locals saying it’s unfortunately not that uncommon, and just occasionally hearing about an incident. It’s likely/hopefully mostly injuries.

Yes not that common though. Five years ago and he was from Florida. Also probably not the sharpest tool in the shed. I doubt it got much attention locally. Heavy winter surf takes lots of tourists in California. Statistically golfers and fishermen take more risks with lightning

The ww perspective:

My paddling far exceeds my rolling ability. It has been like that for years. I keep working on both (paddling and rolling). I do miss running the new river gorge at “good” levels and haven’t boated the lower gauley in a couple of years. I had good success for decades on those sections. A few years ago I lost my ability to roll (pre hip replacements) but there was a lot of pressure to have clean runs and that really cut into the fun for me. So after a few years of that I just stopped the bigger water and throttled back on the difficulty.
Swimming was and still is my most reliable self rescue/back up plan. I tell my paddlin’ buds if I ever get a good combat roll again then I could become dangerous again (upper gauley, new river dries).

We all have “holes” in our overall game that keep us from advancing. My biggest one is a reliable combat roll. You can navigate around your “holes” but eventually if you want to move on (harder water, more play) you have to address the weakness and punch through.

Rolling is a foundation skill and I got a crack in my foundation. The house is still standing, just leaks a bit, like a leaky basement.

Rolls aren’t just tricks for the pool. You want it to work when you need it. That bein’ said, I started my ww days in tripping canoes and swimming was the sole self rescue technique- if you ain’t willin’ to swim it then don’t paddle it.

I’m pretty much back to that canoe mentality but in a kayak. I try to keep it interesting by paddling “new to me” streams and helping others progress. Every once in a while, I find myself in a rapid thinkin’, “just don’t flip over” this would really suck. Note to self, you don’t really belong here. I felt that way a few weeks ago at zoom flume (low water in brown’s canyon, arkansas river Co). Flipping would have been ugly. Tucking tight isn’t just for practice.

Shallow rocky creeks are a sort of equalizer for me. Nobody wants to be upside down in that stuff so I can hang better with some of my more skilled friends on that type of stream. Just don’t flip over or you might be visiting the emergency room! A good day on that type of stream is measured by no rolls or swims. You can paddle streams that don’t have high difficulty but have high consequences. Oddly, I don’t shy away from that stuff. I just find myself portaging and dragging my boat a bit more now. I feel secure enough with my own abilities and judgement to boat those high consequence/lower difficulty streams. I guess that’s where experience kicks in. The payoff is some truly outstanding scenery and use your brain power to make solid decisions.

My last combat roll was on the bullpasture river in va a year and a half ago. A year or two before that, I took a swim at Howards Plunge (cabarton section of N.F. of the Payette, Idaho). If I had to swim, that was a great place to do it. The rapid dumps straight into a slow pool. So I guess in the last five years I’m 1 for 2 (one successful combat roll for two attempts) . I don’t know if that’s good, bad, or indifferent. That’s just what happened.

When I paddled a short canoe I swam all the time. I got tired of swimmin’ but it kept class II/III interestin’. I gave the canoe up because it was uncomfortable but I ain’t cryin’ about havin’ a lot more dry hair days since bein’ in a kayak.

The truth is, I can’t paddle very well (bad technique). My roll sucks but is improving. Despite these deficiencies at some point I learned to combat brace, read water, and use current. In fact, the ww pros tell me that I brace way too much and should rely on my other skills like edgein’, and that I need to develop cleaner more eficient strokes. I’m kinda ok with bein’ just a float and brace kinda a guy who occasionally does a bunch of quick strokes that resembles flailing. It has gotten me down a lot of rivers intact. The idea of bouncin’ off of rocks with the fake hips just ain’t very appealin’ so I take what the pros say with a grain of salt. Changes for me, at this stage of life, are incremental.

Paddling keeps it real. My buds say, “Tony can’t roll be he’s got a real good brace.” A fair assessment but that ain’t gonna make me into a tsunami ranger. Them boys got real big kahunas and the big water roll to go with it. They go out in water that is over their head and like the rocks way more than I do. All the stuff they do makes my ww river boatin’ look sane.


I half expected to see blood running and/or broken bits of boat flying.

Good video and skills, and he’s lucky not to have gotten harmed.

As for combat rolls, I haven’t needed one since years ago and stopped practicing when I got a surf ski. Now instead, I have to make my remounts reliable enough for more than calm water. There’s always stuff to get improve and strengthen, no matter what toy.

I’m not sure the Tsunami Rangers are still a group. Their founder Eric, died of an aorta aneurism , in about 2012. I did a surf/rock garden weekend around 2008 iirc and met several of them at the same break, most of them were a fair amount older than I am; I have not heard anything about them lately, and a lot of folks in that age group now are really slowing down. Peter who posts here does rock garden kayaking with a pretty hard core group in the same area. He may know if the Tsumami Rangers are still an active group.

Sometimes it’s hard not to succumb to pier pressure.

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Oh Jeeze… That happened me last year at the home break. Got caught in the inside corner of the rock jetty. Blew my first roll. As I went for the second, I was slamming into the boulders. Bailed and took a beating. My waveski got punctured in several spots. One local surfed in to try to help. I waved him off because I didn’t want him slamming in the rocks. He did pull my waveski onto land and saved it from further damage. He kept watch on me until I got back on shore. I was wasted…


Glad you came out of it OK!

I don’t know about waveskis, but are you sure about that? I don’t see anything unique to waveskis in his rock landing. It looks to me like all he did was lean heavily into the wave to prevent a downside flip in a baaad place, which is a standard move for anyone moderately skilled in surf and automatically surfs you along broached in that hull-forward attitude. I think it may have been luck more than execution. The fact that he was in that situation dressed as he was lends weight to the dumb luck theory IMO.

Hey Sing hope you are having a good summer.

First and foremost, all of my extended family and I are still healthy and gainfully employed. So, everything else is a cherry on top. :slight_smile:

This summer is been hot and flat. Good thing with higher vacination rates in our area is that I have been able to get back into my gym. (Enjoying it while it last, as Delta seems to be reversing the positive direction.) With surf, I got maybe one summer session in, compared to about 4-5 sessions in the spring season. Another “good thing” is that “working” remotely gave more flexibility to get out, even in the middle of the week. :+1: :wink:

Right now, tracking TS Henri, a fish storm that may track close enough this weekend to actually give some decent swells. Perfect timing, as I am taking vacation after this week. :slight_smile:

Hope you and yours have been well too.



I was lucky to have only damaged my waveski and my ego in that incident.

Familiarity breeds complacency. :nauseated_face: I surfed the homebreak so many years that I got increasingly comfortable surfing myself into the righthand corner of the jetty.

However, on bigger wave days, with more SE swell direction and a higher tide stage, that inside corner becomes a trap. The steep shore creates a dumper there and the water piles up and “rips” back out along the boulders of the Jetty.

So, even though I know this, I still surfed myself into that corner, thinking that I can than use the rip to quickly paddle back out. … So much for the “best plan” of mice and men. when I blew my roll, slammed into the boulders and bailed, I found myself trapped in the push and pull of the outgoing rip and the incoming dumpers. The one fortunate thing that was that my trashing took place in a warmer spring session, rather than a winter session like in the video.