Rolling A WW Boat???????


Yet another rolling question…

You might have seen one of my earlier posts a few weeks ago about some problems I was having with my C to C roll—I figured out what was wrong and have fixed my roll and it is now quite strong.

I have also recently learned to do the sweep roll in my sea kayak and I really like it. I like it better than the C to C. I have no problem doing it in my sea kayak

I took out my WW boat today to try rolling with it. I had problems doing the sweep roll in it, but not with the C to C. This seems the opposite of the way I would think it should be. My boat is a Pyranah H2. It is a fairly high volume river runner with a planing hull. I was a bit tired when rolling it which might have had something to do with it (had spent over an hour rolling my sea kayak). I found it hard to do the sweep. I even missed it a few times. I think I was having problems with the paddle hanging up on the side of the boat. When upside down I found it hard to get the paddle up out of the water and the blade on the surface. On the sweep my blade was often diving down rather than planing on the surface. Same on the C to C in that I could not really get the blade up high on the surface (this boat is new for me).

Anyone have any insights or advice???

Right now I am thinking I may have to stick to the C to C for whitewater, but I would prefer to be able to do the sweep.



Is the hull deeper than your sea kayak’s
I had the opposite experience: the WW kayak I rented and rolled in a pool was easier to roll (sweep) than my sea kayak was. More relaxed, plus I could do the sweep fairly slowly and still come up easily.

The WW kayak was not as deep as my sea kayak, which I think is the main reason the sweep roll was easier in it. With my sea kayak, I had to conscientiously reach up to make sure the paddle blades lay flat on the water surface. If I did not really stretch up and reach high, the blade would tend to dive down, making the roll more strained. or failing outright. Also, I had to tightly curl my body close to the side of the kayak, just to gain as much reach as possible; if my upper body was extended outward from the kayak, I just could not get the required height to clear the water with my paddle.

Craft Differences
Seakayaks and old style ww boats with displacement hulls roll similar and are amenable to sweep and layback rolls. There is a continuous turning over of the hull as you sweep the blade and push up with knees.

Modern white water boats have sharp chines and relatively high vertical side walls. The sharp angles want to fight the rotation of the boat. A C2C (or modified sweep to 90 degrees to C2C) with a strong hip snap is needed to defeat the chines. You can almost feel a “hinge” effect where there the boat resist you to a certain point, after which the boat quickly flops over onto the bottom.

Surf boats with flat bottoms and sharp rails with an inverted taper to the coaming require even a more pronounced hip snap. However, surf boats also have a low volume, short stern and if the boat is relatively volume overall relative to the rider, the boat can be rolled up by a layback roll. The problem is that the stern may sink way under and if a wave hits at the right moment, the boat can do an ender and go right back over again.

Waveskis are even trickier than the surfboats. It has sharp rails and are inherently more unstable because the seat is at or above waterline. So strong hipsnap is needed to defeat the rails and the fact the main contact for the hipsnap is at the lap belt. However, if you come up too fast and strong, you end up going right back over in a window shade. So, some waveskiers will come up take the farside foot out of the footwell and drop the leg over the edge of ski as a counterbalance. It’s additional piece of coordination that takes some practice.

If you have a decent roll in one craft, it’s a matter of working with the new boat to see/feel the specific characteristics and figure out what will be more effective in rolling it. That’s why it’s good to develop more than one roll technique, especially if you paddle a range of boat types.


good points…
I am not much of a WW paddler, but have seen a lot of different boats. While I like this Pyranah H2, it appears to have a much deeper, wider hull than most. I was rather shocked by its appearance when it arrived (got it used off ebay). I think that this is part of what is making it so hard for me to do the sweep roll as it is just hard for me to get the paddle up high and keep it on the surface throughout the sweep. Doing the C to C is hard to get the paddle up too, but the boat seems to roll okay with the blade down low in the water. With a bit of hip snap the boat flops over pretty easily. I may work more on the sweep in this boat if I can get some good pointers that might hlep me to overcome this problem, but in the meantime I probably will stick to the C to C.

Read this article by EJ
This a great article by one of the best:

Good post sing
Rolling is a combination of several skills. The percentage of each varies depending upon craft, body type etc. Very well worded post.

Sing is right on.
Every boat rolls differently and your technique that rolls one boat easily may have you swimming in another. Eric Jackson recommends that for any boat new and different to you, that you start at the beginning doing hip snaps on the side of the pool (or the bow of another boat, or …) and paying attention to how the boat rotates and when it offers the most resistance. Adjust your peak effort during the roll accordingly.

As to the sweep roll. It is a myth that you need to get your paddle out of the water or to have a non-diving angle at setup. This is well known and often demonstrated (Alex, where are you?). In fact, this is the only major mistake in the video “The Kayak Roll”. If you are interested in pursuing this I can send you some URL’s that discuss it.

wow that was a great article by EJ
thanks for the link. i have ordered his video. i am exactly in that area he describes at the beginning of the article. have rolled, can roll, both sides, etc, but have struggled of late while in heavy white water. was caught in a strainer in early spring and have been fighting the head game of confidence. look forward to seeing the video and working it from here.

Well there you have it…
I did see a unique “roll” a couple of weeks ago. A bunch of people got together for a surf session and most were in whitewater boats. One guy in a very low volume boat , basically dog paddled or sculled up till he was floating on his back with the kayak sticking vertically out of the water like … Washingtons Monument and then sat up, dropping the bow back down on the water. I assume this is something playboaters practice, he was very good at it. Not sure it has a name.

Pretty Cool

– Last Updated: Jun-17-05 4:10 AM EST –

That's hand sculling to a a stern stall. A stern stall is akin to the Greenland balance brace, in balancing the body's floation against and conjunction with the boat's floatation. While the Greenland balance brace has the added stability of the boat on it's side, the stern stall is much harder since playboater must balance on his stern, a much smaller area, while trying to keep the rest of the boat pointed up in the air. He has got to have great control of his legs and hips since this is what's keeping a tippy boat straight up. Think of balancing a long stick on the end of your finger.

The stern stall, along with the Greenland balance brace, illustrates how important it is to be able to engage and control your hips and lower body.


EJ’s Video
I watched EJ’s video again last night and it gave me a bit of a new perspective. I think that what I don’t like about this boat is the fact that it is hard for me to get my paddle up out of the water. This makes it hard for me to do the sweep, but as I said I can do the C to C coming up pretty easily, but still with my paddle deeper in the water rather than on the surface. This was making me feel a bit uncomfortable with rolling this boat as I like to get into that perfect C position with the paddle up high and do a text book roll. After watching EJ’s video though I am starting to look at it differently. He makes the point that if you have a good hip snap you can roll up with your paddle as deep as 90 degrees in the water. I guess maybe I should not worry so much about getting the paddle up high and be satisfied with the fact that I can roll the boat up regardless of the blade’s position. This boat will roll with the paddle deep as I find it pretty easy to flip it up, but I don’t think I could do that with my sea kayak----it rolls smoother, but takes more continous force to flip it over rather than one short burst like the WW boat. Sing made some good points above about this. The WW boat feels like it just needs a short bit of rotational power to overcome the chine and then it just pops up almost on its own.


I’m right here Tom!

– Last Updated: Jun-17-05 9:58 AM EST –

I've been out of commission for a day or so trying to get over a nasty ear infection I picked up while rolling in some funky water. Like you, I share that similar gripe about the Kayak Roll, but as it is a beginner instructional video, I don't really mind it too much.

Basically what we are talking about refers to a "slice roll." This is a sweep roll in which the paddle blade dives initiatially but due to your body rotation, it eventually planes up to the surface at the end of the roll. It is without a doubt the most effortless roll there is as there is never any direct pressure being placed on any of the blade faces. Basically my take on angles is that a climbing angle is bad (too much initial pressure and it leads to a diving blade in the end), a neutral angle is ok, and a slightly diving angle is good. Also the benefit of this roll (as Dr. Disco was alluding to) is that it can be done completely submerged in the water. As it is a slicing motion that relies on the lateral pressures from the water, it is not meant to skim the surface of the water but rather to cut through the water itself. Of course no roll really requires the paddle to be on the surface of the water but this is a tip which usually helps beginners to focus on form. Even a C-to-C can be done completely submerged such as when you do a vertical paddle roll (see EJ's video for this).

Bowler1, keep working on the sweep roll. I find it extremely effective in whitewater and actually the high walls of a whitewater kayak tend to make c-to-c's more difficult than sweeps. Actually work on both. The more rolls you know, the better! I'm glad to see you got EJ's video and also check out The Kayak Roll if you're interested in dialing in your sweep.