Rolling session rambling

I found last night that I can put a foam float on the off side paddle blade and take a couple of shots at a roll before I have to turn the paddle over and roll back up with the float. I think I may get it in a couple more sessions now that I don’t have to dump and pump after each attempt.

I can roll easily with the foam float or even an inflatable float with just a couple of puffs of air but each time I try with just the paddle, my head raises before the kayak. I almost got up once with a semi-extended paddle grip. I don’t think the paddle blade is diving, I think my arc is diving. After 2 hours my 52 yr old muscles were shot and I had to quit.

Golfers talk about a device to prevent head raising that involves a head band, a length of rope and a sharp hook but…not going to do it.

Any advise or tidbits appreciated


tennis ball
You could try tucking a tennis ball between your ear and shoulder and holding it there. If you can do that, guaranteed you will keep your head down.


Blow bubbles until you are upright

rotation not paddle arc
We can’t see what is happening, but if you are not rotating the boat sufficiently it makes you focus on the blade to get you up. Then as the whole thing stalls, we start to instinctively raise the head making it worse. But the problem is not mainly the head but the rotation.

Off side rotation is difficult for many. So Back up. put on the float annd isolate the rotation by NOT bringing the body up at all and repeat this until you are focused heavy duty on thorough rotation. Then go for it. I bet you have more luck now keeping that ol head down.

This is why hand rolling practice is so so useful really shows you how rotation of boat is about 95% of the whole enchilada.


Good ideas and thanks
These all sound like good ideas. Evans talking about rotation problems sounds like a pretty good description of what might be going on. I don’t remember putting focus on the blade to get up but I think the stall and head lift is right on.

I have watched the “Kayak Roll” dvd several times and I know what I want to do but I’m not sure that is what I am doing. If I could see myself once I would either fix my technique or promise myself never to try rolling in public again.

Kheyashunka, after playing golf for 30 years, I’ve become convinced that my muscles have no memory. Actually, it has been around 100 deg around here and I couldn’t talk myself out of the water.

Thanks all


One technique
that I use to keep my head in the right position is to try to keep my face at the surface of the water. When you start the roll you should have your face as close as possible to the water surface and as your rolling up turn your face so that it stays at the water surface as you finish the roll.

Head Back
I had a really great (for me) roll session last week when I focused on keeping my head BACK; not down.

"The Kayak Roll"
I learned from “Kayak Roll” and lessons. Try biting the shoulder strap of your pfd before you go over and keep biting until you come up. This should keep your head on your shoulder and not allow you to lift it.

One thing that worked for me was to have a friend film me with the video mode of a digital camera. I was then able to analyze my roll frame by frame on the computer and compare to “The Kayak Roll”. In my case I wasn’t getting to a good finish position, but the rest looked pretty good. I’m now working on my offside and hit three in a row at the end of a session on Thursday. Good luck!


Head options
Depends on finish position (or not once it works reliably).

Head “dink” with chin to shoulder is good for “Kayak Roll” modified sweep/sweep to C, and full on C2C (and of course braces which are the same thing). Keep eyes on paddle blade.

For layback - head back, looking up at the sky.

Both head positions work, as does everything in between. Put your head in the first position - then roll it back to the other. Not a huge movement is it?

Somewhere in the middle lies my patented “sweep to La-Z-Boy modified layback/reclined C with floppy dink back” L.

Unless for some reason you’re being graded on precise form for specific roll types by someone who sees them as being all that different -whatever works for individual boat/body blade right? “Proper” form is best of course to avoid bad habits - but if you have a range of good form between the various styles you have a wider window of success, no?

Drive head toward forearm

– Last Updated: Aug-06-05 8:30 PM EST –

If you initiate the roll that way and keep driving the head toward the forearm, that will not only keep you head down later in the roll, it will start your hip snap nicely at the beginning.

Of course your head never actually makes to to your forearm, but the motion of trying is what does the trick. Maybe say to yourself, I'm going to get a bite of that bicep if it kills me!

So, this is a variant on the head dink -- putting chin to shoulder -- but start with it.


Head to forearm
I think I like the head to forearm idea. I liked the bite the strap thing until I gave thought to the water I would be biting. It is probably fairly clean as lake water goes but it is still lake water.

I don’t think the layback will work because of the deck height and I don’t think back is one of the directions I bend anymore.

When I finally get it I will credit pnet with the win.



Finally rolled - thanks PNet
It’s not bomb proof, it’s not bullet proof, it’s not even nerf ball proof but after an hour last night I did prove that this kayak will roll and I can be the guy to make it happen.

I’ve been using my foam float on the off side blade so I could turn the paddle over after failed attempts and get myself back up. Last night I used the paddle float end to work on form and then turned the paddle back over to test the form. When I came up I was thinking that I must have failed to turn the paddle back over. I looked to the right expecting to see a big red foam float but saw only a normal blade.

I got one more in before I got tired and struggled to get up with the float. I then paddled for a couple of hours explaining to the deer and turkeys that I had just rolled my kayak.

They were not impressed.

Driving my head toward my forearm as suggested by djlewis helped keep my head down.