Learning to roll....

are there any helpful hints for me…i have only been out to practice twice and out of both attempts I seem to only be able to stick two…and swim the rest.



Eric Jackson’s DVD
EJs Rolling and Bracing.

all part
of the process/practice. Taking the swim that is. I swam many of times.

You have taken a class I presume?

Have you bought any dvd’s? That seems to help a lot of people, at least to diagnose problem areas. Also, a partner is a big help for telling you what your doing wrong and to be there for a bow rescue so you don’t have to exit.

No lesson…
I have friends who have helped me out a bit but they live 8hrs away so It’s just me for now.

Sounds Like You Are Close
You could find a closer friend who is willing to help but may not nessasarily know how to roll. I had my seventeen year old son help me once I was close and he was easily able to keep me from swimming and allow more productive practice.

Happy Paddling,


Start out in shallow water …
if that is available. Then when you miss you can brace off the bottom to get up. Otherwise teach someone to do the hand of god rescue. When you don’t make it they can flip you up. Swimming is very tiring and when you get tired your roll deteriorates and you learn bad habits. DVD’s are fine. But nothing substitutes for good roll instruction. For most people it is very difficult to learn by yourself (although many have done that). You might give a look at Jay Babina’s DVD First Roll, which is oriented toward learning without an instructor. Otherwise the best self learning DVD is Eric Jackson’s.

I like Derek Hutchinson’s Guide to
Eskimo Rolling. In this book he demonstrates a dryland based exercise that teaches you the Pawlata Roll. Practice on land for an hour or so and it easily translates into a roll on the water. Gives you the confidence to build from there. I found it a big plus to be able to miss a roll, setup a Pawlata, roll up and try again without having to wet exit.

Ditto Eric Jackson’s rolling and bracing

– Last Updated: Jun-13-06 10:39 PM EST –

DVD, it's what helped me the most.
It's oriented toward Whitewater kayaking and getting a combat roll which is where you want to be.

To add to what’s already been said. It can be very helpful to have someone with a digital cam record video of your roll so you can review and see where you keep fcking up. My gf recorded me rolling once, i came up all 3 tries but upon review i realized only one was GOOD, the other 2 i fcked up something(head-out first, generally rushed and messy rolls)

enjoy rolling
enjoy feeling every bit of it and take your time, (good advice for many things).

Advice to me fron one of the Walden Pond scum as I was about where you are.

DVD for canoe rolling?
1) Anybody know of a good DVD or VCR tape for rolling canoes?

2) Foot pegs or toe loops? What are the pros and cons?

I got my roll going in the pool. Now I need to make it work on moving water.


Jay H

where do you live?

I’ll second that.
Derek Hutchinson’s book, “Eskimo Rolling”, depicts more variations of rolls than most will ever likely need.

After a full season of pretty serious practicing, I’ve finally started nailing my Short Pawlata rolls this spring, so I’m far from being bombproof and perhaps shouldn’t even be giving advice. But let me say from personal experience that any knucklehead with a couple of decent books, a pair of swim goggles and a paddle float, and some dedicated practice time can learn to roll.

I started by using a half-inflated paddle float on one blade to slowly roll deeper and deeper into the water while bracing on that blade, before hip-snapping back upright. Soon enough I was completely inverted and half-rolling back up. This is a very easy and safe way to work on one’s hip-snap, which is the crucial component of most all rolls. As others have said, doing so in shallow water allows you to brace off the bottom to recover from a failed roll if needed, though with a paddle float installed that should be unnecessary.

Once bored with that, I began gradually deflating the paddle float, essentially raising the training wheels on my bike, until I was finally able to cast the float aside and do it ‘naked’, using a Short Pawlata (the offside hand gripping the shaft just below the offside blade, the on-side hand located near the middle of the shaft).

Though very close to the normal paddling hand position, the Short Pawlata still does require a bit of set-up, so I’m now working on migrating my hands closer and closer to their usual positions, at which point I guess I’ll be doing a standard C-to-C roll, then start working on a Screw or Sweep.

Though I almost certainly could have progressed further and faster under an instructor, frugality and stubbornness won out, so I spluttered up the hard way and learned completely from Hutchinson’s and a couple other books.

Stop now before you can’t escape! After getting one side reliable on the flats there is the other side, rolling when dog tired with a loaded boat, with a GP, without anything, in surf, in tidal races and I am sure I’ve missed a whole pile of situations that’ll turn a roll into a wet exit. The potential for sheepish looks and frustration/embarassment just never ends.

Just kidding (I think). Point is, getting some and missing some is likely to be a normal event as you up the ante on how much support and how challenging a set of conditions you are doing this in. So don’t get overly set off by whatever is going on now - as you proceed in your kayaking you’ll be going thru this over and over again. And I doubt anyone on this board, roller or not, would have as slow an incremental gain as I tend to.

I live in NE PA…near the Delaware…

I appreciate it…I remember how put off I was first learning to snowboard…but like this the gratification I get from the small amout of nice ones I land takes over and keeps me pushing to get better and better…

newbie question
My wife and I are about to buy a Tempest 170 and a Tempest 165.

We’ll do some practice rolling in a warm lake, shallow water one at a time with the other helping out (got to learn to walk before trying to run!).

Seems to me we’ll need spray skirts (or something like that) to keep the cockpits relatively dry. Any recommendations? TIA

Three suggestions
1) Neoprene skirts. Anything with a non-stretchy deck will pull off the side the minute you start twisting around.

2) Work with a coach, at least to start. It’ll make things go a lot more calmly, faster, and it’ll be a safer environment than just the two of you if you find out (surprise!) that one of you has a very bad response to being upside down.

3) Don’t expect any particular rate of success, like getting two out of three within two lessons. You’ll get it when you get it, and the journey will be as useful as getting the roll itself.

Two More Suggestions:
1. As soon as you can roll most of the time, try rolling in conditions (wind, waves, surf). Otherwise, you may develop into what I call a “parlor trick” roller, only able to roll in flat water (completely useless).

2. When you do get capsized in conditions, attempt to roll, even if you don’t think it will work. I know some people who are good at rolling in flat water, but when they capsize in a real situation, they instantly wet exit, without even attempting to roll. You may not roll up every time, but at least put in some effort, and then you will get better and better at it.