Rolling advice needed

  I have been paddling w/w kayaks for about 5 years and have several boats creek/playboat and one old school boat. I can roll most of the time with no problem.<br />
  This past winter I bought my first touring boat Necky arluk IV and have paddled probably 300 miles total.<br />

I also carved a G/P and I really like it though I’m not sure if it suits my boat.

I finally got around to working on my roll this summer but have found doing my normal roll in the necky I hit the what seems very high backdeck really hard when I lay back. I can roll with a c to c reaching out to the side but I seem to be really working hard to get the boat up.

Any advice as to how to modify my roll/paddle for this boat? Also would there be a big difference if I had a boat that was more suited to the g/p?

GPs sometimes require different
rolling techniques than the paddles you are accustom to using.

What type of roll are you most familiar with? If it is the kind Eric Jackson likes (with a full lay back and then a ‘hip snap’) it will need a bit of tweaking. If it is more like a roll taught by Ken Whiting then it should work if you hold the paddle in an extended position (the ‘normal’ way to hold a GP for rolling).

GPs work best with sweeps, and they will work with you kayak. If you have a video it will be easier to diagnose.

If I just found the correct measurements, the Arluk IV is 24" wide. That’s on the wide side for a sea kayak, these days anyway. You are generally seeing more like 22" now for a full-out sea kayak. Add in the depth of hull and the way the stabilities tended to work in the older models of sea kayaks, and it may require some tweaking to get your roll as easy for this boat.

Just a conjecture on my part and maybe groundless, but I suspect that you are having to work harder in the latter part of your roll in the Arluk IV than in your WW boats. As suggested above, going to a sweep roll or at least a somewhat sweep to C may give you a better sense of where things are getting more difficult.

You also didn’t give your size - the volume of the Arluk IV may be a bit much.

If you can find someone with a newer sea kayak - WS Tempest, Valley Avocet, NDK Explorer/Romany etc, you may want to ask to get in and mess around with the boat. We’ve encountered a few extremely good WW paddlers who have gotten into a less friendly older sea kayak, or a bargy newer one, and been surprised when they got into one of the above to find that these boats behaved very differently than the other one. My totally unscientific guess is that WW paddlers see the length rather than the cross-section of sea kayaks - I have had a couple get into my Explorer LV expecting it to be a bear to roll and come up shocked when they could hand roll it on the first try.

Rolling ?
I think a lot is the boat but I know the thinking that any boat can roll. The volume may be a little much but I barely fit with rodeo socks due to size 12 and 6’3" 185lbs.

The only other longboat I have rolled was a 17’ arctic tern which I thought rolled easily with my w/w paddle.

I think my normal roll is a cross between c to c and sweep maybe one or two more.

I think if I didnt bang the back deck when I try to roll up it would make it easier. I do think my boat is 24.5" wide. Coming from w/w it seems like a jet even though I know it is a little piggish when compared to newer boats.

Any one feel free to post ideas for possible boats for my size. I mostly like paddling large rivers and hope to do a 220 mile trip over 7 to 9 days this fall. Most of my trips would be 30 or 40 mile overnighters.

Ease of rolling and paddling efficiency or important as I generally paddle in cool/cold weather/water.

Yeah they’ll all roll
tho’ there is no way in heck I was able to get an unoutfitted Seaward Quest HV up at my size, nor could two others including the boat’s owner. But someone can.

I can’t imagine the Arluk would be too much volume for someone your size, so it’s probably just the hull design and your rolling not meshing. And yeah, if you are looking at a long solo trip I can see wanting a boat that’ll respond when you are tired and not at your best.

Maybe the Tempest 170 will fit you,if not the next size up, if you want to stay in RM. Or check out the Chatham 17 or the Valley Aquanaut also available in RM, and likely can be found used if you look around. I am not sure all of these would be a comfy fit for back to back long days, but they’d likely be at least close. And I suspect you’d find all of them friendlier than the Arluk for rolling, especially the Tempests.


– Last Updated: Aug-03-08 11:11 AM EST –

It's not like coming up on the back deck is the only way to roll. Sweep rolls can be done so you come up on the side. If you need to come up on the back deck, it's possible that the boat is starting to roll too late in the process.

It's possible that the layback roll isn't suited to that boat.

At 24'', the boat has volume where you aren't. (That is, that width is adding volume that has nothing to do with fit).

People need to see what you are doing to give any useful advice.

GP vs WW paddle roll
When I was taught rolling by WW instructors they made a point of having the hands really high and sweeping out with the blade just touching or even above the water. The high hands were needed with a Euro paddle so the inboard blade would clear the hull of the kayak as the other blade swept out. Sweeping with the blade out of water I think was to help keep the blade from diving.

Now for rolling with a GP in the extended position you do not have to raise your hands so high since there is no inboard blade that needs to clear the hull. You also want to start the roll with the paddle just slightly under the surface so you get the maximum lift as you sweep. You still have to pay attention to the blade angle to keep the blade from diving.

In summary, if with the GP you are raising your hands very high in the set-up and trying to keep the blade above the surface at the start of the sweep you probably are not getting enough of the GP paddle into the water to generate the lift you need. The other difference I notice is that you do better with a GP and a sea-kayak if you slow down and go smoothly rather than the fast powerful movement usually taught by the white-water folks.

Hope this helps.


If your
rolling form is good, the simplest thing to do would be to switch to a storm roll, finishing with your upper body forward. (thanks to Alex for the video)

GP+high rear deck = “Sweep to C”
… and likely extended, at least as a starting.

You could try finishing with more of a rotation to your body rather than a layback - a la “Kayak Roll” video.

You could raise your butt out of the seat so you can lay back better.

Is it the back deck or the seat back? Would installing a backband help?

You could work on more of a forward finishing roll (I’m not convinced this would be the best option).

You could have a friend video your roll to see if it is really the back deck or if it just exacerbates some other problem in technique.

Good suggestions, and…
he could also (maybe) raise his seat a little. I’ve done this with two boats by adding minicell under the seat.

Rolling help
Thanks for all the suggestions. I may try raising the seat a little. I hit the sharp cockpit rim now its a f/g boat. If I raise the seat much it will put the back of the seat also hard plastic up above the coaming.

move seat forward
rather than raise seat, which may make you unstable. Even better let your butt come off the seat = raise the seat. Maxim: move the boat first, then sweep. Also, take to heart the advice to use the “Kayak Roll” sweep, which has you finish upright looking down the paddle. Easy to do with a GP.

Rusty… Nice roll… Thanks for the video