kayak to roll

Not poly
None of the Romanys (or other NDK boats) on ebay are poly:


Close to my size

– Last Updated: Oct-02-06 1:27 PM EST –

I'm 5'4" and maybe a little lighter than you - 135 pounds - but close enough to be helpful. And I first tried learning to roll in a more difficult boat, went to an easier one and realized I'd not been smart about it.

My advice for your size, best possible would be to find someone who can get you into an older river runner (WW boat) sized properly for smaller people. The Pirouette S, a Dagger Piedra, any of these kinds of boats where you don't have to be wedged in but will be farily low around your waist. Your biggest single problem will likely be that most boats will be too tall around your torso to allow you to rotate around and/or lay back (depending on the roll you go for) without hitting the coaming partly through.

If you can't find any of them, sea kayaks that are easy rollers and will give you decent purchase should be the following. See if anyone around you has one -
NDK Romany S (top of my list), regular Romany will do if you can't find that
Impex Mystic (second highest), Force 3 will also do
CD Rumour if you can find one that's been fitted out with real thigh braces
Dropped skeg Necky Elaho if one is around - these things roll like a WW boat, have very aggressive thigh braces. Necky only made this boat for a few years, but among our little fleet it is the only long boat that is sn easier roller than the Romany.
Maybe one of the smaller Betsie Bays? Haven't been in these boats

Maybe others out there that I don't know - point is that you need to start in a boat that has aggressive enough thigh braces which reach over your thighs, low volume and a friendly attitude (will forgive small mistakes). My Vela is in some respects a good fit and rolls easily for example, but personally I still think the Romany is a better learning boat because it more easily forgives mistakes.

PS - If you are talking about a boat to learn to roll in AND have as a boat to own for all your purposes, some of the above might not have the storage you'd want if tripping was in the plans. Izzat part of it? For example the Avocet has more volume and I personally find it to be a pretty easy roller, but I wouldn't have found it so to learn in particualrly if I was two inches shorter.

sounds good
to repeat,the kayak doesn’t roll, you do. Low aft deck kayaks don’t roll. Low aft deck kayaks allow for a wide gyration of torso movement, which is helpful especially if you have a short torso but you can roll with an aft coaming that’s 1" higher. The distance between your back band and the coaming is significant regarding a range of movement for your torso, not just height of the coaming.

Maybe not
Well, maybe it wasn’t a Romany or the kayak wasn’t poly. I paddled it during a group evening paddle.

distance from coamin
Should the distance of the back from the coaming be large? I just installed a new backband on one yak and it seemed to make a positive difference.

Or it could just be that I was watching and copying the instructor (Jen).

Two words…
Low & narrow!

Low in both low volume and low croaming height. And that’s good for more than just rolling.

The lower the volume, the less you need to do to effect it’s behavior. So, the lower the volume, the easier to do just about anything, rolling included. (You give up volumes for carrying camping gear for multi-week camping trips, but you say you’re not planning those)

Any kayak that has low deck (or low croming) will be easier to roll than one that has high croaming. The whole concept of rolling is to first wrap one’s upper body as far to one side of the boat and then flip it (“hip snap”) until it’s wrapped all the way to the other side of the boat! So the lower the croaming and narrower the beam around the cockpit, the easier to reach over the side.

By simply SIT in a kayak, you can easily tell if one kayak is high than the other. Given your height (or the lack of?), your elbow is pretty close to some of the kayak’s high deck. That will lead to a lot of bruised knuckles already. So a low croaming height will be benefitial for more than just rolling.

Narrow + low croaming = low volume. Or vice versa.

If you’re not doing month long expedition camping, there’s no negative to go as narrow and as low as you can find on the market.

As to specific boats, there’s more than just the rolling characteristic to consider. But as far as the low & narrow goes:

Most of the NDK, Valley and Impex boats are all good rollers due to their relative low deck and narrower beam. Other N. American brand has models that imitate that same philosiphy such as the Tempest, Slipstream and Rumour etc.

One of the common responses to your question is “it’s got a low aft coaming, good for rolling” which is like saying “it’s 18’ long, it’s a fast kayak”. It’s a meaningless statement without actually paddling the kayak.

You could compare two totally different kayaks and one has a 1" higher coaming than the other and the “ease of rolling” could be better for a variety of reasons.

Given your height a low aft coaming will be worthwhile,as well as a low foredeck but as an absolute comparison it’s like saying “kevlar kayaks are better”