Rolling class...

A local outfitter is offering a rolling class in pools sessions a the Y; they’re supplying all the supplies, including a selection of white water kayaks. I’m a relative beginner who’s only really interested in flat water kayaking.

So, how transferable would learning to roll a ww kayak be to rolling a sea-type kayak?


If you learn to roll in short playboats,
then your first tries at a touring or sea kayak may feel funny, but your skills should transfer well. One issue with the very short boats is making sure that you’re rolling the boat and not just turning it on the surface or dousing the stern. With a sea kayak, you may find the rolling action a bit slower and heavier in feel.

You should be learning a slash/screw roll, not C to C.

It Transfers

– Last Updated: Dec-20-09 4:09 PM EST –

I wish they wouldn't do that. Sea kayaks, in my opinion, are easier to roll. I think learning in a sea kayak that fits well would build confidence early in the learning process. But yes, once you get a solid roll it's pretty much the same.

Go get Eric Jackson's DVD and watch it 5 or 6 times. "Rolling and Bracing" or "Bracing and Rolling". It's a tremendous help if your live instruction is weak.

My instructors would say 'keep your head down'. Eric says 'keep your head BACK.' Eric's advice is great for learning to roll.

I was told the boat size used is for the
convenience of the instructors - ie. it’s easier for them to assist and to move boats, and it’s less congested in the pool, with the small WW boats.

I think the tight fit of the WW boats I used in the pool made it easier to instruct, there was no energy given or attention needed to staying in the boat, all body motions translated into boat motions. I barely could get out of the boats I learned in.

I did adjust the outfitting of my sea kayak after I started rolling classes, moving the pegs 1.5" closer from what I had previously thought was the ideal setting, moved the knee braces closer, raised the front of the seat, and so on, to achieve a tight comfortable fit. I was able to roll it without these adjustments, but the adjustments let me stop thinking about staying properly situated in the boat, and focus on proper form in the roll.

For me, the sea kayak is easier to roll, but requires a longer more relaxed sequence of implementing the steps learned in the class.

I just took my 2nd rolling class …
yesterday. The first was in WW boats and yesterday’s was in sea kayaks…I did better yesterday than I did in WW boats, but that’s not saying much for myself. I was told that sea kayaks are easier to learn in than WW boats. Suriam on this board was one of my instructors. He was very patient both classes, but I have a ways to go…

I’ll Stir the Shtuff…
If I had it to do over I’d get rid of the euro paddle and roll with a GP. Doubt if there’s an instructor in your group that uses one, though.

King, NC? Cool. I’m down here near Burlington.


– Last Updated: Dec-20-09 5:08 PM EST –

since I'm not proficient at it yet and I did try GP rolls yesterday, I'll disagree with you. One of the guys helping me had a Beale with him and was using it quite proficiently. Near the end of the class, (since I heard GP's are very bouyant) I asked if I might try a few rolls with his paddle and he of course said go ahead but it wouldn't be anywhere near as easy. I failed miserably with it. I had quite a conversation with him about greenland rolling. He has a dozen different types down and has spent a good deal of time on ropes. I mentioned Greg Stamer and Freya and he was quite familiar with their reps as well as Dubside(?) This kid is quite talented in that respect. As frustrated as I am about my rolling, he told me it took him almost 2 tears to become proficient.... There's hope for me yet!

I think it’s because the short WW boats
can convert your roll effort into something other than the desired righting of the hull. When you roll a touring or sea kayak, the boat can’t turn or dip and waste your effort. Still, once one gets the hang of it, short WW boats can be rolled with scarcely a thought.

Transfers well
It’ll feel different, but the concepts and skills are the same.

rolling from
ww to sea kayak is directly transferable… the instructors teach hundreds of people, so follow their advice first instead of some stranger imposing their own limitations on you…

Did you use the GP extended? Did the guy give some advice on how to use it?

If you had a little guidance and used it extended I’d be very surprised if you failed.

if you mean holding it from about 3
inches from the one end and the far side of the loom(?) yes I was having trouble keeping my one arm at my side with the Euro causing the oposite blade to dive and was thinking the GP might just naturally go to the surface. Not for me! I’ve paddled pretty successfully for over 10 years and have been spending more time in canoes the last couple years so I decided to get back to my true love of paddling…kayaks…Rolling will let me expand my water time so I’m gonna try till I get it all the time. It seems like I have different aspects of it during all my attempts, but putting it together has been rough…

I Suspect…

– Last Updated: Dec-20-09 6:43 PM EST –

your 'sweep' was more 'down' than 'out' but that's just a guess. The cool thing about the GP is how much lift you can get if you sweep it forward. Some folks will tell you it's evil to rely on the paddle at all to roll. I think it's great to be able to roll 'almost all paddle' or 'almost no paddle'.

If someone would guide your paddle during the sweep it helps you get the feel of it... stops that 'dive' thing.

No problem
Transferring to an overly large, wide, poorly fitting sea kayak would be harder. But then transferring to the same in an oversized WW boat would also be hard.

Rolling is rolling. Some boats can make it feel easier, but the fact of a boat being long is NOT a problem. I’ve seen more than one WW paddler window shade one of our sea kayaks the first time they rolled it, or being shocked that they could do a hand roll, because they were misled by the length.

They roll the same.
"So, how transferable would learning to roll a ww kayak be to rolling a sea-type kayak? "

Very transferable.

I learn in a WW boat. I learned the C-2-C roll. (I was a WW kayaker back then)

The first time I got in a properly fitted sea kayak. I came up!

End of story.

Do it!

Very transferable
I was at a white water teaching event in the fall and I’m surprised how many paddlers are using the lay-back style of rolling on the WW boats. If that’s what they teach it’s a perfect transfer to a sea kayak. It’s seems to lend itself to the newer style of flat bottom WW boats where as the old WW bomb shaped kayaks were easier to roll, the flat bottom types can be a bit stubborn to bring around.

Whatever you learn it will be good. Bring a dive mask or swim goggles / nose plugs.

Burlington, huh? Do you get out on the Haw River very often? My sister and I just started kayaking this past summer; we’ve primarily been on the Dan River (tho it’s a bit shallow up our way) and in Salem Lake (it’s near where we grew up, so we’re very familiar with it), with one trip w/ friends on the New River up around Galaz and a few trips to a city lake in Greensboro.

The rolling class is provided by Get Outdoors! at the Kernersville Y.

Not C-to-C ?
I prefer a c-to-c as it seems much more powerful.

C-to-C tends to work better for tall, flexible people. Folks who are shorter/stouter/stiffer, or in deeper/wider boats, tend to have trouble with C-to-C.

But if it works for you, that’s all that matters.

Haw River
I’ve only paddled on the Haw once. It wasn’t a great experience. I live very close to a lake called Mackintosh so I go there a lot. When I go to the coast it’s usually near Harker’s Island.

I just cashed my refund check! We didn’t get the required minimum of ‘pre-payers’ at the local pool so no roll sessions in Burlington this winter. They mailed me my $ back. Maybe I’ll hit the Kernersville Y and roll around some.

I’m seriously thinking about going up to Hyco Lake a couple of times over the winter and roll in that warm power plant water.