Rolling, eyes open or closed

I use goggles when I roll in the pool. I’ve noticed that I’m in the minority on that. When swimming at least, if no goggles, my eyes get so red I look down right scary afterward. Problem is, the small goggles fog, and the bigger ones tend to break seal on entry during a roll, or don’t seal well with a hood on in cold water. I can close my eyes, and am getting where I roll better that way because I don’t get distracted if water gets into the goggles, or water is murky. Darkness of eyes closed is very consistent :-). Though not out of necessity now, I’ve gotten where I enjoy seeing underwater when I’m rolling.

So, what do you do? Do you keep your eyes closed or open when under water? Pool? Lake? Ocean? Is 50F water bad for your eyes if open with no protection?

Paul S.

closed, everywhere, including the pool. Only time I really open them is when I’m working on technique.


– Last Updated: Nov-25-06 9:33 AM EST –

No option - they don't open under water. Learned to swim that way when young and it ain't going to change now.
That said, goggles are a great tool for practicing, especially if the chlorine bothers your eyes so you want them anyway. If you want to emulate real life in cold or dark or somewhat challenging water just close them, in the meantime use your sight to help learn body position.
A scuba shop is a better place to find well-fitting goggles than a regular sports store.

mostly roll woth my eyes open when the water is warm (50 or 60 deg F) when the water is cold (30’s or 40’s F)I usually roll with them closed

have never rolled in a pool

Best Wishes


if you roll with your eyes open
in the 20s, your eyes will get hard

I enjoy using goggles
when I want to see things under water or to just relax upside down and enjoy the view. They are also helpfull for me when I’m trying to learn a new roll. Besides that I find it important to practice rolling with my eyes closed so that I learn how to feel where I am and be able to react to it appropiately. If the pool water bothers your eyes you can still wear the goggles and close your eyes.



Fresh and salt water
are different. I don’t wear goggles in the ocean unless the water is very cold, but almost always wear them in the lake or the pool. Too much grunge in the lake and the chlorine in the pool also bothers my eyes. I almost always keep my eyes open goggles or no, and when I can’t stand it that’s the sign that goggles are a good idea.

I usually roll with mine open. I can roll with them closed, but prefer to see. I think it is easier to develop good form when you have your eyes open. I find it helps me to lean closer to the surface of the water, and watching my rolling wrist throughout the roll helps form as well.

Once you develop good form and muscle memory you can do it open or closed. I still like to keep my eyes open though.


Guess It Depends…

– Last Updated: Nov-25-06 2:46 PM EST –

if you're out in the middle of some deep spot, don't matter much with your eyes closed. WW and surf, I say keep 'em open so you can see what's coming. More than several times pinned against a boulder or something on the other side, preventing a roll. Wouldn't know had I not looked over, see the boulder, push off and then roll up.


Both ways
Normally I close my eyes, but when I was learning to roll I used a dive mask and kept them open. I still use the dive mask when the water temp gets really cold, like it has been the last few weeks.

Always open
Doesn’t matter where I am, pool, salt, fresh, WW or flatwater. I don’t wear googgles and I keep my eyes open. I also don’t believe in noseplugs, unless you’re gonna wear em the whole time you’re on the water, thought being, I don’t want a real roll to be ANY different than practice rolls, so there is no difference between the practice and the for real. No goggles, no nose plugs.

One open, one closed
I’m a bit strange.

open, I don’t want to die!
I want to see the shade of dark grey of the rock I am about to smash into headfirst. Wouldn’t want it to come as a surprise. Know what I mean?

Actually I cant see a darned thing with my eyes open under water but I am afraid of the dark and when I go upside down I am frightened and go directly to the fetal position (not to roll but because I am scared) and I can’t free up a hand off the paddle to stick my thumb in my mouth,… eyes stay open out of sheer terror! It’s comforting in a small way. I am sure if I closed my eyes I would piss my pants. Then it’s one, maybe two attempts to roll then bail. I really need to work on the whole fear thing.

I use goggles in the pool because I hate
the chlorine and I keep my eyes open because I’m working on technique, otherwise I wouldn’t be there. If I’m practicing in a lake or lagoon it depends on how clean the water is, and again I keep them open because I’m working on technique. In the ocean, I don’t use anything. Sometimes I keep them open, sometimes I keep them closed depending on whether I’m in surf where there’s likely to be a lot of sand in the water.

Goggles and open are bad for learning
Despite what some of you say, it is essential to learn orientation without vision. Using goggles or swim masks only delay that process and give you a false sense of confidence. And actually, both goggles and swim masks provide a distorted and inaccurate picture of your orientation, which makes things harder than they need to be. If you dive, which I do, you will know what I mean. You reach out to touch something under water and it is farther away than it seems. Judging distance, and hence judging where you are and what your body is doing is very different under water with a mask or goggles than it is above water. Bite the psychological bullet and just close your eyes.

Mostly open
Most times I roll with eyes open. I use goggles in pool and when inentionally capsizing in fresh water.

I like taking a look when upside down and it helps me not rush ny roll.

either or
don’t think about it. sometimes I see the surface up there and sometimes not.


Well, if you haven’t rolled in a pool, looks like we’re going to have to expand your rolling experience! Get you out of that cold water and into the warm chemical confines of a swimming pool…just kidding.