offside roll

Ok, I’m finally at the point where I’ve developed a reliable strong side roll, however, in attempting the offside, It feels incredibly foreign to me…

much like trying to swing a baseball bat left handed…

I knew it was going to feel this way, but I just can’t seem to break the odd feeling and successfully roll on my offside.

It even feels like I can’t “wrap up” in my set up properly like I do on my strong side. I feel like a total gimp.

Do other people have these problems and what could I do to help? Back to the basics for that side???

Please help…



I’m right handed
so my offside roll is with the left hand as the outboard or control hand.Yes it feels weird,I have trouble getting the paddle as close to the surface,I don’t seem to have as much strength or control so it is always a slow sweep with only a 90 percent success ratio,however it can be powerful enough to windowshade me sometimes suggesting lack of control.

I just keep practising,one recent poster said to go out and today is just offside day…good idea.


I wish I could help
but I have the same problem my off side as about 30% right now, Ouch.

Same for me
I was a total spaz on the other side, but it came much quicker than I’d have though possible after the first few attempts. I still have a long way to go to even things up - and I suspect it will always feel a little different - but I can come up on that side pretty reliably now (calm water practice anyway). It falls apart much quicker on that side as I tire too.

Keep at it. With a strong onside it’s very easy to practice. Definitely do go back to basics (breifly). Really focus on setup (make sure it’s an exact mirror). It may come quickly, it may take time. Remember, you have NO muscle memory on that side. Mentally knowing how is never enough.

Do every day stuff with your left
hand that you would normally do with your right, not just rolling. My dad is Ambidextrous and some of that rubbed off on me so it was kind of natural after a bit of practice.

Break It Back Down To The Basics
isolate the hipsnap and then have a spotter guide your the blade as you sweep. Try the dryland practice in your boat too if you don’t have a ready spotter. On the water practice, go immediately to the offside roll as the first attempt before going to the onside roll for the back up.

I did so much offside practice that it became my onside and my initial onside became the offside. I have about the same success on either side, it’s just that when I capsize (alot in white water and surf) that I instinctively go right to what was the offside (left).


Get somebody to step you through it…
… while standing in the water.

Get a friend who rolls, knows the same roll you are using, and is reasonably observant about such things.

Holding your paddle blade, they make sure you have the paddle set up right. Then they move the paddle to C2C position with your body positioned properly. Then, on signal, you execute the hip snap and roll, using some menmonic from your onside roll – I would use driving the head down toward the upper arm of the outboard side. But you should model whatever works for you onside.

Of course, the assistant should watch your onside roll and try to mimic that offside as well.

A couple of times like this should get the proper muscle memory and orientation memory started, and then it will come easy. At least, it worked for me. With a little practice, my “offside” roll actually surpassed my “onside” roll, since I bypassed a couple of bad habits that I had picked up learning the onside.

Oh, yes, if you’re not doing C2C, then obviously do whatever you do.


Thanks for the advice…

I am actually using a C 2 C roll so I think it may have been a combination of things for my offside…(left hand on the outside).

I think I wasn’t getting my right hand over the hull as deep as I do with my strongside and when I swept out to 90 degrees, I wasn’t driving my head down as hard as I do on the other side.

Also, when I began the hipsnap and brace, it seemed like my paddle blade was diving horribly…I use a feathered blade and I tried to orient the blade properly before sweeping but it still seemed to dive…

Oh well, more practice I guess.

Like others have said, I’ll give it a few attempts on my weak side and if I fail, I just switch and roll back up on my good side…

I’ve just begun working on my offside as well and it sure does feel foreign. I’m working on a sweep/screw roll and paddle is diving as well. I normally use a feathered blade. I knew offside would feel different, so I started to practice with an unfeathered blade. At least I know when the blade is parallel to the water. I have successfully rolled one time in a pool on my offside with the unfeathered paddle - never made it yet with the feathered blade. Haven’t had a chance to work on it recently, but plan to start up again soon. I would suggest working with an unfeathered blade until the other parts come, then switch to the feathered blade when you have the rest down and can concentrate on blade orientation. Good luck!


I was very skeptical about
. . . rolling my kayak in the backyard as discussed in this thread:

Yet, when I tried it, I find it a really good way to ingrain my set up “feel” and roll initiation moves on both sides. I could spend plenty of time in my set up position and know exactly what it felt like when it was correct.

One particular problem (among the many that keep my roll less than bombproof) for me was rotating my brace so that my chest was facing the water as I was trying to come up. I found practicing in the grass a good way to begin to break that bad habit as well.

when i watch folks on the side fail
it is usually the head coming up to quickly just like on the on side…what helped me was to bite the left shoulder strap (right is my on side) throughout the roll thus keep the head down until the end.

Same Here…
My offside roll is not as reliable as my onside or strong side roll. I feel totally uncoordinated when attempting one. What works for me, so far, is to shut out how it feels and just concentrate on performing the various moves.


going with the flow
When I started learning how to roll (C to C) I was told by the instructors (some WW) that it was important to have an offside roll because when your caught in a situation…either WW or in a sea kayak in the surf, you’ll find sometimes your strong side won’t work…I always thought, oh well, for a sea kayak, as long as I have a strong side roll…I should be ok…

That was until we were out practicing in lake close by just before one of our recent storms hit and practicing in the rough part of the lake quickly changed my mind. I was in a position where I wasn’t rolling with the flow of the water and I struggled terribly to get up on my strong side and failed on several attempts.

Now I know how important that offside will be for me in the future…

Different roll?
I had the same problem trying to move my C-to-c to my off side. What finally worked was learning a different roll on the off side – in my case, the sweep that’s taught in “The Kayak Roll” video. That semed to break the mental barrier, and I can now do both styles on both sides.

Make the off the on
Although each of us have different degress of differential dexterity (yikes Batman) suspend your mental discouraging thoughts immediately. Yes there MAY be limits in learning on one side that are not on the other, but

UNTIL you have practiced in the same componnent ways AS MANY TIMES and with the SAME support, positive thoughts, etc. as the other side it is wrong to conclude that it is harder to learn it than the first.

It is so so human to keep practicing the things that we have confidence in and neglect those we don’t. My mentor constantly has me focusing on those things that DO NOT COME EASILY as a way of refining purity of form on all moves.

Enjoy what we have,


I would work on sculling and bracing
on your offside first. Try bracing deeper and deeper until you’re capsized and then work towards fully capsizing on the same side as you come up on. Then work on doing the full 360 degrees.

This method worked for me.

I tried once
I tried working on my offside once, my mind was sooooo confused with the onside/offside that I also missed the onside roll and had to wet exit.

I think I could put it together with some practice but I’m still hiding behind the thought that the offside roll is only necessary for WW.

I wouldn’t count on that fact mario
the offside thing has come in mighty handy many times when out sea kayaking. When dealing with other kayaks, oncoming waves, and rocks.

With waves coming in from the beam if you roll up downwave you are fairly likely to wind up capsized again if you don’t roll up into the waves.

While paddling with other folks, if you end up capsizing while trying to rescue someone else for instance, (its happened to the best of us…!) better to be able to roll up offside if the kayak you were trying to rescue is on your onside. see what I mean.

Sea kayaking can have the same rocks and obstacles as ww, so don’t depend on anything.

I know you are right kwikle
that’s why I’m hiding :wink:

I think I’ll enjoy my onside roll a little longer before going back to the failures.

Change "Mindset…"
it’s not about “failures” but challenges. Generally, I think once someone has an on-side roll, there is no reason to not get an offside roll… Except folks rather bask in success than possible failure. So they keep working over and over an onside roll that needs no more working.

To me what comes easy, is not all that interesting. It’s what challenges me that consumes my mental and physical occupation. In most most activities I do, I work and work those who train with me on ambidexterity since this involves (re)wiring the brain and the physical skills. This is what I find interesting.