Roll ?.W.W, or Sea kayak

I met this guy who will help me with my roll.

He’s a big W.W. paddler and I’m more into lakes and class 1 rivers.

would I be better off using one of his boats or my own untill I feel comfortable rolling in any boat.



Skinniest boat possible (narrow beam)
The easier they are to flip, the easier they are to roll back up (usually). You definitely need a boat that you fit in snuggly. You will need good foot/thigh/back contact with the boat, with a snug fit at the hips. Add some temporary padding if necessary.

My dagger is about 23inches/his liquid logic ww boat looks wide

I just cant get all the way back up before I give up and bale out

I just need him to spot me and see what I’m doing wrong

I cant do that hanging upside down and my wife is absolutly no help at all

Use the
boat that you have. 23" shouldn’t be too hard to roll back up. If you’re able to start your roll and then half-way through it you fail and go back under, you’re probably raising your head too fast. Try keeping it in or close to the water until you’re up.

My experience
I started in a WW boat that was too big for me and I couldn’t get it adjusted properly (1 lesson). I got the basic concepts OK, but did not execute them. I then switched to my own boat Swift Bering Sea (23.5" wide) for my second and third class and was rolling on my own at the end of my third lesson. I would try to learn in your boat - a Savannah shouldn’t be too difficult - and if you are really having trouble ask to borrow one of your friends WW boats. One thing about my instructors - they were all WW kayakers and didn’t do too much touring in longer boats. They started teaching the basics which apply to most rolls, but when it came to the paddle they were teaching a C to C. Personally, I think the C to C is a little more difficult in a touring boat and a sweep roll works better. I still haven’t gotten a C to C, but have been doing several variations of the sweep roll using Euro and GPs.

Two things I found helpful:

  1. Rolling DVDs/Videos by Kent Ford (The Kayak Roll) and Eric Jackson (EJ’s Rolling and Bracing)

  2. A digital camera with a 30 sec movie clip feature. Have someone record your own roll attempts. Record rolls from several different angles, front, back, and both sides. Play them back on your computer where they can be viewed frame by frame - forward and backward. If you compare yourself to the rolls in the videos mentioned above you should be able to spot nearly every flaw. This will help you to sort out what to work on the next time out.

    Good luck!


sweep vs c to c
I honestly find the C to C easier in touring boats, course the only white water boat I’ve ever rolled was a Master TG.

As for advice in getting a roll, practice as much as possible with a good instructor, if possible video tape yourself rolling up if you consistently are getting part of the way up and failing. It will allow you to see what you are doing wrong. but Practice is the key, the set up and roll must become complete muscle memorey to be of any use at all.

Depends …
How well do you fit your boat and how well is it outfitted? It is important that you have decent thigh braces and that your butt doesn’t slide around (hip pads). BTW, your boat is listed at 25" wide, not 23". Some Liquid Logic boats are easy to roll and some are quite difficult for people starting out. If your boat is set up properly, use it. If not, use his if it is something like a Trigger or Lil Joe. If it is something like an Airhead or Space Cadet, run the other way fast.

c to c
I also find the C to C very easy in a sea kayak. The timing is really felt no different to me and the boat loaded down with 9 days of gear seemed to roll easier than empty.

I guess it’s all just a matter of personal preference. I really didn’t like the sweep roll, but my wife, on the other hand, prefers it over the c to c.

Fit is definitely an important factor, and rolling a WW boat didn’t seem all that different from my sea kayak.

I must try this.
I learned to roll a very loose boat where I could slide about 2 inches across the seat. Since learning last winter I have rolled every boat (touring kayaks) I have paddled whether loose or tight fit, just added this up - 16 boats! I still haven’t successfully done a C to C, but I haven’t tried often either. I wonder if a tight fit is more critical to a successful C to C and if you can get away with a looser fit with a sweep? I fit tighter in the Avocet I just picked up, so maybe I’ll try some C to Cs in that. I was going to pad out my other boats, but after taking a BCU training I decided loose is the way to go - at least for now.


Tight is better for rolling, period.
More energy is transferred to rotating the boat and you have better control of your body position. Loose is better for torso rotation however. So pay your money and take your choice. WW paddlers generally prefer to be snug in the boat. I have never heard one advocate being able to slide around in the seat to facilitate torso rotation.

Other things being equal . . .

– Last Updated: Oct-16-05 6:58 PM EST –

Learn to roll with a whitewater boat. If the whitewater boat has a similar or more snug fit compared to your own (touring) kayak, the whitewater boat will be easier to learn in. Here's why: a longer, less-rockered high volume boat such as a sea kayak results in a paddler center of gravity that is HIGHER than a shorter, more rockered, lower volume boat such as a whitewater kayak. In order to roll back to an upright position, the sea kayaker must climb further "uphill" than a whitewater kayaker.

If you use a sea kayak when learning to roll, you might consider putting some weight -- even water -- in the bow and stern hatches so that your boat sits lower in the water.

It's my experience that length / volume is more of a factor than beam in determining how easy a boat will be to roll. For example, an 8 foot whitewater boat with a 23- 24 inch beam should be easier to roll than a 17 foot sea kayak with a 21 inch beam.

The answer is…
I should load my boat like I normaly paddle it(or with the approx. weight)

Tighten mine up a tad more in the hip area.

Let the Misses on the camera.

Try both boats.

Practice,dont give up and practice some more.

One of these day I’ll get it down pat.