rolling question?

You don`t need
to be in deep water to roll. About 4ft. is all you need. When practicing and you miss a roll simply wet exit and walk your boat to shore empty it out and start over. You can practice for hours this way. Not a big deal.

Yes …You have connected with a very excelent instructor (and person)

Best Wishes


mask and snorkel
try this - mask with a snorkel routed down into the kayak. Now you can take your time if you don;t have it quite figured out.

Safe, but the1st time alone intimidates
Like you, I had one occasional rolling partner when learning (he’s the person who taught me to roll in the first place). Due to distance from each other, I quickly started practicing by myself. The biggest obstacle was definitely psychological! After the first time rolling alone, the other sessions were easy to face.

This is a psychological hurdle only. So make the venue one that you are very comfortable in, aside from rolling. Some factors to add comfort:

  1. Clear water was a HUGE psychological plus for me, even if I was not practicing with a dive mask on. Later on I closed my eyes while rolling (even with mask on), but I think it’s useful for learning to have one handy. The clear water means that you can simply look down (while upright) and see that there are no bottom obstructions or deadfall in the water.

  2. Overdress, temperature-wise. When I began learning to roll, I got chilled easily due to more failures (wet exits). Then my focus would deteriorate quickly. So I practiced with a drysuit even in summer.

  3. Practice close to a sandy or gravely shore with little wind and no waves to speak of. You can add those later, but at first anything but calm water was distracting to me.

  4. Keep it short. Don’t practice so long that your technique deteriorates. You don’t want your muscle memory to lock in with sloppy technique.

  5. Try to have a good roller critique you periodically. This boosts confidence when you continue to practice alone.

    Have fun, too! At first, I found rolling a task that I felt I “should” learn for safety reasons. After reaching sort of a threshold (whereupon I had few failures), it became enjoyable, especially in hot weather. After getting “the other side” down also, it really ramped up the fun factor.

I could not have said it better…YES,
It Is psychological for sure. I’m going to borrow a dive mask from a client that offered one a while back. I have a great spot that i practice the cowboy scramble etc…when alone.

I live on a big river/lake but the water levels are really high and the water murky. (a little freak factor for me) The mask will help. I am super excited to get out there and give it whirl on my own. I think slowing down my mind will make a big difference. I have been told that my roll is nice and slow and graceful. I can’t wait to have someone video it for me soon. Thanks…All the info. has been so helpful.

you are much closer than you think
Very soon I’m guessing you’ll look back on this point as just another stage of progression.

YEH…Can’t wait.
Love checking off the bucket list! :slight_smile:

One comment about eyes open/not

– Last Updated: Jun-17-11 11:55 AM EST –

If you need your eyes open for comfort at this stage, by all means continue to do so.

But at some point, and you can decide when that is, you need to get a roll by kinesthetic markers alone. By that I mean spatial awareness of your body relative to the boat, the water etc. I say this because I have seen people who relied on their vision to roll get messed up the first time that they had to roll when it was dark, or they were in swirly conditions where all you can really see is foam and air.

I haven't seen anyone totally flounder because of this surprise. So far the ones I know that have had this happen are well along in their roll and had enough confidence to just be surprised and get on with it. But I suppose it is a possibility.

I can't help you with the transition on this one. Even with a dive mask on it is a conscious effort to open my eyes under water. My eyes have always shut under water, so it was natural for me to learn to roll by body sensation since it was how I always swam and body surfed and dove (never did the high stuff) anyway. But it can be surprising if someone is used to seeing.

The mask would be just for me to
look around and the hanging upside down factor. I do close my eyes for the roll…but …well we will see what if the mask does. :slight_smile:

skirt problem
Some day you are going to put your skirt in place while leaving the strap inside. Now you will face panic, which can kill you.

When this happens remain calm and remember that your skirt is easily removed by grabbing at the long, straight side and pulling it out and then off.

I always leave my strap inside because it gets in the way.



– Last Updated: Jun-19-11 9:01 AM EST –

It is a good thing to regularly practice getting a skirt off without the loop. Stuff can happen. BUT - regularly setting yourself up that way is adding unnecessary risk, and an option that is much safer for people of larger scale in a boat with more deck available to grab than the OPer in a Scorpio LV.

I normally paddle with a neo skirt in a relatively small cockpit boat, and what many who recommend this forget is that paddlers in smaller scale setups often don't have as much real estate to grab. It makes it a little trickier to get good handful of skirt.

Oper is also in a plastic boat, which offers some options not normally available in a glass boat.

My personal accommodation (with a roll) has been stay with skirts that are neo deck with supplex tunnel, so that not everything stretches and pressure from a few points would take it off in a pinch. We often paddle fairly long runs when we are on vacation, and we come in pretty tired some days. A little bit of water in the cockpit with me is a whole lot less of an issue than having trouble in an emergency exit.


– Last Updated: Jun-19-11 9:42 PM EST –

to jump down your throat Sharkbait but this is one of the worst pieces of advice I've seen on this site. There are some boat/skirt combo's that can be VERY difficult to remove without the grab loop. Add in cold, gloves, exhaustion, a sudden, unexpected flip say in rough surf with no time to take in a deep breath and you could have a serious problem.

By the way, just what does your grab loop "get in the way" of?

(Unless you're trolling, which I think has been happening quite a bit around here lately.)

Give that advice to…
…the experienced, woman paddler in Philadelphia a few years ago who was practicing rolling, left the loop in, couldn’t get the skirt off to exit and


As JBernard said: "What does the grab loop get in the way of? Inquiring, overly cautious minds want to know.

I wanted to ask
but am glad someone else did. About the grab loop getting in the way of…

Horrible Horrible Advice
from Sharkbait.May have been the worst advice ever given on pnet. I have been paddling for a while and have never once had my grab loop tucked inside my boat. If it gets in the way of anything you got a really bad stroke.

Even less water is needed
I used to practice in about 2 ft of water. If you tuck forward on the entree you can easily come around in very little water. Then if you blow the roll, you push off the bottom. There’s no reason to not practice by yourself and no reason to be coming out of a boat.

^how to avoid this^
Fasten (sew) something large like a whiffleball to the grab loop of your spray skirt. That way you can’t help but notice the loop while you’re putting the skirt on.

Frowned on by some in rocks
OPer does some rock garden work… time in midcoast Maine. If she has gotten the same advice I have, she’d be told to take anything like a decent sized ball off the grab loop. I did have one, but was getting enough heat on it that I just went to a short length of plastic tubing (taped back together after splitting to get it on) to help create a more affirmative loop shape without adding mass.

It has worked quite well for a few years now.

What is the rationale for avoiding grab balls?

The expected

– Last Updated: Jun-20-11 10:49 AM EST –

If you end up getting dragged around on rocks or pushed up against them working something like a slot in decent waves, the grab loop could catch. I think the scenario was that either you'd be unable to get your own hand on it to control it, or that the skirt could pull and you'd be out of the boat, or you'd be out of the boat but still in the skirt (which is stuck in the rock).

Latter two options in particular could be very bad. Getting closer into slots in even pretty moderate waves, I wasn't going to fight them about taking it off.

Overall, similar to the reception you'd get showing up to do WW with a ball on the end of that loop, at least when I've worked with anyone.