Is there a roll that will work for me?

With all this talk about rolls I was wondering if there is a roll that I can learn. I’ve tried to roll in kayak school but I have no hip snap. Is there a roll I can execute with plain old brute strength? If so, can you point me to directions on how to do it?


did you check out the clips on the

– Last Updated: Jun-12-05 4:22 PM EST –

Paddler's Place Discussion Board?

If you watch those clips just imagine the knee on the inboard side lifting/driving and the leg of the outboard pushing against the foot peg. Don't think of the "hip snap" as being all hips. If you do what I described your hip will snap. I think a lot of people are trying to do things with just their hips when it really starts at the legs.

I beleive this to be true with most rolls and most equipment. The other day I was doing rolls in a kayak that I couldn't touch the foot pegs, it was very difficult.

Pawlata roll
When I started kayaking, I wanted to learn rolling but I did not succeed. Moreover all my partners told me I could never roll because I had no hip flick.

After 2 years, attending rolling and rescuing lessons in swimming pool, I and 2 other guys decided to learn by ourselves. We did the following :

Bring a waterproofed photocopy of the page of Derek Hutchinson’s Sea Canoeing book showing the pawlata roll.

Bring a noseclip and a mask, so we could check the right position of the paddle, hands and body while attempting rolling.

Believe me or not I succeeded the first try.

At the end of the session the three of us could screw roll both sides.

Of course later on we worked on improving our roll in real conditions, mostly in surf.

Try it and tell us whether it works for you.

Good rolling.

“I have no hip snap” ???
I have yet to meet a student who had “no hipsnap”. I have met many who don’t intuitively do a hipsnap and need some help. A rolling instructor worth their salt can diagnose this and cure it in 10 minutes.

I am one who still has no hip snap
but seem to come up without consciously using one.

Extended Paddle Roll
Almost any roll will involve a degree of hip snap…but there are some requiring less than others.

Like so many, I struggled through lessons and practice sessions trying to perfect a sweep roll. As a paddle surfer, I could guarantee being upside down a lot, so it was imperative I learn some way of getting upright . Frustrated after missing as many sweep rolls as I made, I finally reverted to an extended paddle roll.

Like I said, even this roll requires a certain amount of torque generated from the hips. But the extended paddle seems to provide a greater degree of leverage which allows me place more force on the paddle to execute a roll.

The downside is that it requires more time to set up in that you’re having to reposition your hands to execute this roll. That also means you are releasing your grip on the paddle to do so…not always a good idea when getting tumbled by a big wave. And lastly, it does place more strain on the shoulders.

But bottom line for me is that I can count on this technique when it counts…which is several times during any given surf session. In that immediacy is not usually an issue in a touring kayak, the extended paddle works just fine when I’m in that mode.

What kind of water…
…in a lake you might be able to use a

relatively snapless roll, but if you are in

any kind of froth or whitewater or surf, there

is little for the paddle to get ahold of.

But the term hipsnap is, I think, somewhat misleading. I’ve found it’s more like trying

to knee someone in the groin than a hipsnap.

Mostly lakes and slow rivers…
I just picked up the DVD titled “The Kayak ROLL”

on Ebay. I’m gonna really put an effort into learning to roll. Once I watch this dvd I’m gonna disect each step of the roll at my own pace and I should be fine. One thing I got going for me is that when I’m upsidedown I have no problem staying there for a few seconds to think about what I have to do. Thanks for the tips people. How hard is it to roll a Carolina 16?

rollable but ridiculous to learn to roll
in that. Throw down for the smallest old school white water boat you can fit in (used) learn to roll that, then see if you can roll that carolina. YOu can alway sell the ww boat for aobout what yo paid for it. Besides, once you have good rollling bracing and padding skills you won’t use the carolona for anything but fishing and guests. I would probably have trouble rolling a 25.25 inch boat, and I have not swam out of my explorer for the last 200 capsizes or so. (almost all intentional)

If you are committed, get a boat under 24 inches in beam

ww boats
Not into ww all that much. I use my Torrent SOT. when I want to paddle ww. I’ve seen people roll the Torrent. I’m not sure why your telling me it’s “ridiculous” to try and roll my Carolina 16? Say I’m out in the middle of a huge lake and a flip for whatever reason. Don’t you think it’s more “ridiculous” to swim to shore a half mile than it would be to just roll the damn thing? If the Torrent (which is basicaly a plastic raft) can be rolled I know the Carolina 16 can roll too.

Not ridiculous
I’ve seen newbies roll the Carolina. It’s not a difficult kayak to roll.

I’ll second that…
I bought Derek Hutchinson’s book on Kayak Rolling. He has a Pawlata roll exercise in there that you perform standing on dry land. I did that exercise for about an hour, jumped into my boat and rolled up first time.

Success makes for confidence
If one has a child and wants them to have growing and well founded confidence in themselves, one designs a series of experiences that start with small challenges and produce success and has the child build on those experiences.

Why not do the same for yourself? Start with the easiest boat and easiest roll that suits you with an instructor that does not over teach and has a broad range of experiences with different people and who breaks down the complex skill into bite sized digestible chunks that you can be successful with. Hey guess what happens, you come to look forward to it, frustations are managable, and you finish with excitement. Why not?

After a short period you roll you own boat easily and if it does the things you like to do, you keep it!!!


Worth getting a hip snap
Just a comment - it is worth doing what is necessary to get a hip snap for many parts of your paddling. Rolling isn’t the only place it makes life a lot easier. If you are caught by surprise by a wave, boat wake or high winds and need to brace, you can save yourself from a very deep position of being off balance by combining the brace and the hip snap. And the muscle control for a hip snap helps you manage your boat on edge better, so turning is easier… the list goes on.

As above, not having a hip snap usually doesn’t mean you can’t get one, just that you need to work with someone to find that feeling.

Last night I learned to roll
at a pool session. My regular boat is a CLC Chesapeake 16, but they had me learn in a ww boat. Actually, the ww boat looked like it has a wider beam than my CLC. I think that “hip snap” is a misnomer. It’s more pushing with the knee, like an exagerated edging motion. If you can get your boat on edge, you can “hip flick”.

I think that it would take a really gifted person to get rolling down in one session. By the time that I really had it figured out, I was too tired to pull it off!

Taught Someone To Roll Her Carolina
In about an hour with an extended paddle. Granted that she was very athletic and motivated.


Stykre Roll
There is a variation of a back deck roll that requires no hip snap. It is difficult to describe. If you set up your paddle for a standard screw roll(ie left paddle blade on right deck,torso twisted to right), then carry paddle directly over head and place the back of your head on the back deck. Left paddle blade is now on right rear deck, left arm is in front of your chin and you are looking at the ski. If you then flip and push the paddle directly away from the boat and pull down, you will roll. Key points. Much easier to get into set up when upside down. May have to get your rump out of the seat to get your head on the back deck. Works bests in kayaks with low back decks.

You mentioned you have no hip snap,but are strong. Rolling is not about strength. You need very little force to get up if your body is positioned properly. Anyway give the Styre a try. Toodles,Frogge.

hip snap is not a misnomer
it is indeed a hipsnap. When you start trying all sorts of different rolls with your upper body in varying starting and finishing positions it will become more apparent. The knee however is a good finishing tactic when trying to ensure good hipsnap.

a little clarification…
I can put my yak on edge using my hips with no problem. The reason I said I had no hip snab was because my WW class that I took briefly covered rolling for those of us that wanted to stick around after class. While doing the the drill my partner would hold my hand and I’d lay the boat on it’s side with my face on the water. It was very hard for me to snap myself up from that position. Now granted we only spent like fifteen minutes on this before my partner had to split so I may have not been doing the snap correctly. I’ll work on this and see what I can do.

Two kinds of carolinas, elder brother

– Last Updated: Jun-13-05 8:31 PM EST –

Sing; one at 23 inch beam other is 25.25. MIght be a bit of difference there. Do you know which one she was in? Was it old? I think the 23 ws made a while befor the big one. If you were not howling at the boat I'd bet (small money) it was a 23.

With respect and research, PK