Rolling: Sweep Roll vs. C to C Roll???

Okay, I am not trying to start another rudder vs. skeg or canoe vs. kayak thread here.

I just wanted to get some alternate points of view.

I taught myself to roll and the C to C was the one that I was able to get on my own without any instruction. I feel comfortable with it.

Around here though it seems that all use the sweep roll. They tell me that it is a superior roll because it is much more effective than the C to C.

I know that there is some personal preference here and probably you should stick with what feels comfortable, but I wanted to see if this is a general consensus that the sweep roll is more effective. If so, then I will probably take the time to learn it.



What is the difference
Before I venture my opinion I’ll ask you what is the difference.

If you tell me that the sweep roll incorporates a lay back then further scchooling is necessary.

sweep roll is more versatile

– Last Updated: Mar-05-05 9:01 AM EST –

I would like to preface this by saying that most rolls are "worth learning" and that it is definitely time well spent expanding your rolling skills. In terms of c-to-c vs. sweep, my preference is the sweep roll (or slash roll). A sweep roll requires less setup steps as a c-to-c. Also it can instantly be linked to other rolls if you fail (ie. sweep to forward sweep, sweep to scull, etc.) unlike a failed c-to-c attemp. In terms of whitewater, a sweep is much more effective in highly aerated water than the c-to-c as you are able to roll by reaching deep into the green water. For boats with extremely high rear combings, it is sometimes easier to do a c-to-c, but most boats roll easier with a sweep roll as the c-to-c requires much more violent movements on the part of the paddler and requires additional flexibility that many people do not have. With that said, learn both rolls on both sides and then use whichever one you feel comfortable with as your standard roll.

any roll that allows you to reach air
is a good one.

If you already have one, work on getting the offside, if you have the offside roll, get another roll, sweep, c-c, backdeck steyr, or something, can’t hurt.

I still use a c-c roll in surf, whitewater. If i’m a bit tired I do wind up on the backdeck, but it’s a c-c.

But I also use the storm roll alot.

Vertical paddle roll is also a great roll to know.

I’m trying to keep it to the one’s I think can easily be done with both a GP and a euro paddle.

Why would you want to think one roll is better than another? It is the objective that counts, oxygen.

They tell me…

What is a person to do when your own experience is counter to what others say? Kayaking is an intensely personal experience, do what works for you and then learn different styles to see what is superior for you, your boat, the conditions you need it for, and the fit between you and your boat. We come big medium and small torso arm length, strength, etc. If people just give you the FACTS about the concrete differences in the technique you will miss learning what is right for you, careful on listening to folks all too willing to say categorically one is superior.

I learned Whitewater first. C to C was taught me too so I could come up in constricted places, get my torso up and away from rocks fast and start paddling for balance. Even so, I found a modified C to C with a little sweep to start the boat rolling and me headed to surface before the punch made for an even faster and surer foamy water roll. So experiment for yourself!!!

Way to go to learn the C to C!!!

Knowledge is power

– Last Updated: Mar-05-05 11:05 AM EST –

The first roll I learned was the C to C. It's what the instructor was teaching that day. In my opinion, the more skills you have, the better to handle any situation, so learn as many different techniques as you can. I find very little difference between the various rolling techniques and had difficulty distinguishing them from each other at first. As a whitewater boater, I want to know as many different ways to roll as possible without being restricted to first moving into a specific set-up position. I've seen experienced paddlers capsize and roll back up in one fluid motion with no detectable set-up manuever. This ability comes with being able to effect a roll from any starting position.

Some of each?
I had the experience of asking two equally qualified teachers which of the sweep or the C-to-C would be the most reliable in messy conditions, and gotten exactly opposite answers. Since our highest risk is in the ocean and the water surface is the most likely to be somewhat vertical, and paddle control is still the most vulnerable part of my roll, my personal preference would be to set an image of doing a C-to-C. But that’s just me. I suspect a Storm roll is the best all-around solution (which I hope to get this season).

Most people have said what I actually do is a C-to-C with a kinda sweep start. But… both the person who prefers a C-to-C and the person who prefers a sweep have been equally happy with what I do. Go figure.

I guess my point is that unless you want to enter competitons it comes down to what’ll be reliable for you, as long as you avoid major risks. (for ex, coming up in a position that doesn’t leave you ready to promptly get the boat moving in the water again).

Just have a good time getting up. After all the time it took me, my summary is still that the biggest payback is that it feels so cool!


I agree with the other posters who say you should be able to roll the boat in mulitple ways. The debate is pretty much mute when you need the roll. You are just going to use, or try to use what you know. The more you know, the better your odds. If the one roll you know will not work in the enviroment you’re in, you are hosed no matter how good you are at that rolling style. So my nickle is that you can’t put all your hopes on one roll. but hey, what do I know?? :slight_smile:

Getting more oomph
I got into some bad muscle memory learning a sweep and found myself stalling out/lifting head/flopping back/yuck. So I took a suggestion to try sweeping out to 90 degrees and then give 'er heck with a hip snap (or more accurately a knee crunch). Also more than willing to lay back some. Maybe I need some video to see what I really do but I think it is helping break a bad cycle.

I agree with another poster - get your off side using whatever works and then start playing with different techniques. Play with rolling different speeds, too.

Pragmatic Vs. Dogmatic
Definitely agree that whatever roll gets you up consistently to breathe is a good one. Debating which roll is “better” is like debating which boat, i.e. ww, touring, surf, etc. is better. The fact is different factors at work. As long as you can respond effectively with the equipment, it’s good.


Do what you gots to do!
Well, you can talk until you are blue in the face about which roll is better and, in the end, if you have a human head you will come to the conclusion that all of them do pretty much the same darn thing. Anyone who tells you that one roll is better than the next is just trying to make themselves feel important. Make the one you have a 100% roll and you will be fine. And good work on learning the roll. It’s fun, ain’t it?

disagree somewhat
This same discussion is had between paddlers who have 100% rolls of various different kinds. Although I agree that having a dependable roll (any kind) that you can rely on is the most important thing, various rolls have different strengths and weaknesses. C-to-C, sweep, storm, sculling rolls all have their strengths and weaknesses. My personal opinion is that if you have a large number of rolls and are confident in all of them, there is some value to learning which rolls are most effective in a variety of different situations. Sure if you’re just paddling calm water there is no advantage to one roll or another. It is a completely different story when you’re in highly aerated water, or an extremely shallow/rocky river, etc. Will I do a full layback in a rocky river? Of course not, I will either do a standard sweep with a slight layback or sweep forward to end up closer to my deck in a more protected position. In certain situations in a sea kayak, I may be too exhausted to effectively do a C-to-C roll. In that case I may rely on a sculling roll or an extended paddle roll as both require less hipsnap. If you only have one type of roll and you’re trying to justify it, that’s one thing. If you have many rolls and are trying to figure out what’s the optimal roll in a particular situation, that’s a valid and worthy discussion.

Well, Yeah…

– Last Updated: Mar-07-05 5:08 AM EST –

more (dependable) rolls are better, but Bowler just got himself a C2C and is somewhat feeling concerned because he says folks think a "sweep roll" is better and more effective. I think getting a dependable roll is better, whichever that is for the boat he is using. Effective is what gets you up consistently. If a C2C gets him up over an nonexistent sweep roll, than the C2C for him is an "effective" roll.

Sure it's good to learn and get better at different rolls. But you can only go a step a time. Getting a C2C (or any other roll) is good first step. For all I know, He may be doing all the greenland rolls on the list in a couple years. He may have a fleet of boats and know which works best for the boat and venue. Who knows...


The BEST roll . . .
. . . is always the next one you have to learn.

Each roll is different, each one has some condition or circumstance in which it offers the best solution. Each roll presents some “challenge” to be mastered. Both the “C to C” and the “Sweep / Slash / Screw” rolls are common first steps towards building a repertoire of recovery strokes. Take what you have and make it better by learning something else. Then when you look back at your “standard” roll, you’ll have a slightly different view, a slightly better understanding of it.

Rolling has many forms, each of which teaches us something new about rolling in general, our bodies and how they move, our boats and how rolling works in various conditions. If you have one roll, you will have one perspective on rolling. If you have two rolls, you will have two perspectives to compare. If you have many rolls, you’ll have enough different perspectives to see how each of the rolling forms compare, good and bad, strong and weak, flexible or inflexible relative to various conditions.

The personal nature of paddling and the singularity of perspectives from people that may have only one or two rolls is the very stuff that fuels debates. Those with multiple varied perspectives see the thing quite differently. If you want to know which roll is best for you and your boat / conditions, then learn them all and make an educated personal choice as to which you prefer under which conditions.

A person’s first roll is sometimes a challenge to learn. Your second roll will require much less effort to learn, you third roll will require even less effort. When you come across a roll that is difficult for you to learn, take it as an indication that there is something in your form that can be addressed, can be improved. But stick with learning that next roll because the ones that are a challenge to learn offer us the some of the best lessons.



I try a sweep roll first, and if I miss,
then I set up carefully for a C2C. I have not found the C2C ineffective in foamy water. If one sets up and executes properly, the C2C is going to work.

Now, I am still paddling old-school boats, and the vastly superior, highly knowledgeable new-school boaters, who make me dizzy by squiggling rings around me like water beetles, say that a sweep roll can work better with their short, ugly craft. They ought to know.

Not c2c ineffective how it may be done
I agree, c2c is not intrinsically ineffecitve. As Jed says if you have multiple perspectives not a debate just a reminder of what is happening during a c2c that is not so good in foamy stuff.

For me, I was not one with the boat, but had segmented the moves and there was little if any boat rotation until I had the torso and paddle out there at 90. As I integrated my boat rotation, torso to surface and punched it, up in the foamy!


Also "Where?"
foam is indicative of some dynamic water movement. The issue is not so much which roll, but where. If the water is deep enough, reach down below and you’ll find support. However, if that doesn’t work, you’re rolling on the wrong side. Lots of foam in a hole, but if you try roll on the upstream side, the water movement will push the paddle and you down. Roll on the downsream side, and the foamy bubbling up of the water will lift the blade and you up like an elevator. Flip on an ocean wave is similar, if you roll on the shore side while moving, your chance of coming up is slimmer. Roll on the ocean side, that blade will raise you right up. If you don’t know which side, then simply wait until the wave releases you and then roll on whichever side you want. Ditto, if you flip in a foamy rapid, just wait some seconds and you’ll be in greener water and flowing in sync with the current. Rolling here is easier.

Not so much the specific technique but have the mental calmness to recognize the conditions you’re in and having patience to roll when it’s optimal.