Rolling a sit on top kayak


I have a Sit-On-Top Ocean River Scream Kayak. It is not as wide as other SOT kayaks, has a center knee brace, and a thigh belt. Has anyone every successfully rolled a SOT kayak? I have been trying, and still no luck yet. I’m sure it can be done though. Unfortunately I have not been able to find any lessons in my area. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Some may ask why? But think of the additional advantages in the surf, especially if you have to belly up to avoid a collision. Thanks!

I bet it can be done.

– Last Updated: Dec-24-04 1:50 AM EST –

Go to and look for the movie clip of Tom Holtey rolling a Tarpon.

Also here is video of rolling a wavewitch....

and instructions for doing an extended paddle roll ....

I've rolled my Cobra Strike and Ocean Kayak Frenzy but it was not pretty, and would not try to make a habit of it.

With the seat belt and thigh block I bet you could get it over, but why don't you get yourself a wave ski and really go at it in the surf. I'm not sure the benefit you derive from rolling it is worth the effort to learn how with such a wide piece of plastic.

Rolling a Sit On Top
I learned to roll using a Prijon Twister. I now have a Pyranha Surf Jet which is easy to roll. It is a SOT 10’ long about 25" wide, with thigh straps. I think it is very important to have your boat set up so that your butt can not move from side to side while you are attempting a roll. I have padded the seat area at hip level so that when I move my hips the boat moves immediately, no slop or play. I think it is also important that your knees be farther apart than the width of your hips and that the thigh straps are as tight as you can tolerate, need good padding on your shins. Your feet need to be secure and not slipping around, and when you press your feet against your foot rest your butt needs something behind it that will not allow it to slip, back band or padding.

Once you have become one with the boat you are prepared to learn to roll.

If your knees are close together I don’t think you will succeed.


Excellent point
I learned to roll in a SINK and got to a success rate of over 95% (flat water). Then I tried to roll a Prijon Twister. The first session, the thigh strap broke (it was a used kayak). In the second session, I did manage to roll it 7 times…out of about 20 attempts! Modified sweep roll, if you are curious. Even the successful rolls felt ugly to me, like the kayak was sitting precariously on edge and then PLOPPED over (sometimes right back on me, glugglugglug).

I realized that part of the problem was lack of solid contact with the thigh straps. They move around and feel mushy compared with SINK thigh braces. But the real killer was that my butt was literally sliding sideways in the seat depression (no backband, no hip padding). On my last failed roll, I literally fell sideways from the boat as it was teetering on edge.

In a SOT, apparently you need to get a tighter butt fit than in a SINK. I have all kinds of slop in my SINK but the thigh brace contact is good enough for reliable rolling.

I would think the lap strap and center thigh brace would help a lot.

Very acurate description
"Even the successful rolls felt ugly to me, like the kayak was sitting precariously on edge and then PLOPPED over (sometimes right back on me, glugglugglug)."

Yes exactly the same feeling …

One other thing —warn any spectators … when I decided to try this I did it just off a very popular tourist beach here (LaJolla Shores) someone thought I was in serious trouble and had summoned the life guard because I was flailing around with my paddle while upside down.

rolling an SOT

– Last Updated: Dec-25-04 9:56 PM EST –

I do it all the time. I own two Tsunami X-15 kayaks, 14'long, 24" wide, seatbelt. I've even managed to roll my Tsunami X-2 double a couple of times, but at close to 100lbs, and 20' long / 28" wide, it's really tough, to say the least. Then again, it's so seaworthy and stable that it takes really serious conditions to find yourself capsized.

Maybe LesG will weigh in here
I know he rolls his SOT as I’ve seen him do it. Looks pretty smooth at it, too. I think his is a Heritage something…?