Rolling & Eyeglasses

I don’t roll. I’m a beginner. I’m hesitant to learn. I wear glasses. I need glasses. Without them I’m stone blind. I can’t wear contacts.

Does anyone here roll wearing glasses? What do you do, carry a dry cloth in a dry bag to wipe them dry each time.

croakies or Rec Specs
I bought a set of prescription Rec Specs to wear while kayaking. Otherwise I use a good set of croakies for my glasses. I haven’t lost a pair of glasses yet in the thousands of rolls I’ve done. I don’t really carry a cloth though. I just accept the fact that I will have droplets of water in my vision at times. It doesn’t really bother me anymore.

I got the rec specs and have been
very happy with them.

croakies I use them
I wear them also. I’m not afraid of the glasses falling off. It’s the totaly wet lenses after a roll that concerns me.


– Last Updated: May-18-06 4:45 PM EST –

For learning, just stow them. Everything happens quite close and not much to see. Blurs should do it - and it will be blurry underwater anyway - though a mask can be helpful while learning too - and these can also be fitted with prescription inserts (but I wouldn't bother unless you also dive).

For normal paddling with some rolling, what Alex said. That, or go buy the cheapest spare pair you can just for paddling? Leave the regular ones home, ashore, in the car...

I could wear contacts, but was always concerned about losing them - and so was pretty mask depended at first for practice. Glasses would have been fine - maybe even better. When I realized everything was the same rolling with eyes opened or closed I went to just closing them (though still nearly as worried about losing them). I much prefer eyes open though - always have, even as a kid when swimming. Some reflexively close their eyes on capsize - I always open mine. It was hard to fight.

LASIK has taken care of all that. I still have sunglasses though (mandatory gear here!). So I still have the loss and water spot issues you do, just no worries about a half blind paddle back, drive home, etc.

You sort of get used to the waterspots. You'll get them from spray too when the wind picks up. Suncreen smudges are another story.

cheap floating glasses strap
I just use floating glass strap. Never had them move on me. What kind of Rec Specs you guy have? Looked at few different makes.

Great question!!
I just looked also. Good god, there are about seven thousand different types!!

I went with what my
optometrist had on hand. Japanese prescription swim goggles called “View”. $90. Pop-in lenses to match your prescription. Mine only approximate, though, with a stigmatism. You can pay more and get actual prescription. Contrary to what others have said, I like to look around underwater. Take your time setting up, say hi to the fish, sooths the nerves.

You can coat the outside of your lenses with Rain-X. I find it may help water to roll off a little bit better. I also coat the insides with some sort of anti-fog treatment such as “Cat Crap” It does not help much, but maybe a little.


Clean them before paddling -
but they will be wet and spotted after the first wave breaks on you.

So basically, you just get used to looking through spotted glasses.

I usually use my last prescription pair on the water. Don’t see quite as good as with my current pair, but it hurts less when you lose them.

I wear prescription sunglasses whenever I paddle, I roll on average 20 times a week, and I’ve never had an issue with lost glasses. just be sure they are CLEAN before you go so the water doesn’t cling to the glass. And wear a good sport strap cicnched up snugly.

Cheap Strap and Fresh Water
I just use a cheap strap that I got at a drug store. I splash a little water from my drinking water on them after a while to remove the salt.


Rolling no problem
Glasses with a float strap. The water drops aren’t a big deal – you get them paddling in wind anyway. What bugs me is the fogged up lenses. I get those even in summer - especially wearing a floppy brim hat. But I just cuss and keep wiping them off with my thumb.

speedo goggles
Speedo makes optical goggles. You can’t get the exact strength you need, they come in strengths of 1,2,3,etc. They only cost about $20 and work great.

Seeing and rolling

– Last Updated: May-18-06 11:58 PM EST –

I use goggles for real cold water and in pools because of the chlorine, but have mostly learned to roll without seeing what is happening because I can't open my eyes under water anyway. I've heard that this is the hard way to do it, but it hasn't been fatal to learn by feel rather than sight. I can't do a lot about what my eyes do automatically under water. And in dark water at the end of a night's paddle or in trashy surf being able to see isn't going to be of much use anyway.

Good goggles will take care of the planned rolling work if you wear contact lenses. I got goggles that really fit right by going to a scuba shop. I highly recommend spending the extra money - they are hugely better and more comfortable than the big box store goggles.

As to an emergency, like a dunk in real life, it sounds like that you are like me and will need to be able to roll without seeing anything down there. A real capsize could render your glasses temporarily useless. It's quite manageable.

speedo optical goggles
Yes, $20 at a local store, not quite my prescription, but close enough. Great for rolling practice, surf, and other rough conditions. Otherwise, I wear prescription sunglasses and croakies. Insurance pays for glasses every two years, so when my eyes finally stablized (late 30s) I decided it was finally time to stop wearing clip-ons! (And I lost my magentic clip-ons the first time I tried a wet exit!)

As for the goggles, it is a little heard to see out of them compared to glasses, but much better for getting wet, and you get used to the odd perspective after a while. There are $200 prescription sport specs out there, with bigger eye-ball covers, but I can’t see spending 10x for basically the same thing… Unless I was a dedicated kayak surfer or WW paddler. Otherwise croakies and regular glasses do fine.

Sea specs plus…
some small stick on reading glass lenses that adhere (no glue)to the sea specs and don’t come off when wet.

The sea-specs are great, won’t come off no matter how turbulent the water is (unless your head comes off) and give me full UVA/UVB protection.

I don’t like to pay full retail and found them for $30 on Ebay with the attaching prescription lenses for $10. I am ready…


i use Barz
i did not like the idea of paddling with my normal glasses…so i got my Barz…smoke lenses…no need for sunglasses then…although it does get dark quickly for me!!!

while surfing i have only had a problem with them once…a 11’wave tossed me hard enough that they blew up onto my forehead…

love em!!!

I wear the sort of glasses which are made for playing racket sports like squash. They are heavy plastic frames and plastic lenses (I had them lightly tinted to reduce sun glare) but there is an elastic band which passes right around the back of your head to keep the glasses on. They do sometimes fall off when rolling, but I dont like to wear the elastic band too tight as I find it gives me a headache. If they do come off my head they will sink like a stone so I attach a piece of closed cell sleeping mat foam to the elastic band as a “Croakie” float. The bright coloured foam also helps you to see them floating if they have come off during a roll.

If I am paddling white water and therefore wearing a crash hat I dont need the foam float.

I have had these glasses over 10 years and they still give good service, even though they are not as strong a prescription as my current ordinary glasses.