I'm not drowning, really...

How do I practice rolls when there are people and boats around?

Last year, I had someone in a small raft paddle over to me to see if I was drowning. Since they probably knew nothing of kayak rolls, they would not know that there is no way in hell I could get the boat back up again if I wasn’t doing it on purpose.

I was trying to do a roll where the paddle is held in one hand in the middle of the paddle and the other hand is free. I almost made it up doing that but had to revert to a more typical roll to get back up after the failure.

So, does anyone ever do something to make it clear to others that the rolling is not accidental?


I honestly dont understand why yakers feel they need to roll their yaks all the time. The next time I see it I’m gonna paddle over there and do a “forced rescue” and drag the person or persons to shore before letting them explain to me what they were doing…then I’ll proceed to yell at them because they scared me!

break them in slowly
If you’re on a patrolled beach, tell the lifeguard beforehand. If not and you’re just worried about people like the ones on the raft, just try wet exiting first. Make it obvious that you’re not in distress - float on your back calmly, get back on the kayak, maybe sit on the back deck cowboy style. Play some games that indicate that you’ve got good command of your boat.

Then maybe brace a few times before rolling.

This usually works for me.

you do a rescue?
ok. We’ll all be waiting for the punch line.

^ don’t feed the troll

Why not?
I do rolls for the same reason that I kayak when it’s rough out or ski on hills with moguls. It’s all fun stuff and variety is the spice of life.

so far I always have someone with me

– Last Updated: Jun-03-11 3:57 PM EST –

who stands around looking bored while I flail around. I passed on some practice opportunities because I didn't have anyone to go with me. Safety was about 10% as I'm pretty close to shore, mostly I was worried about beach strollers trying to rescue me.
(Edited out the "force rescue" throw down)

practice makes perfect

– Last Updated: Jun-03-11 7:21 PM EST –

I have many friends that have learned to roll but I know mine is more reliable than most and much of that is because I do at least a few rolls every day I'm out. I do yet more practice in surf or rough water days because at least psychologically it's different and it helps to feel confident.

I have at times during busy summer days paddled a bit away from a local beach lifeguard stand to roll just to be sure there was no reaction. But in general I figure if I roll up quick enough no one will care.

I like that description (“flail”), it’s what I do also.

Once you’ve reassured the beach walkers you can draw a small crowd sometimes…

We can sell popcorn!

Keep them wondering
I like to keep them wondering. :wink:


Would anyone in NJ
try a rescue?

why roll?

– Last Updated: Jun-03-11 4:52 PM EST –

to show off
to cool off
for fun (a blast in the surf on a warm day)
to look at the lake or ocean bottom
to get rightside up
to get the wetsuit wet
to test the drysuit
to test the sprayskirt
to test the goggles
to test the noseplug
to test the sunscreen
to lose your sunglasses
to find your sunglasses
to get out of the sun
because the water's too cold for a wet exit
to fill the nalgene on your deck
to test the garmin gps on your deck

to fascinate the troll

(did I miss anything?)

when I mis-time that six foot dumper…
I’m pretty good at timing surf, but now an then I screw up and a big one hits me hard and over I go. Rolling is WAY easier than swimming 200 feet to shore through surf with a flooded boat.

It’s fun when practicing in the harbor and some little boat full of folks come by and ask my to do that “spinny thing”.

It’s happened to me too
Had a lady jump out of an anchored motor boat and swim, quickly, to me.

Just snapping off a few successful rolls first to make sure they can see you usually does the trick.


Instead I get lame-Os urging me to roll
for their amusement.

awsome post got a good laugh, Nope don’t

Just tell them…
…that you’ll roll for beer or money.

thats not how I roll
I prefer to just stay upright.