Rolling Questions????


I have just learned to roll. I will test these issues out the next time I get to go paddling but that won’t be for a couple of weeks probably.

I have been practicing my rolls using a nose plug so that I can focus on my technique without having to worry about getting water up my nose. My next step is to practice without the nose plug. Should I expect to get a lot of water up my nose? Do you need to continuosly exhale through your nose when you are upside down under water? I don’t want to be in for any big surprises when I try it for the first time.

My next question (and I know it varies from boat to boat) is this…which is easier to roll: whitewater boats or sea kayaks? I have been learning to roll on my whitewater boat ----a Dagger AQII. It seems easy to roll. When I try rolling my sea kayak will it likely be harder or easier to roll (I have a 17 foot Wilderness Systems Cape Horn).

thanks again for your help


nose plug
When you don’t use nose plugs just blow air slowly out of your nose while performing your roll.

Some sea kayaks are easier to roll than some whitewater kayaks and some whitewater kayaks are easier to roll than some sea kayaks. Lower volume, narrower kayaks are usually easier to roll.

…situation - just recently having gotten it myself.

I was using a mask for practice (like to see - and not loose contacts) - but realize the handicap and will practice without in future, but nose clips for extended practice still makes sense.

I only paddle sea kayak, so can’t compare to WW boat - although if you do find it harder - just slowing things down a bit should fix it. If you have any rolling videos that show both types of boats rolling, compare - with close attention to timing.

You don’t say what roll(S) you’re doing, but if it still seems harder in the long boat - go with the extended sweep roll, then work on others from there (which I have yet to do).

For WW boats

– Last Updated: Oct-03-04 4:40 PM EST –

it varies by boat and person. Here is a posting from Boater Talk that summarizes the answer for WW boats.
Many of the things talked about in that posting apply to touring boats as well. With practice you should be able to roll any boat. Just take the time to learn its characteristics and, if necessary, work on flexibility and strength of your abs and the muscles along the sides of your torso.

Nose Water
I’m not very good at the blowing out technique, so I just get water up my nose, When I am practicing at the pond or lake, I always wear nose plugs, fresh water up the nose sucks! I would practice your rolls without noseplugs in the ocean, the salt water in my nose doesn’t bother me much at all, It’s amazing how much water your sinuses can hold, you’ll find out after rolling, then when you bend over, it all drains out. I think it may even be good for your sinuses.

Thanks for the info. It is helpful so far. I use the C to C roll. This is the first one I tried and it works…so I probably will stick with it.

That link was good. That was kind of what I was thinking intuitively. I think my WW boat probably takes a bit more momentum to get it over (high volume, wide boat) but imagine it is more forgiving for a poor finish. That may bite me with my sea kayak, as I am not sure if I am doing a good job of brining my head up last…but still am nailing the roll every time. I will try to concentrate on my form a bit more.


Been told both ways:
“WW boat is easier to roll” and “Sea kayak is easier to roll.”

My own experience: the rented closed-deck WW kayak (not my SOT, which is a whole different ball of wax) was easier to roll than my CD Squall.

BUT BUT BUT BUT the WW kayak fit me better, thanks mainly to good outfitting and a much lower deck. I found I could relax a lot more with the WW kayak. All I had to do was reach out and sweep and the boat would practically roll itself. It did seem to have a sticking point, both in trying to capsize in the first place (sounds weird, but sometimes I found myself sort of hanging partway over without capsizing), and during the actual roll. Felt like there was a more distinctive “got it” point during the roll up, whereas in my sea kayaks the whole movement is more gradual.

BUT BUT BUT there are other factors involved. I am now mainly using my S&G (wood) sea kayak that has a very different hull design from the Squall, plus it is about an inch narrower beam and an inch lower deck height. I can tell the boat itself is easier to roll than my Squall, and at least as easy as rolling the WW kayak. However, the thigh braces are not quite in the right place for me, so I do not feel as relaxed as with the other kayaks. I have already added two pieces of minicell foam to the thigh brace area, and these improve control both for rolling and just plain paddling around. But to make the cockpit really fit me, I have a winter project: remove all the foam there and epoxy/fiberglass in some curved, carved wooden thigh braces a few inches farther back toward me. THEN pad the undersides of those with foam.

So keep in mind that outfitting makes a huge difference in how easy it is to roll a kayak. I did not find it necessary to change technique appreciably–just did not need to reach up as high with the WW kayak before starting the sweep.

I found the cape horn 17 surprisingly
easy to roll. Though the weight of the boat (compared to what I was used to) made me slow it down a touch. It was the first plastic sea kayak I rolled. I have a friend who paddles one.

Using a sweep roll? If so, no worries just might have to slow it down a bit.

water up the nose
I just make sure to exhale thru my nose as I surface so I don’t suck it all down as I take that first breath.

water up the nose
im really touchy about this- even when i am just jumping from a diving board i have to hold my nose so i definitly wear a nose clip for practice- but also any time i might roll. I only do whitewater so when i get in the river i clip it on and take it off when i am done. guess id feel differently if i were paddling a long way (touring) but i am sure if i capsized w/o my nose clip i would be joining the swim team.

also i am wandering the same thing about rolling- i can roll my w/w boat but i am interested in sea kayaking and wondering if i could roll something that big!

Yes you can.
Length has very little to do with it. Wider boats are harder ; flat sections of the hull make it harder; and sitting higher makes it quite a bit harder. An empty boat is harder to roll and having stuff on the deck (including a rudder) will make it harder. Want a challenge? Get a boat 24" wide with sharp chines and flat sections of the hull. Put the rudder up and put a big drybag on the deck. Finally add a couple of inches of foam padding to the seat. :slight_smile:

As far as water up the nose, my experience has been that without a nose plug if I do a planned roll water goes up my nose. I actually try sometimes NOT to blow air out of my nose and maintain that lost O2 in case I need it. Everytime I’ve done a true combat roll either in the surf or in whitewater I’ve never (knock wood or poloy or kevlar) had water go up my nose. Obviously in some combat rolls I’ve had a split second or two knowing that I’m going over but it doesn’t seem to matter - no water up the nose.

As far as W.W. and seakayaks and their ease of rolling my experience is that a slab-sided, ~90 degree chined, high-sided boat is more difficult to roll. A lot of recent W.W. boats are that way, especially rodeo’s.

Boat fit and water
I also just started hitting a roll somewhat reliably a few weeks ago, in my Explorer LV. And yeah - when I forget to put on the nose plugs in a planned roll a bodacious amount of water comes up my nose and it is totally distracting. I have decided to rolling with water up my nose in this spring, when I’ve had the next month and pool sessions over the winter to get the roll itself more stable.

I’ve been told by a whitewater paddler that you never get (or notice) the water up your nose if you flip in that environment. Similar to the above post - maybe there is something else that kicks in if it is the real deal.

AS to touring boats v. the Dagger you are getting up in - it comes down a lot to fit in the boat regardless of its size. I was occassionally getting up with my CD Squall a year or so ago, but couldn’t get the kind of percentages I am with the LV. Bottom line is that the tighter fitting boat (the LV) has made it much easier for me to actually progress. The LV is also more forgiving of form errors, but the fit is a huge component.

harder still?
… and if you really want a challenge - attach paddle floats to the deck lines on the same side of the boat as you will be recovering (paddle floats attached to the starboard perimeter lines for a right-side recovery). This will certainly stop a weak roll and allow only the strongest rolls to be successfull.

Start with just one paddle float and move up to two, three or even four floats for a greater challenge. Be carefull though, if you try to muscle it you may tweak a shoulder.