rolling induced nausea


i get nausous when practicing rolling. the more i do and the faster i do them, the worse it gets. go figure. i took Gravol today for the first time and went and practiced today and probably did 20 or so aside. i still felt somewhat sick though especially when i did sprints and rolls. i came to the beach and was wobbly when i got out of the boat for a moment. i think the Gravol helped significantly though. does this happen to you? what do you do to mitigate it? do earplugs help?


if you do bunch of rolls in row, I am not surprised that you would get nauseous or dizzy. Kind of like getting on one of those amusement rides where your equilibrium is constantly being thrown off. If you get dizzy from doing one or two rolls, then it may be the water in the ears or sinuses. I doubt it’s because the water is cold 'cause it ain’t right now.

I think sprint and roll is a good practice since it gets you prepared for going over without a good breath in you. You learn to stay calm and know that you’ll come up in a matter of seconds. I think doing a bunch of sequential rolls, as in come up, go over, come up, go over again, in the same direction is sort of a waste of time. Impresses the onlookers but really doesn’t reflect real world conditions, welll… unless you’re getting maytagged by a big wave and you try to come up fast. Sequential, one directional rolling is pretty much like cheating since you’re creating all this rolling momentum. I think you’re may be better of going over with no set up position, settling down for a second or so (eliminating roll momentum) and then roll back up. Do it again, on the offside. Then instead of rolling, try sculling up. Get this down, try to learn a different roll.

What I am getting at is that once you get a roll down, there is minimal benefit in doing the same roll over, over again at high speed. You are not adding anything new mentally or physically. Better to slow down and work towards developing other rolls and sculls, both onside and offside. Doing this deliberately should not get you nauseaus. If you do get nauseus, than I would say that you are having a problem with water in the ears and/or sinuses.


I don’t get nausous but I do loose my equilibrium and feel unstable when I’m paracticing rolls. It seems to go away after a few minutes. I haven’t tried ear plugs yet but I would be curious to hear from someone who has tried ear plugs to eliminate this from happening.

similar experience
two nites ago surfing some very nice waves off L. Michigan, I went over when a wave dumped on my head. Whilst coming up on my strong side with a layback roll, I took another full on in the face and found myself counting fish immediately. Having run out of air and taking what was likely a very small amount of water in my lungs, I popped the skirt and out I came.

Bobing up and down in 70+ degree water was not at first unpleasent(was wearing 3 mil neo), but almost immediately I felt a wave of nausea wash over me that all but incapacitated me. As I was working my way to my paddlefloat, mr. Kwikle paddled over and stabilized my boat while I did a very quick re-entry and attempted to put my skirt back on. Another wave soon hit the two of us, and he rolled succesfully while I was sucked out of my boat.

By this time, I was sucking down water and feeling very, very weak, so Mr. Kwikle towed me into shore while the surf put my kayak on the beach a few yards downwind. While running those few yards, I was overcome with another wave of nausea and went down on my knees for what seemed to be a long time. Afterwards the feeling of being disoriented and “unbalanced” continued, to the point where I didn’t feel comfortable paddling any longer.

Key learnings for me were…

practice rolling with no air. I think the sprint and roll suggestion above is excelent. I can roll just fine in flat water, but getting maytagged and inhaling a lung full of foam really hosed me.

noseclips and earplugs are fine for extending your practice sessions, but can give you a false sense of your abilities. I also feel woosey without them during practice, but unless you plan on wearing them whenever you paddle, it may be prudent to get water up your sinuses from time to time. Fresh water is particularly harsh in your sinuses and ears, so I plan on taking the plugs out towards the end of practice sessions, but it is something I will definitely do from now on, despite the inevitable sinus infections :frowning:

always wear a towline - your friend may need it to haul your butt to safety!!!

I don’t get nauseated until…
…someone shows me video of my mistakes.

OT - Tow Rope In Surf Zone

– Last Updated: Jul-04-05 4:25 AM EST –

generally not recommended. Entanglement potential as well "clothesline" potential for all folks coming out through the break zone. A stern toggle tow is generally the preferred method. If you were using long boats, a stern toggle tow is hard with alot of the standard top mounted handles (too high up for the swimmer). In this case, you may want to add on a thick of 1.5' rope with a big knot on the end so the swimmer's grip doesn't slip through the rope.

The thought of a long tow rope cutting through the surf zone gives me the creepers.


I learned to pre-medicate with
meclazine (new formula dramamine), about three hours before roll practice.

My problem might be related to gastroesophageal reflux, too.

The meclazine helped.

Nausea vs. dizziness
I always use earplugs for rolling practice. They might reduce dizziness, but they do not absolutely stop it, because I feel disoriented when doing more than 3 rolls in quick succession.

Someone told me he threw up after doing 2 or 3 rolls. Don’t know if he wore ear plugs, but I suspect they would not have helped much.

OTOH, they certainly won’t hurt to try, and they do prevent that nasty post-submersion-water-in-head feeling.

You might want to try to
distinguish if you’re feeling nauseated (i.e. sick to your stomach, want to throw up) or dizzy (not sure which way is up, with some nausea thrown in as a natural consequence).

I know of one person who has simple nausea when rolling, but many many people report dizziness or vertigo. Many adults cannot place their head back below their bodies without some mild positional vertigo (some people get it when they pitch their tent on a slope and sleep with their head lower than their feet).

Another form of vertigo is caused by cold water striking the ear drums. This is due to a reflex motion of the eyes, and is in fact used to test brain function in comatose people–a squirt of cold water causes rapid back-and-forth eye movements (“nystagmus”). This vertigo can be quite disabling–a good kayaker nearly drowned in Connecticut a few years ago due to vertigo when he rolled.

Strangely, your body uses not only visual cues and those from the vestibular system (balance organs, near the inner ear) to judge its balance, but also the feeling of anything around your head. So vertigo can arise from the movement of a cap, sunglass straps, or other things that create a sensation of movement around the head.

A possible cause of nausea from cold water is a vasovagal reflex. This can be averted by covering your neck and face, or wetting and cooling them first, which also helps prevent the “gasp reflex.”

(I personally suffer from Benign Positional Vertigo. Fortunately, rolling, rather than making it worse, actually makes it better–there’s an official treatment, the Epley Maneuver, which rolling mimics nicely. I figured this out after realizing I only got the vertigo in the winter, when I rolled less. I began purposefully rolling more all winter, and have hardly had any vertigo since. If I feel it coming on–I do 50-100 rolls, and it goes away.)


very interesting Sanjay
thanks for your productive input.