Okay Rollers, when was your last swim?

Other than ww, and ironically enough, an informal roll contest years ago, I haven’t swam out of a sea kayak since year one. Includung surf, storm, or anything. Not that I’m a paddle stud (far from it) but like Carl Mathers said only seconds after his first successful combat roll on a circumnavigation of North Manitou Island in big snotty conditions, “Damned if it don’t work!”

The last time wet exiting a sea kayak was during a contest to hit the most rolls in 60 seconds. After almost making myself sick, I found I was good for about 30 seconds (13 rolls with a paddle) then at about 45 seconds I began to get too discombobulated. Out I came. All I remember about the winner is that it was Tim Sonnenfeld hand rolling a Romany.

This winter
Stern of the boat caught over the edge of the pool… damn long boats in small pools :wink:

about 4 months back
on the lake and fell over on offside and got disoriented in the SOF…stupidest thing I ever did as I panicked a bit and wet exited. So now I had to swim a few hundred yards to an island with a full SOF and GP.

by the next day I had a shaky offside roll and now have a couple of pretty good 'uns like the butterfly and standard one and can even do a norsaq and hand on the offside. Nowhere as easy as the onside but will do if needed and I am getting better every time I go out.


last swim
Last attempt of the final paddle last season. November 18. I hadn’t missed a roll in about 2 months, which is 2 paddles per week, and a minimum of 8-10 rolls at the end of every paddle. So about 90-100 rolls without a miss. But after hitting one roll in the 39 degree water, and against my better instinct, I had to try one more, even though I really struggled with the first one (Took two attempts). I was cold, my hands were cold, and the water, even with a semi-dry top was cold. But god I love rolling my boat!! But after trying 3 times, I had to bail out. And with just swimming trunks (I know, dress for the water, but I was never more than 50 yards from shore) it was COLD!! We’re talking severe shrinkage! And I couldn’t wait for the first paddle this season to get back on track. Mission accomplished March 24. 6 for 6 rolls made. water temp 41 degrees.

my last swim…
I think my last swim has made me a better paddler! I came out of my kayak 2 months ago after taking two hard hits to my helmet on rocks (ended up trashing the helmet). I ended up pulling the skirt and coming out instead of hanging in to roll. The result - once out of my boat I hit another rock HARD on my hip. I couldn’t sit in my kayak for 2 full weeks.

But after that: I have new dedication and determination to improve my bracing, have sped up my roll further, and am starting to be able to brace/roll back up without any set up. It’s now going to take A LOT to get me to come out of my boat (like getting pinned - that could be a legitimate reason to exit).

This weekend I just ran my first class IV drops. I only flipped at one of six falls, but you better believe I rolled fast! No more swims for me (at least, until the next one…). :o)

In SC, Couple Of Months Ago.
Flipped over into a kelp bed. Went to sweep one way, kelp wrapped the blade. Went to sweep the other side and succeeded in wrapping the rest of the paddle (and my arm) in more kelp. I pull the belt and bailed from the waveski. When I climbed back on, I had kelp around my paddle, my arms and even around one of my legs…

I hear kelp beds keep the sharks out of Monterey Bay. So I ain’t complaining.


Only time I’ve ever swam was during
roll practice at the pool. The first time I tried an offside, I missed and got disoriented while trying to move to the other side so I just bailed.

I’ve successfully combat rolled 3 times in the past 2 years (on whitewater runs.)

Saturday AM
WEll it was more like a crawl than a swim.

I flipped in shallow water coming off the backside of a wave on a new waveski, and lying there with my face in the sand, with the foam, sand and kelp rushing past I just pulled the pin on my belt and stood up.

Now the funny side. A few minutes before that embarassing Sand Roll I had done a 360 roll getting trashed by a wave from behind. I rolled up due only to turbulence and blind luck. Blowing pints of sea goo out of my nose like a spouting whale in the process. There was a minor incident going on at the beach with fire/rescue folk there. (There was a large dead object floating off shore.) I overheard one of them who talked to me about what I had seen offshore commenting to his friend on what I had been doing surfing and how “Expert Kayak Surfers” use the “funny fat surfboards and seatbelts” and are never a problem. Ones man’s expert is another man’s kook waveskier.

a year ago…
I swam twice last season. The first time I got caught in a keeper hole and chose to swim after rolling 8 times and realizing it wasn’t planning to let me go. It turned out to be a good move as my kayak continued to merrily surf upside down in the hole for another couple minutes after I had exited. My next swim was when I was practicing a balance brace in my sea kayak. I was so relaxed that I fell asleep and my paddle floated away. At that point I did not have a hand roll in my sea kayak so I swam. Since then my hole fighting skills have improved a little and my hand rolls have gotten MUCH better. Still, I’d like to make it one season without a swim. As I’m running harder and harder whitewater, I’m not sure if I’ll have too much to say about that if I get in trouble given the nature of keepers, strainers, undercuts etc.

…you believe that, Sing?
I used to live there…and we all just laughed at that idea and likened a boater in the kelp beds as “putting your hamburger on a bed of lettuce before eating it”. Not to mention, the otters and seals frequent the kelp beds so that also helps to bring the big boys in to snack.

Fell ASLEEP!!??!!??
I am so jealous of anyone who can relax that much while twisted like a pretzel and trying to keep a boat from rolling over on them.

Oh, thats right, I forgot that you don’t use 60lb FG boats!! I will rejoin the ranks of SOF paddlers again very soon!


Why I don’t consider myself a "roller"
Two weeks ago, first paddle in my newly-acquired Elaho (thanks, Ed!), I did a couple of rolls before going out into open water to make sure everything worked, went out, did my paddle, headed back in the channel, and managed to position myself just right to get dumped end-over-end and dragged for a while on a decent-sized wave. Short on breath, I made one half-hearted attempt and then bailed.

Until I hit that one, every time, without thinking about it, I don’t have a roll. Down here, it doesn’t much matter if it takes a while to bail and re-enter in open water, but being out of the boat in the surf is too often a ticket to a long swim and a banged up boat.

last swim
Last summer. Just goofing off on the bay. I was doing some bracing and went over without taking a breath. Missed two roles probably due to nerves and bailed out. Took a few seconds to get my self together and rentered and rolled first try.

Anyone who can roll should be able to renter and roll which is alot faster and easier than a paddle float.

Since then I have worked on sculling for air and missing rolls on purpose. Taking a sacrifice half roll for air, relax, then roll up.

Actually the funny thing is that day that same day I had already fallen asleep once during a balance brace and I just didn’t learn my lesson. I was in a fiberglass BB Valkyrie which was about 45 lbs. I also practiced a lot in a plastic Skerray ~55 lbs and one of the easiest boats I’ve balance braced is a 60+ lb Explorer!

I was practicing balance bracing again this past weekend and I realized that I no longer have to even focus on keeping the boat upright (and I no longer need a paddle at all either). My body seems to instinctively find that sweet spot/balance point. (I was in a plastic Avocet.) I was wiggling around and actually found a nice comfy position, tucked the paddle under my head as a pillow, and took a nice 5 minute cat nap. :slight_smile:

Robin emailed me the photo of your Shaman kayak. It’s a real beauty. I’ll definitely have to play with it this fall at Delmarva (still working out potential plans to fly out east). I’d be happy to work with you on the balance brace nap!

My last two …
April 29th, a couple weeks after ice out. Was in my Avocet after a few sessions in another boat. Water temp was probably in the low 40’s F. Did a couple of favored side greenland storm rolls and then set up for one on my unfavored side. I cranked on the hip flick so hard I did a 360. Never had a chance to consider a brace. Set up on my onside and made two attempts before bailing due to the water temperature. On hindsight I realized I never even attemped to hip flick, just did the bow to stern sweep with the stick.

Before that was in the pool this spring. While practicing rolls my new GP paddle broke in half. Startled me so much I bailed. I was so PO’d afterwards that I did a wet re-entry and then rolled up with one half of the GP.

I have a lot of confidence and hang time, but my roll obviously is not bombproof yet.


Last month

– Last Updated: May-15-06 11:47 PM EST –

Coming in from the first paddle of the season on a larger lake, having done some off-balance work during the paddle, in the longer boat with a noticeable load in it for the first time since last fall, did my usual thing of working sculls and rolls at the end while everyone else was pulling in their boat. And my head may have been in water down into the 30's once I was fully under the boat, no more than lowest 40's at the warmest.

Theory is that I need to know what I can do when I am tired. I found out that when tired enough, in water that cold, I didn't have as many times around in me as I wanted even with goggles, ear plugs and the normal paddling hood. When I couldn't get the darned boat lifted after a few rounds, I decided to bail and save the corrections for another day. Got a real one a few days later, when I blew a scull and the pond water was more like 50 degrees. So no harm done I guess as long as I stay upright in water below 45 degrees.

We are all between swims

You said it!
As long as you don’t call me “Otter”!

Paddling Horseshoe Bend in a newly acquired Necky Blunt. I’ve owned a few Blunts and really feel like Daddies home in that boat. This one had no thigh braces in it at the time. Got the invite to paddle before I could outfit the boat “No problem” thought my stupid gungho self," I’ll just hold the cockpit coaming with my knees". IDIOT!

S.A.T. is a class IV named so because its as long as taking an S.A.T. exam. At the top I bounced off a rock, spun around into a backward boof situation and flipped. One hand came off the paddle, and as I reached for it upside down, I took a jagged rock to the cheekbone. Finally reeled in the paddle, then proceeded to roll myself out of the boat. My upward thigh came off the cockpit caoming (anyone other than me at the time surprised at that!) So I’m sculling with my head and one shoulder above water, but the Blunt is only halway up with my butt halfway in and halfway out.

Now I’m basically sitting on the starboard cockpit coaming, sculling halfway in my boat down S.A.T. Not the place to be. My buds were looking at me thinking “he’s up, but he’s not up…whats he doing?” Finally as the boat filled I floated out of it and did the next foolish thing: grabbed it and wouldn’t let go! Too many boaters I’ve know have lost their boats on that rapid, never to see them again, and I had just purchased the old Blunt and wasn’t about to let her go!. So instead, she dragged through all the big holes on S.A.T. I remember thinking “hmm, I’ve never seen this line before” Finally swam her to an eddy, all 80 gallons of her. My bro pulled up with the only item at the “yardsale”; my neoprene shoe, and said, “Dude” (of course), that was a long swim".

“Yeah,” I replied, “not bad, eh!” What else do you say? “Thanks for the shoe, bro”.

Here’s to many good paddles between swims!

glad you said that now rather than when I was there.

Should asked 'Cuda and SantaCruzmidwife how I freaked when I saw dorsal fins out by Cowell’s Beach. Both calmly said to me, “Those are dolphins…” Duh… Give me the relatively sharkless ice water of New England any day.


About 2 Weeks Ago
A surf landing at Topsail Beach. I was tossed over and was out of the boat without any notice.