Is Competitive Rolling Like Diving?

Yes, but
often rolls are first taught in a pool or whatever, but that should never be the end of it. I agree with the idea of practicing rolling in a variety of situations so we do not disagree on that…in fact we agree. I don’t think the choice of paddle/technique should change that at all.

As to what people post on YouTube…I think it speaks for itself. I also tend to believe there are many people who are “into Greenland” rolling as art form or ballet so to speak as I alluded to in my post as opposed to techniques for “real world” paddling. The same goes for folks who build Greenland SOF and never take them in harm’s way so to speak and use them only to practice their art of rolling in flat water. However, that does not mean the rolling techniques nor the SOFs are not useful in the “real world”. Maybe I’m just reacting to their having been given a bad rap which I feel is undeserved. I can see how that can happen.

our view of all of these paddles is

– Last Updated: May-21-12 4:31 PM EST –

partial. Look at the great variety of wing and euro paddles and tell me anyone has all of them in mind in this discussion.

I think you and sika are saying the same thing. And to advance the golfer analogy, if I were a golfer used to a nine-iron and I saw someone hitting drives 3x as long as I can with their driver, you can bet I'd be looking at that driver as the more appropriate tool for distance(I admit that this is where the analogy starts to stretch really thin).

So many things affect this personal choice that it's reasonable to say, "whatever works for you, use it".

What is the intent of the paddle? My take is that I need the paddle to develop speed quickly while still being able to be usable for rolling, bracing etc. I just don’t think that modifying a GP to make it useful as a WW paddle is the way to go. But give it a shot, I still think you eventually end up with something that approaches a Euro blade. For myself, I don’t see any value in trying to reinvent the wheel - or paddle in this case.

I was out yesterday with a few guys that had pool rolls. As long as they could control their capsize and set up they could hit their roll every time. The problem is that many people stop at the pool roll and don’t move it successively into cold water, then moving water, then into the rapids. They get the pool roll and then move it right into the rapids and they end up swimming. Perhaps it’s the lack of continuity from pool to rapids that is the break. But the question is then what sort of follow up these student get at the end of a class to help them take that pool roll into the real capsizing world where things happen FAST. Is the training progression explained to them? Probably not.

"starts from that ritualized setup"
That may have been true at one time for teaching WW rolling, but not anymore.

I’d just be interested in seeing how a modified GP would do.

Yeah, three of us road bikers turning sea kayakers learned to roll together. One guy is the ‘pool roll’ guy. He hits every roll in the pool… with his damned goggles on. I think it’s a comfort / confidence / fear thing.

It’s fine to say that’s not how it’s done anymore, but then how is it being taught, and I’ve been through my share of IDW/ICE and updates? To just assert “that’s not how it’s done” doesn’t mean much.

I know how I teach it, though it gets modified a bit to accommodate for different people. I’ve started them with sculling braces, from just working on driving with the knee. I will certainly acknowledge that you have to tune it differently for each student but at the end of the day, there is little difference once they are under water. The paddle is there for support (not as something to pull against) and the hip flick/knee drive or what ever you want to call it to roll the boat up first with you and your melon to follow. Also, most people, as they’re learning, don’t reliably hold themselves in the setup position after they capsize and let themselves fall out of position which is why the paddle tends to dive so deeply, leading to unsuccessful attempts.

I will agree that it’s all about getting upright, but if getting upright with poor form leads to injuries isn’t it incumbent on us, as instructors (or me at least, as I don’t know if you’re an instructor), to teach this skill in a safe controlled way so that when it’s executed in times of need that the muscle memory executes those movement in a safe and controlled manner? Even when my eyes are big as dinner plates and I’ve capsized in a hole and I’m getting beat up I still execute my rolls coolly, so I’ve heard, and that’s what I encourage. Cool heads, especially in times of high stress and low oxygen environments.

I know I’ve strayed way off into the weeds but that’s the way paddling discussions go.

exactly What particular indigenous paddle has everybody been talking about?

is there really such a thing as a Euro paddle?

Best Wishes


Fistful of sand.
Sticking with common terminology here, but if I had to choose one, it would be similar to the Copper Inuit for adapted to WW paddling.

very cool
I like “C.”

“D”, judging from the face on the blade, looks like something one might use on a misbehaving child…

How its done
The business of setting up and rolling all around before executing the roll has a long history from several sources and became a kind of shared cultural understanding. EJ’s Rolling and Bracing video made explicit what quite a few people silently believed – that a pre-setup was a bad way to learn and a bad way to practice. The way I teach the roll in the beginning is to have students fall over backwards in a setup position. That way they don’t have to deal with the disorientation of setting up and rolling around and can postpone learning how to get the paddle to the setup position from random capsize. I either teach a C-to-lay back roll (the roll EJ teaches) or a sweep roll, depending on the student. For most students they successfully roll at least once in one pool session. From then on it is learning to get to the set up position and finally eliminating the set up. Anyway, a lot of this comes from EJ’s video, which I strongly recommend and is the basis for my statement that it is done differently now (by some, maybe many?).

GP suck bad in white water
I find that Greeenland paddles are so lame that when I use them in white water they make me go backwards!

I don’t know what I am doing wrong but they just don’t work for white water.

Or do they?

Here is a video that clearly shows how lame they are in white water:


I blend the two worlds. I own a GP and have learned two or three “common” GP rolls. I like the movement, feel and leverage of the common Greenland roll techniques, but I would much rather use a euro paddle in rough/surf conditions. So when upside down in “combat” conditions, I always extend my euro paddle and use it with a “GP” sweep. I do this in rough water, crashing surf and rock gardens. I don’t know how many other people regularly do this but this “compromise” works great for me.

I love reading these posts
Ever have a favorite old novel and every now and then you re-read it and it’s always good? You know what’s coming but it still good.

Remember when you learned to ride a two wheel bike. Once you learn to stay upright, you’re on your own. Some people end up rock hopping and some stay on the straight paved path.

there you go
A tool cannot adapt unless we make it so. OTOH, we can. Good point.

depends on the instruction and take some
initiative and practice combat rolls with the GP yourself…it will help bring a level of confidence and skill to your ball park. I switch back and forth with my GP and Euro. Used the GP for longer paddles in the wind and against the tide…had to switch the next day to my Euro as i was in bigger rougher seas. Hopefully i can keep my cool and do the combat roll (have not been presented withe situation as of date) no matter the paddle in hand, get the DVD This is the Roll by and watch Turner roll in the surf.

question for you
Postpone until…when? Invariably the issue arises. Why not deal with it in a controlled environment?

IMO setup should be considered in any instruction. But what should also be considered is that setup may occur from many positions.

Postpone until…when?
As soon as they have done several rolls and either in the pool or a calm environment like a flat shallow lake or a large slow river eddy. For some students I go through some orientation exercises (how do you know where you are and how do you get to where you want to go when you are upside down and your eyes are closed) first. Some of our students also take our WW classes and we try to get them to try rolls in current with instructors standing by for a bow rescue.

that sounds right. thanks

– Last Updated: May-22-12 12:51 PM EST –

I liked the promotion of the "setup" because it's a step in the index to a roll. Sort of sets the memory. But once you're in a real-life situation you don't always have that luxury. The approach you describe sounds sensible.

You Talkin’ ta Me?
I’m not cutting down Greenland rolling.