Rolling Question 4 Celia

I played around a bit more this weekend with attempting the balance thing you talked about a while back. I am still not able to do it without skulling a bit. without skulling I sink to about 60 degrees down, (or best I can tell). I put about half a breath of air in my paddle float and tucked it into my pfd and that was enough added boyancy to allow the move. With the float I can rise while extended and using my hips to rotate the boat to just under the surface.

Taking that one step further I was able, (with the float inside my pfd), to essentially do a slow motion roll. About a ten count to extend, rotate the boat with my hips, and slowly float up to just under the surface. From that point a double skull and bending my torso and I come up.


*Could it be that I don’t have enough boyancy in my pfd. Should a pfd be enough with a rotated boat, (no snap), to float you up to near the surface.

Happy Paddling,


Relative Boat Volume
makes a difference. I can easily do a balance brace with my SOF (without tuiliq). Can only do a sculling brace with my Montauk. The latter has too much volume for me to achieve the balance. My 20" wide, Greenland S&G is right in the middle. I have to extend my (bouyant) GP way out over/past my head with one hand. I use my other hand to push my body away from the hull towards 90 and arch my back like heck. This allows the bouyancy of your body/gear to “balance” out the boat. This position allows me to balance brace with just my face out of the water. Of course, when I wear a tuiliq, then balance brace with the S&G is as easy as with the SOF because the tuiliq is a big float.


I’m no expert…

– Last Updated: Aug-28-06 10:10 AM EST –

this is a greenland move, which is an area that I have yet to get any formal work in. Actually I am signed up for a day of it at the DownEast Symposium in a couple of weeks. I just steal shamelessly when I see something that I can likely do. So there is no guarantee that what I'd do is what a proper traditional paddler would recommend.

That said, for the most part this is something that I generally can manage. So I can tell you what has helped me. By the way, it took me about a season of going at it to be able to rely on floating on my right side, and a while after that on my left. And a boat that is fairly friendly to it. The move basically requires a lot of relaxation to hold the position comfortably. Relaxation when my head is bobbing up and down under the water, the intermediate stage of this move, is something that has a taken a long, diligent amount of work to achieve at all. And I still have some time to go for when conditions are confusing.

So, a couple of things. First, you have to find the balance point where your boat tends to sit on its side and balance the weight of your torso in the water. Same hold as for a full-over scull, lower leg holding or pulling in and upper leg pushing away. The specific point will vary based on the hull design - in my Explorer LV, fairly slab sided, it'll hold at a right angle. In my Vela or in a Capella I have to push the boat futher away and at an angle more than 90 away from the water. As a result there are days when I am stiffer or more tired and it is more likely I can do this in the LV than in the Vela. You'll have to experiment with your boat to find that point.

As Sing said above (just noticed when I posted this), the boat can make a big diff. In flat water I have found that sometimes it is easier with boats that are too big for me in volume as long as they are amenable to sitting somewhere on theiir sides, but I could name a couple that aren't friendly about that and are way to big for me to hold.

Your torso has to be pretty rotated, over on your back as much as possible. This is the killer for a lot of people - I am pretty flexible. The easiest way to hold the rotation is to stick the hand closest to the stern under the edge of the boat, palm up to set that shoulder down lower. Grabbing deck lines may also work if you can't get around that far, if so still make sure the palm is up to keep the rear shoulder down. You can help this a bit by shifting your butt about an inch out of the seat.

The other hand is palm down, out from the body on the paddle shaft. The palm down on this side will help keep the shoulder down.

The way I first was able to get into it is what you are doing - I sculled and tried to feel where I had the boat up and in balance with my torso so there was virtually no weight on the paddle. If I shifted my hand under the side of the boat at that point it made it the rest of the way. Or, if possible, have someone hold you boat while you try to find the point.

I also found that having a paddle float on my hand, in shallow water so I could push off the bottom and not get tired with constant full dunks, was also a useful exercise.

And at first you'll tend to sink then come up again, which will happen as long as you hold the basic position and balance. Tension, moving around to adjust like crazy kills it at least at first. Over time you get to the sliding up on the rear deck part, but at first I couldn't come out of it without having to roll up. (Which is one reason my right side came first.)

Again, I have no idea whether this matches the approach of an expert of a coach. It's just what worked for me, and the palm up/palm down thing made the critical diff for my husband.

Later add - body proportions have an effect. Average size and weight women often have the edge here. A heavier torso makes the balance point a little finer to hang onto, a short torso compared to the rest of the body provides less surface to help float, that kind of thing. But it takes a while of trying to determine if that's an issue in itself and how much of one, since at first the biggest issues are flexibility and comfort in that position.