kayak to roll

One of my 2007 resolutions is to learn to roll. I would like suggestions as to which model kayak would be easiest for me to roll. I am 5ft 2in with a 15 in torso, but I am not light - my weight is between 140 to 150lbs. I’m comfortable paddling a 21 3/4" beam yak. I don’t plan on building my own kayak until 2008:)

Learning to Roll -SoCal

– Last Updated: Oct-01-06 1:20 AM EST –

If you are in Southern California sign up for a class with Aqua-Adventures or Contact Jeff Laxier

Pretty soon the San Diego Kayak Club does pool sessions each week for Polo at the Poway Community Pool. Part of the pool is not used for Polo and you can practice rolling. Get Eric Jackson's Rolling and Bracing Video and teach yourself. People at the pool sessions can spot you and give you advice.

Everynow and then you can find old school whitewater boats very cheap on Craigslist. The rounded hulls are very easy to roll. Easier to find a low volume play boat used. If I were you I would choose something you could learn to use in the surf. It's fairly easy to find old Necky Jives, Rips, Bliss etc which are easy to roll. You might just consider learning to roll whatever boat you have, in the long run that's the boat you need to roll.

pool class
Took a class with Jen today and plan on taking more pool classes. I’m waiting for the summer whitewater class schedules to be up to. But what I’m looking for now is a sea kayak to roll.

Not an expert on SeaKayaks but …
as long as it’s a real seakayak, fairly narrow and without some sort of wierd hull, most are easy to roll, a low back deck makes for an easy roller for me. Ask Jen what to go for she’s the best source of info in SD. Just get a boat that’s going to fit what you are doing, if you are going to do lots of expeditions etc, then a larger boat might be a bit dicey to roll at first, but Jen can teach you.

lots of choices
I bought my Tempest-165 in part because it was easier to roll than my Looksha IV. An Avocet is another good choice. People say the Outer Island rolls very nicely. Maybe an Elaho.

I’d get a kayak you like to paddle that is reasonably easy to roll (no really high deck or high seat back and not too wide).

Many philosophies and opinions …
you will need to find what works best for you.

I learned on what many might say is a more difficult boat to roll - one that I could not lay back on the stern deck. It was also loosely fitted on me which most people will say makes it difficult to learn with. For instance, my body would slide about two-three inches from side to side across the seat when I was learning to roll. I still learned a roll relatively quickly and had my first roll at the end of my second or third session. Since learning on this boat I have had no trouble rolling any boat I have tried, approximately 25 different models thus far. This worked really well for me.

Several friends I paddle would have struggled learning to roll in the manner I did. They learned to roll in boats with lower stern decks and that were padded out more (thigh and hips) to lock them in place. They have since developed very good rolls and can roll most any boat as well.

These are just two examples. My point is that everyone learns in their own way, they take their own approach to learning. There is no one right boat or method, although some boats are certainly easier to roll than others. A good instructor will figure out how you learn things and will work with you and your boat/equipment to find a roll that works for you. It might be a layback, sweep/screw, EJs bracing roll, extended paddle or some other type.

I would try with what you have or possibly even try to learn on a whitewater boat, rather than seeking out some other boat that may or may not work better for you. IMO, it’s best to learn to roll what you intend to paddle. Good luck!


I’ve told Jen in the past that she is not much of a saleswoman:) I’m sure she’d attempt to teach me to roll in any yak. But, on the other hand, this board is usually full of opinions…

easy to roll?
I do an extended paddle, greenland roll, so an easy-to-roll boat for me is one with a low back deck and low volume. The necky elaho is incredibly easy to roll, and so is the BBK valkyrie. The QCC 600 has a high back deck, and it seems to resist my particular roll a bit, but not too much. The tempest 170 is far too big for me to roll easily, but the 165 isn’t bad. Big, tub-like boats take more effort to roll (with my roll anyway) than well-fitted, low volume, boats.

Check out the used boat options in your area, and try to find one that you don’t swim inside. Most sea kayaks seem far too big for women your size. Have fun!

Whatever boat you can paddle in
If it fits you and is properly outfitted then you can learn to roll it with competent instruction. The boat makes almost no difference. This is not only my opinion. It is the opinion of lots of instructors, including Eric Jackson. So, your first choice is what boat you intend to use. Your second is outfitting. Your third is which instructor. Now days if an instructor cannot get you rolling in one session (or at most two) move on.

any kayak you fit in is good to roll
it’s you, not the boat. Do you have a budget?

instructor, etc
As posted, I will be learning from an excellent instructor, however, I have negative athletic ability and almost as little skill in fixing things, so do it yourself outfitting is an issue.

From what I’ve read here, it would probably be easier to learn with a boat without a rudder or high seat back or wide beam. If the kayak were to have a second function other than rolling, it would be to go whale watching - my goal for June 2007.

No spouse, no budget worries. And ok, to properly re-word my question - Which model kayak would best fit me for rolling and half day coastal paddles?

P&H Vela
CD slipstream, CD Rumour, do you have a preference for ruddered/skegged? What are you familiar with?

CD boats
I prefer nothing, then a skeg, and haven’t used a rudder yet (but I have boats with rudders.)

I’ve tried and liked poly CD boats, almost ordered a Rumor, but I couldn’t resist the “SUKA”. I thought it should be about right for me, (hehe) I expect delivery next month.

NDK Romany
IMHO, for your size there is no better boat for developing any/all skills - especially rolling.

With a Romany it’s easy, easy, easy…

I’ve paddled a Romany (poly). It just didn’t do anything for me. But that would solve the problem of buying a boat - I’ll just ask the instructor to bring one to pool practice!

On the other hand, there are two for sale on Ebay right now…

you’ve already ordered a skua?

I ordered a Suka in magenta for fun. ( Traded in a tandem, so that means I have to replace it with two boats, right?) Not a Skua -

Anyway, the Suka might roll, it’s a new design though.

I wasn’t aware that Romanys were available in poly. How long have they been around?


Poly Romany?

– Last Updated: Oct-02-06 5:42 AM EST –

There has been talk of a poly Romany for some time, but as of the last word I got it is still on the drawing board.

BTW a Romany and Elaho DS are among the easiest of production sea kayaks to roll and with which to develop skills.