paddle dives in roll

my point exactly. good video Roy!


I have very little experience with a Greenland paddle but the few times I experimented with it for rolling blew my mind, it doesn’t matter if it dives. You can still roll up.

Many good suggestions. This morning, off a sandy beach in 70 deg water, I tried some of them:

Peter-Ca: My normal extended paddle roll is like yours, gripping the blade at its base and also unfeathered. I just tried one today and it failed because of a diving paddle.

JayBabina: In the past I had done the move more slowly, and it used to work. This morning, after my first failed slow attempt, I did two perfect rolls very fast and without thinking at all. But I failed on the third, for unknown reasons.

I then did a few more successful, but sloppy rolls.

I will make a list of several of the other points and try again on Sun. It seems to me that I am not getting the initial motion of the paddle in the right direction because I cannot determine the blade angle.

"need to register the sweeping blade"
Maybe when learning (or if things get really turned around) - and everything is confusing and needs to be broken down to weed out counterproductive stuff. At some point though, that sort of breakdown/specificity itself becomes counterproductive. Going “by the numbers”/doing it “just so” isn’t compatible with Murphy’s Law.

Let the feel of blade through the water to tell you what you need to know (and also learn how to make the roll work with neutral, very slightly climbing, or even diving [slash roll].

The paddle is nearly irrelevant. GP or EP, or wing, or single blade. If everything else is working, a broom or 2x4 should work fine too.

While the indexing/symmetry/buoyancy of a GP can make this stuff simpler, it can also be a crutch. Better to use it as a gateway, that lets you focus on the more important stuff - and ingrain the feel during the sweep - and transfer that feeling to you other paddles.

Try doing some slower euro rolls. No reason they can’t be a smooth unfolding action just like your GP rolls (even try a wing for super smooth sweeps!). Take that whole list and turn it on it’s head - doing both with both, and see what’s really the paddle and what’s really you.

Thanks Steve

– Last Updated: Jul-24-09 8:20 PM EST –

Here is another fun video I made one day...where I exchanged the blades on my greenland paddle for Lendal blades...then did a few differant rolls.

Rolling is really paddling in a 3 dimentional world. It's just another stroke

easier than Ti Chi....gravity doesn't fight you's like being weightless and doing Yoga

Best Wishes

Let the paddle blades float up
When you’ve capsized but before starting to sweep, loosen your grip on the shaft and allow the paddle to float to the surface.

try these out and see how what you think

I find a diving on a GP dives just as much as a diving spoon blade. It also seems to me that both can be corrected, usually through very similar actions.


As pointed out earlier, you don’t need to hold the Greenland paddle over the hull - not sure what you mean by that but I hold both paddles in roughly the same spot in relation to my kayak.


I find I need very little (about the same) for either style.


A standard Greenland roll finishes with me lying on the rear deck looking at the sky, with the blade held against my chest – I think this is a major reason for your ‘differences’. Why not try your Greenland roll with your big blade, making sure to finish in the same position for both rolls. For fun, try your big blade roll with your GP paddle. You might be surprised by what you find.

Spotters and transition questions?
Working with a friend on rolling. What is the best practice for the spotter? Should they hold-guide the blade? When I spot him I’ve been standing slightly towards the bow then can grab his shaft after the blade sweeps by if he misses it. That has been successful as he is making about 90% of his attempts. For me he has been guiding the blade, but although that helps that phase of the roll to keep it near the surface and from diving, it impedes the quickness of the sweep. Suggestions?

His observations of my rolls and attempts is that I’m lifting my head to early or trying to throw my body to the other side of the hull as I’m coming out of the water. When I try to look down the paddle shaft that seems to help that problem, but in some waters where I might not be as comfortable opening my eyes what suggestions might others have for that?

The break down in my roll seems to be that transitional part between the sweep hitting ninety degrees to the boat and the hip flick. The set up and sweep seem to be on cue and the hip flick is there, but the linkup of the two is the breakdown. Suggestions?

"A slow unfolding" is the way to go for practice. The slower you can do it, the better your technique.

Learn a static brace (Balance brace), and incorporate it into your rolls — the finish of many aft-finishing rolls is the same as a static brace recovery. I like to do a butterfly roll, stop the roll at a balance brace position, hold it for a few seconds, and then finish. It’s easy once you slow down and relax.

One way I visualize my sweep roll in practice is that the paddle is just there to fix my hands on the surface, and then I “uncoil” my body, starting with my feet to meet the paddle. And then I’m up. Very slowly, and with total control.

My better half has a solid sweep roll. I have her doing it very slowly and deliberately. And when she dives the paddle, it’s usually from rushing the paddle sweep, and not keeping up with her torso rotation. You can go faster than the sweep with your torso, but you can’t go slower than your sweep without diving the paddle to some degree.

In any case, play with your timing, and try to slow your roll down until you find your sweet spot.

Where do you get the Lendal ferules?
I would not mind making my next paddle in two or three pieces …

Is there a source that sells the Lendal joints that you can share with us?


A few suggestions
Obviously it’s hard to work on these things alone but here are a few ideas that may make something click for you.

  1. Do a false sweep. Bring the paddle out to the side then sweep back into the setup position before beginning your sweep and roll. Often that sweep forward helps get the blade moving properly for the roll.

  2. A diving paddle frequently means you are punching outward with the offside hand. If that is the case concentrate on bringing it up to your shoulder.

  3. Your roll dies when you engage the offside leg. Try taking it off the footpeg. Try to push it toward the hull rather than up into the thighbrace.

  4. Follow the sweeping blade with your eyes.

  5. Try to sweep your body along the surface along with your paddle. Make a big arc with your shoulders. If your body is on the surface, it’s hard to make the paddle dive.

  6. Work on your extended paddle roll. Make it the same as your standard roll. You are getting up - that’s good but what are you doing that makes your roll die? Ok, the paddle is diving but what is your body doing wrong to make it die? By working on the extended roll, everything is slower and you can start to break the motion down to fine tune things. Make it perfect and you won’t have to extend.

  7. Have fun. Frustration = tension and that can hurt your roll.