It's pool time again. So it's Roll time!

Now that the water outside is pose to freeze, it’s time to head to the pool…

I’ve been told my roll is a “blend” of C-2-C and a sweep roll. Interesting thing is, I was taught a C-2-C and never quite know what a sweep roll is or what the REAL differences are. (I know, I know, as long as you come up!) Still…

So, what’s a sweep roll and what’s a C-2-C roll? Or how do you tell if you’re watching someone rolling? Or when YOU are doing it?

Just really curious…

Heard this a lot

– Last Updated: Dec-12-09 10:00 AM EST –

I hear this too, at least about the roll with a Euro. I am not sure how much it matters though. I tend to sweep to about a 90 degree point or somewhere a bit short of that, then go for the hip snap and up quickly. So I often don't end up sweeping back much beyond that. When I sin it is often pulling down on the paddle rather than continuing the sweep or hip snapping well enough, thus lifting my head a bit soon. So I kinda don't do either finish quite right. (On my right anyway, the left tends to be a different animal.) The tendency to rely on the pulling down got a serious slap over this last summer, when I went to a smaller blade.

The reason I am not sure how much it matters is that these errors could occur regardless of how I intended to get to that 90 degree angle from the boat.

An person who worked with me early on tried to teach me the CtoC they had learned from WW decades ago. That had a big explosive move out and away from the boat to deploy the full hip snap and paddle support to get up, then finishing coming center to a bit forward. At one point a couple of seasons ago I could actually do this pretty consistently in at least one of my boats. But I found it to be a Hail Mary kind of roll - everything had to happen in such a unified motion and so quickly that it was pretty binary. It worked or it was a da-whup, no middle ground. Starting in more of a sweep seemed to be an easier habit. (and handles a less-supple day more easily)

Near as I Can Tell
with a C to C the paddle is out at 90 degrees to the boat then you pull straight down while you ‘lap snap’ up.

I always thought of a sweep as when you press down on the paddle well before 90 degrees. I also always thought the sweep was less ‘snappy’ and finished better if you were looking up at the sky at the end.

For me, there are only two basic rolls; snappy ones where the boat is righted mostly by the thigh, and snapless where the boat is righted mostly by the blade.

abc, if you have access to a GP try leaning back and doing a high brace. As you do it push the paddle down and forward at the same time. It provides incredible lift. That little forward/down push can give you a never-fail roll.

You’re normal
Most people do a basic roll of the type you’re describing – what I like to call a “Sweep-to-C”.

There’s a few reasons for it, mostly high rear coamings in many sea kayaks that prevent the paddler from truly laying back, and the old whitewater mentality that it’s good to get back up as fast as possible.

A true c-to-c roll is basically an extreme high brace. The paddle doesn’t touch the water until it’s 90 degrees out, and the paddler executes the roll with a single explosive motion.

The sweep roll begins at the gunwhale with the paddle sweeping across the surface generating lift that the paddler uses as a solid object to roll their body and boat up to. A really good sweep roll should be slower, effortless, and the paddler optimally ends up laying back on the rear deck at the end of the roll if possible.

Now in a real situation, any roll that works is a good one. Take the time to fine tune the one you have, and experiment with variations, but don’t trash it because it’s not “pure” – if it works, that’s all good.

I was told
the same thing… mine was a combination of CtoC and sweep.

But to me, the sweep starts the hip snap and roll up before the paddle reaches 90 degrees out. My C to C will have the exact same movement in the set up and moving the blade out across the surface then I hip snap at fully extended at 90. My sweep roll has a quicker sweep and is snappy and my head finishes forward, which is preferable to finish forward than laying back. In the open water my C to C is still more effective.

Check out these videos

Screw roll

– Last Updated: Dec-12-09 9:54 AM EST –

What's being called the sweep roll is often called the screw roll because you corkscrew up your body along with the sweeping action.

There's infinite variations to all of this. The C to C is usually a strict hip snap roll. It's named because you are bent forward in a "C" position and you enter the water and to finish with the same posture on the other side. It's not forward leaning like the Greenland rolls but your neck is bent forward which allows for a stronger hip snap. If a meter was attached to your boat in a hip snap contest - for power, you would find yourself with your head leaning forward crunching your abs to get the most power.

Many people do a basic sweep and finish with the lay back position as Wayne described. What would that be? Perhaps a screw back roll? Or a C to Z. And if you blow the roll, it's a C to sea.

body movement
You can also think of the difference between these two rolls in terms of what the body does.

In a screw or sweep, the body starts wound up to one side (right shoulder to left knee) and unwinds about the waist until the right shoulder is on the right rear gunwhale. A little like doing a trunk-twist exercise in gym class.

In a pure C to C, you set up making a “C” shape between left shoulder and left hip, and snap quickly to the opposite side, finishing with you right shoulder to hip making a C-shape. You’re going from bent over sideways one way to bent over sideways the other way. I think that roll requires an odd type of flexibility that many don’t have. It also has to be a quicker action, which is harder in heavy sea kayaks, which roll slower. Easier in little fat ww boats, IMO.

I was told my sweep roll was a great C-to-C.

I think the “official” difference has to do more with when the boat starts rotating and where the paddle is when you come up. With a sweep the boat starts rotating as soon as you start moving the paddle out towards 90 degrees. With a C-to-C it stays flat until you get there. With a sweep the paddle may continue back past 90 but with a C-to-C it stays more or less there (water dynamics can change a lot of things).

If you were to start with a sweep that is more or less like the one taught in the Kayak Roll DVD where you end up rotated with the blade back past 90, and then work at it until you are coming up faster and easier, then you would be up by 90 degrees. And in my mind there is no reason to keep sweeping if you are upright;-)

Just another reason not to get too hung up on names.

Barely feel the paddle effort
This is not an official definition by any means, but when I do a good sweep roll, the paddle is almost an afterthought. Mostly, body motion is rolling the boat upright. It has a floaty feel. No sudden hipsnap.

I don’t like C-to-C because it clearly feels like paddle and arms are levered, however briefly.

OK, the reason I ask…
I’m one such freak I can isolate my body movement (to a degree).

  1. With my sweep-to-C, I don’t start un-coiling the body during the sweep forward of 90 degree. But I can see the boat, with me on it’s side, starts to roll simply as a result of the paddle sweep. Then the hip snap finish.

    For my sweep-to-C to work WELL, I found I need to hug the boat with my upper body till I’m ready to hip snap. Early un-coiling tend to have the effect of reducing the hip snap range.

  2. On a 10 minute session, a friend got me to do a sweep all the way back to the rear deck. I got up with my body facing almost all the way toward the stern (upright, not laying on the rare deck).

    For the sweep to work, I found it work best to un-coil my upper body and actively work my knee to push the boat over as soon as I start the sweep.

    So to me, the two requires slightly different emphasis of body motion:

    a) If I want to do a sweep roll and un-coil my upper body as soon as I sweep, I lost a bit of the range to do hip snap. So “changing” from a screw to a sweep-to-C midway through doesn’t work too well.

    b) But if I don’t un-coil early, sweep all the way back don’t always get me up!

    In other words, even though both start with a sweep, the body movement aren’t quite the same. Does that make sense? Anybody else have similar experience?

to me
your description of how you did a sweep (ending facing the back of your boat, chest upright) doesn’t sound like what I understand as a typical sweep roll.

To me, the sweep consists of setting up with shoulders facing the sky, alongside the boat, and then rotating the torso, but keeping the shoulders facing the sky the whole time, until you finish with the shoulders on the back deck - still facing the sky.

Tough thing to describe in text.

And …
… at this same link, check out the Twist & Slice roll identifier (if I recall the name right). That works exceedingly well in my short WW boat for me. Should not be confused with a sweep roll - the paddle in the “slice” does not do much lifting, really and there is barely any push down at the end. When done properly, the paddle slices flat (no “lifting angle” as in a sweep) and works just as well with half paddle as it does with a double-blade -:wink:

That, would be a laid-back roll…
…according to the link Dr. Drico provided above.

I’ve heard it more commonly called laid-back roll.

(Although I can begin to see the confusion of “names”. In the white water world where I’m learned my rolling, “back deck” is usually the name for the rodeo roll)

If you learn and practice the layback
…you may find that the other variations become better. That’s what happened with me.

This summer while taking a class at Body Boat Blade, I was wearing a towbelt (new item for me, and part of the training). Decided to roll and the towbelt kept me from coming up as expected in a full layback. However, I still rolled up–in the perfect The Kayak Roll style. Didn’t think about it, it just happened when the towbelt restricted my backward motion. Moved the towbelt so that the bulk was in front of waist instead of in back, and then did a layback roll. Don’t get too hung up on the names or where the distinctions between them are.

reminds me
Out in the ocean the other day, my sweep ended up being forced on the off side… I think what I forgot to do, ( and you and Jay reminded me) was to hip snap while I’m leaning forward early on in the sweep. I just started doing the sweep a few months ago and haven’t had enough practice to isolate it from the C to C, but like how snappy and effortless it can be.

Got it both!

– Last Updated: Dec-14-09 12:31 AM EST –

So today was pool day...

Having seen the video of the link above, I decided to work on a "pure" sweep roll, as defined there. (the definition echos with my experience so I'm taking it as a good one)...

Then, someone was making a very poor attempt at a C-2-C and failing miserably. Watching it, it suddenly occured to me what she was doing wrong was what I was doing wrong too!

As if reading my mind, the person doing the teaching asked me to demonstrate a C-2-C. I knew EXACTLY what I should be doing instead of what I've been doing with my "hybrid roll". I decided to simply start with the paddle at 90 degree and clearly out of the water. Came up just as easy! Was told by the instructor it was a "good demo" (of C-2-C)!

It's been a while that I actually attempt a pure C-2-C. It felt good to re-acquired it. I felt a lot more aware of my body and boat position during the whole process of the roll.

The sweep roll did feel pretty smooth and quite effortless. No hip snap required. Probably easier on the body in the long run. Though for now, I'll continue to pratice BOTH.

So now I feel I can clearly isolate the different body movement of the two different roll and blend them as I see fit.

Thanks everybody for the help! :o)

I feel differently.

– Last Updated: Dec-13-09 10:54 PM EST –

"Don't get too hung up on the names or where the distinctions between them are."

For someone still working on acquiring a roll at all, yes, any roll that get them up is a good roll. But for someone already got a reasonably solid roll, it's time to UNDERSTAND the action and reaction of body and boat movement.

There're more than one way to bring the boat back up. I don't see the different "standard rolls" as a limitation of what we can do or must do. But see them more as a rough outline of the major differences in those "ways" that would bring the boat up. Once a roller understands the DIFFERENCE of two rolls, it's much easier to blend them to suit the situation.

There're always two roles rolling pratice plays: One is to bring the boat back up if one is to capsize, which gets most of the focus. The other is to learn to be aware of the body and boat position when the the boat is not sitting flat on the water. The second fucntion of rolling don't usually get the roll pratitioners' attention as much. I personally think that's just as important. That's where I see the different rolls come in, as a way to learn body/boat awareness.

I want to thank everybody who chimed in. It helped me a lot in the process.

When I’m in the pool, I try to learn a variety of specific rolls, and even some “trick” rolls, that I’ll never use in an accidental capsize. My idea is that it just makes me more comfortable underwater, and makes coming up that much more automatic.

But once I’m on the water I’m not doing a full layback, or a full c-c, or a shotgun, or a butterfly. I’m just rolling. I think it’s easier because I’ve worked on all those others, but once you’re rolling with ease, I don’t think it’s too important exactly what form your personal roll takes, just so it’s effective and efficient.

"I got up with my body facing almost all the way toward the stern"

I think you’ve invented the Gumby Roll.