Need to learn Rolling 101

I need to learn to roll my newly acquired Waveski. I paddled it once this weekend and attempted around a dozen rolls but failed as you would likely expect.

To the regular rollers here, do you know of any particularly useful learn-to-roll resources? I figure a board is likely more difficult to roll than a traditional kayak, but the fundamentals are more or less the same.

I now see the necessity of a noseclip too :slight_smile:

Do I recall from another post that you can’t roll a whitewater or touring kayak?

Correct, never rolled anything before. Never had a traditional sea kayak. Only Canoes and Surfskis in my repertoire to date

I’ve never seen a waveski up close. When you are all strapped in/on, how fast can you get unstrapped to do a “wet exit”?

Fairly quickly. Mine has a lap belt with a quick release handle. As you’re strapped in, grab the handle at 9:00 and yank it to 3:00 and it releases. My feet are also in a strap.
I just practiced in flat water and it was easy. In breaking waves rolling around, I imagine its much harder, but thats a ways in the future.

I lost track of where you are. Pool sessions are already scheduled around me, a couple before Christmas. Can you find any around you?

I’m pretty new to kayaks, so I’m a poor one to comment on rolling. I can’t imagine that the waveski would be that much different than a lay back roll.

I was in a kayak for the first time a couple of months ago. I rented one to go down the little local river for 6 miles, got addicted, and found a used WS Tempest 170. I got a few hours of paddling in it when I found myself paddling in 30 mph winds, on the wrong end of the lake. I realized how easy it would have been for me to capsize, so I told myself I needed to learn how to roll.

First, I was nervous about being able to wet exit. So I went through the motions of ejecting myself on land. When I felt pretty confident in my ability to wet exit, I went back to the lake to do some real wet exits. (I was more than just a little nervous, didn’t have anyone to go with me). My first wet exit, I think I was reaching for the strap on my skirt before my head went under water. After 5 or 6 wet exits, I had calmed down enough to stay upside down for the count of 10 before I got out. I wasn’t planning on trying a roll that day, but next I did. I think I bobbed my head out of the water 3 times gasping for breath before I gave up and got out. I think I tried it 3 or 4 more times, each time, bringing the boat back to shore to empty it back out. As I sat there, trying to understand what I was doing wrong, something in my head clicked. I realized that if I swept back with the paddle, it would keep my angled up somewhat. While I was sweeping back, with the paddle keeping me close to the surface, if I lifted up hard with my bottom knee, I could right the boat, then worry about me getting up after that.

When I went to do it, I paused, upside down, confirming that my paddle was near the surface, running through in my mind what I intended to do. Sweep back with a slightly angled blade, as soon as I started to sweep, pull up as hard as I could with my bottom knee, and keep the sweep going until I had my back flat on the deck. When it was time to go, everything went perfect, up until I popped up much faster than I expected, and went back over the other side… before I could get a breath of air. Next one slowed down, worked good.

I thought I had everything dialed in, but I found myself missing some rolls from time to time. I was missing them when I was exhausted from paddling. I hired an instructor to come out to see what I was doing wrong. Turns out, when I’m exhausted, I try to break down my steps, to doing my sweep and my knee lift in two separate operations. Now, after I’ve done a few hundred rolls, every once in a while I’ll still find myself doing that. Instead of a wet exit, I shake my head at myself, regroup, and do it all together.

Couple of pretty dumb things I did. First, I did it along, in hindsight, I should have looked harder for someone to come out with me. Second, I should have hired the instructor first…

Not sure if there is anything useful at all in that… But thats how I learned.

The rounder it is, the easier it is to get started rolling. Think of a log in the water.

Your Waveski is pretty flat. It will take some tecnique to roll it rather than climb back on. Might go fastest if you can find someone to help teach you, and can spot what you are doing.

Sing replied to you in another post. I agree with his comment there - go to a pool and learn to roll a white water or sea kayak (whatever the instructor uses). Once you have that roll down, work on how it is different for a wave ski. I only know one person who learned to roll without instruction. Can be done, but is rare.

But he also said just go out and surf it and be ready to wet exit and then remount. I had a Cobra Strike, which is kind of a mix between sit on top and wave ski, and that was what I did.

For what little I know about wave skis as compared to a touring or whitewater kayak - they have flat bottoms, you sit in a different position (more like a surf ski - knees up, not splayed out), and you sit higher up as compared to the water than a sit inside kayak. I think the amount of flotation in the boat is very different - I believe there is less behind you than the other boats. All vary the roll a bit.

Your waveski purchase and photos sort of suggest you’re in SoCal. If so, the UCLA aquatics program has a monthly pool rolling session taught by some great folks. Also kayak polo, sea kayaking, etc.

I was trying to imagine how this could be done so I did some searches. This guy seems to have covered all the steps and has some good explanation and many views of the body position and steps in the movement. I imagine that one of the most important aspects, as with most rolls, is not bringing your head forward too soon:

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Sounds like a great learning process.

One thing I’ve found works for a lot of folks is to start by working on an upright sculling draw to move the boat sideways. The sculling motion - moving the paddle in a straight line parallel to the side of the boat, with the leading edge angled slightly away from the hull - draws the boat sideways.

Once that’s mastered, they can start placing the paddle further from the boat with the shaft angled, and start putting weight on the blade - essentially going into a sculling brace (a longer slower cadence is best for this). As they master that, they can extend the paddle further from the boat and begin to lean back, still using the sculling motion.

Pretty soon, they’re able to do a sculling brace, laying on their back deck, with the paddle shaft almost parallel with the surface of the water. Now comes the fun - they simply slide off the back deck into the water while sculling and then back up.

Here’s where CharlieK’s description of using the legs to keep the boat leaning away from comes in. By pulling up with the leg on the side they’re sliding to (if sliding right, pull up with the right leg and push with the left leg), they can keep the boat falling away from them, not on top of them. Helps with floatation and rolling up.

Once they can slide off and on, they’re pretty much there - it’s a matter of letting themselves sink further into the water, then sculling back up.

This works because the sculling motion remains consistent throughout the process. And if it’s mastered, then even if the first is blown, you can fall back, scull to the surface, catch your breath and then finish - it doesn’t have to be all one step.