Roll Question - Odd Results?

Last evening I sat in my swamped 12.5ft X 26in rec boat and quickly paddle float rolled it 10-12 times and thought I was getting pretty good.

I then decided that a boat full of air should be easier to roll than a boat full of water. After all, I have seen bleach bottles spinning on the water with only a gentle breeze. So I emptied the boat, put my skirt on, readied my paddle float and out I went.

Not only did I fail to roll the kayak upright but it felt as if it were glued to the water upside down. I tried 3 times before I decided that I must have drifted against a tree and pulled the release. No tree.

Thought maybe I was afraid of the skirt so I re-entered / paddle float rolled, pumped about ½ the water out, put the skirt on and rolled over and right back up. Pumped the rest of the water, replaced the skirt and again it felt glued in the water.

This boat probably wouldn’t be easy to roll and for now I am mostly interested in being able to re-enter but I would like to understand why the empty boat was harder to deal with.



You Got Alot Of Initial Stability
with a wide rec boat. Even flipped over, without water in it, the top of the deck sticks flat to the water and makes rolling onto the chines harder. However, if you have some water in the boat, it defeats some of that initial stability by sinking boat a little deeper.

Most boats roll better with a bit of water in it. Unfortunately, that bit of water while helping you roll up will also help window shade you back over. What you experienced is the norm rather than the exception.


I wonder
Not only the stability question with the wide boat, but could the wet cloth be creating suction trying to pull away from the surface of the water?

Had the same experience
First boat I ever rolled was a Pungo140. To begin, I tried the normal way (upright, skirt on). I didn’t get beyond 90 degrees. Rather than righting the boat, pumping gallons and gallons of water out, refitting that long skirt, and trying again, I attempted a reenter and roll. After a few tries at that, I succeeded, but of course the cockpit was well swamped even with the supplemental floatation in the bow (tied in 3 gallon water jug). I then went through the same motions with my Magellan, and only succeeded with a reenter and roll and a swamped cockpit. Next time I want to practice seriously, I’ll be putting in loads of ballast/camping gear. Out of probably fifty attempts, I succeeded twice, and I think those two will keep me going for a long time, through failed attempts, to hit the third, and on. :slight_smile:


Yet another kayaking myth?
I’m not the first to say that, and probably not the last:

Most kayakers can’t roll their boats, and among those who [think they] can -how many would be able to do it under stress and extreme water conditions, which are likely to necessitate rolling in the first place?

Paddling a more “rollable” kayak that’s intentionally less stable doesn’t seem to the sensible thing to do since it makes paddling less fun and increases the probability of an anwanted capsizing.

Anyway, most kayakers don’t follow the “kayak logic” and opt for high stability.

Here we go again…

Hmmm. Faulty analysis.
First, it is primarily the shape of the deck that determines rollability, not the hull. Second, it is primarily the hull, not the deck, that determines stability. So you can have a stable boat that both hard and easy to roll and a less stable boat that is both hard and easy to roll. Boat width makes a difference but not that much. I regularly roll a boat that is wide, very stable, and has a noticeably flat deck both fore and aft. I do that in current while banging into rocks, in wave trains, and on eddy lines. Rolling a sea kayak in wind and waves is comparatively a piece of cake. I am not special. Lots and lots of people can do this.

Good for you for practicing this stuff. Gotta help your paddling.

So if you roll your rec boat back up, can you empty the water out? How about in waves?

fun &sense

– Last Updated: Jul-22-04 8:42 PM EST –

Less fun? Not for a lot of folks! I was out for a evening workout in hot muggy weather yesterday, and rolling was definitely the sensible thing to do to stay comfortably cool. It's also pretty cool to put a mask on, flip, lie on the back deck and look at the bottom, and then roll up.

Rolling swamped
It makes perfect sense that swamped boats are easier to roll. The object of a roll is not to lift your body – it’s to tuck the boat back under you. This means getting the boat’s center of bouyancy back under your center of mass. The lower the center of bouyancy is, and the less bouyancy the boat has, the easier this is to do.

I think I get it
Thanks to all who responded. I do have a better understanding of why the empty boat would more difficult.

I have a 16ftX23in boat that I think I can eventually learn to roll but the rec boat is my choice for colder weather just because it is easier to load/haul and it is unlikely that I will capsize at all. Most of my paddling is done in a river with a flood control dam so rough water isn’t an issue.

It just makes me feel better knowing that I have a couple of options for getting myself back in and I have found that splashing around and trying things makes me less afraid to paddle across logs etc. that could capsize me.

Last but not least, it’ fun. People would talk if I sat alone in the river with a beach ball but a kayak and paddle makes it ok.

Ignorance is a bliss

– Last Updated: Jul-23-04 5:22 PM EST –

"how many would be able to do it under stress and extreme water conditions, which are likely to necessitate rolling in the first place?"

Ask any whitewater kayakers!

If you haven't seen in what condition river kayakers roll and how reliably they roll up, you're speaking out of total ignorance. I bet more than half of whitewater kayakers know how to roll (and the percentage may be as high as 80-90%) and they need to do it in fast flowing water and in rapids. If that's not extreme water conditions, I don't know what is.

Outfitting properly, a seakayak isn't neccessarily harder to roll than river kayak. The only reason so many sea kayaker don't know how to roll is this mis-conception that rolling is VERY HARD (to the point they think others can't roll reliably either). Plus the wishful thinking that they won't "need" to roll if they simply not going out in "extreme conditions". Well, we whitewater boaters don't have that luxury of such made-believe, because what you call "extreme condition" is probably pretty typical the kind of water we paddle in. So we learn to roll and learn to do it "in condition", reliably. Now that same rolling technique allow us to easily roll a sea kayak just as well. Consequently, we can go out to play in those same "fun" conditions.

Agree About WW kayakers…
although I learned rolling from sea kayaking before getting into white water. The white water guys were impressed that a “newbie” can rolled that quickly. I told them I had been sea kayaking for for several years. No one seemed impressed… :smiley:

Anyway, 365 is representing only one segment of the kayaking community. There are others with different viewpoints. They aren’t necessarily diametrically opposed. It is just reflections of what folks want to do with their kayaking and, perhaps, the limitations they want to set, or see for themselves.


Ignorance shared is ignorance squared
"365 is representing only one segment of the kayaking community. "

If we’re talking about sea kayaker who doesn’t roll (or doesn’t think it neccessary to learn to roll), yes, that’s a pretty significant segment. And there’s nothing wrong with the way many choose to enjoy the sport.

But 365 clearly stated he believe those who say they can roll are only ble to roll in flat, calm conditions only, and hence such skill are totally useless in “extreme condition”. I wonder what segment of sea kayakers that represents.

“I told them I had been sea kayaking for for several years. No one seemed impressed… :D”

Equally ignorant of them river kayakers. Most whitewater kayakers thought sea kayaking are for old men/women to put around flat calm lakes in a floating bathtub, hence doesn’t require ANY skill. Little surprise they’re not impressed by your multi-year resume of sea kayaking! :0)

They’re as ignorant about sea kayaking as 365 was about rolling in rough conditions.

Facts are:

  1. Most people don’t like to roll
  2. Most people can’t roll
  3. Whether you like rolling or not it’s not an option for 95% of people who paddle.
  4. The market for sea-kayaks and WW kayaks has been steadily decreasing in the past 5 years, while the market for recreational kayaks has increased during this period.

    No need to take any of this personally -It’s just statistics and it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice rolling and even enjoy it, if you insist.

    One day I may try to roll one of those popular 36" wide fishing SOTs - Who knows, maybe it could be fun?

I Figure If That’s The Trend…

– Last Updated: Jul-25-04 11:12 AM EST –

it's still irrelevant to those of us who want and enjoy more challenging venues and equipment. The thing with kayaking is that the ocean, lakes and rivers remain, even if most paddlers don't want to get out in challenging conditions. Unlike the downhill skiing where you need the resort operators to continue and they need the folks to come, we can get on the no water no matter what. When downhill skiing dropped in popularity, some resorts closed because the lack of revenues, though they have picked by up with snowboarding and, a small degree, telemarkers.

If manufacturers were to stop producing certain boats, I'd still not be too concerned with that either. There are plenty of craftsman/boaterbuilders who will step up to the plate.


I don’t mind the statistics – just the part about not being sensible and not having fun.:wink:

(he said, after an afternoon of alternating rolling practice and fishing in my less stable kayak)

Kayaking myth exposed

– Last Updated: Jul-26-04 2:27 PM EST –

I love it when people justifying a certain kayaking skill is not worth learning because many other kayakers don't/can't do it and are still happy and alive. Well, that same logic would indicate learning kayaking itself is pretty worthless in the first place, since 90+% of the population are alive and reasonably happy without even sitting in a kayak!


Most people don't like to roll. Most people can't roll"


Most people don't like to paddle, most people don't know how to paddle. Most people simply don't kayak! They prefer just drive on dry land in cars and SUVs.

What does the fact suggest?

Kayaking as a fun and healthy sport is just a myth. So, back to the couch.

You want to follow the herd? Go right ahead. Just remember the herd is not paddling kayaks without knowing how to roll, they're driving around in SUVs! Non-paddlers out number paddlers who don't roll by a huge margin. So a non-paddler would borrow the same saying:

"Whether you like *kayaking* or not it's not an option for 95% of people who lives."