rolling with WW kayak

I’m a sea-kayaking guy - not into WW kayaking.

I just learned to roll the seakayak last summer using Helen Wilson’s video. I’m pressed for time to hit the lakes this year - and since it’s difficult to get the seakayak into the inlaws pool - would practising on a ‘New Wave’ Mongoose in the pool make sense?



what kind of roll?
I am assuming that the Helen Wilson video teaches a relatively slow Greenland style lay back roll.

If so, this roll is going to be quite a bit harder to emulate in a Mongoose, or most any other whitewater kayak. The thickness of the rear cockpit coaming and the position of the seat and thigh hooks usually don’t allow most people to lay all the way back on the back deck.

But you can certainly try to approximate the motion and sea kayaks can certainly be rolled using the sweep (screw) rolls and usually even C-to-C rolls more commonly used by whitewater kayakers.

looks good

– Last Updated: Apr-24-12 12:55 PM EST –

From the photo I found, it's a creeker with a rounded displacement hull and a reasonable back deck. Should be a fine pool trainer.

I think practice makes sense
any way you get it is good.

Rolling in my short boats makes rolling in my sea kayak seem easy. Wider ranges of sensations that you can experience while still rolling successfully helps you prepare mentally for that time when you get surprised and need to roll.

It will work fine if you can lay back
It will work fine if you can lay back comfortably

Interesting technique, but not
essential for sea kayaking.

Part of the idea is
that the more ways you can come up the more likely you will be able to deal with a surprise capsize in varying water conditions. Makes a lot of sense to me. Essential? Probably not. But it sure looks like a lot of fun.

Few people will be able to develop
that much forward flexion in a kayak. I won’t. I can get it easily in a c-1, though I can’t lay back as far as I can in a kayak.

On all the technique variations, when I flip on a river full of rocks, I don’t want to be consulting a mental notebook. “Let’s see, put my paddle across back of my head, then…” Having just two basic rolls, slash and c to c, is actually an advantage. I also noticed that the demonstrator was sometimes “cheating” by falling over and rolling up without stopping his momentum. That isn’t usually going to work in real world conditions, though we all do it in the pool at times.

I prefer Eric Jackson’s approach, building on basic, stereotyped rolls, perceiving quickly, automatically how you are oriented and using body and blade to roll up from a wide variety of starting points. Probably the guy in the video can do that also. But taking that approach to pieces and showing “101 different rolls” may not be the best teaching approach.

Use the same paddle
To me, a significant difference between rolling a SK and a WW boat is in the paddle dexterity. I find the timing a little different between the paddle lengths. If you’re practicing for open water, use that paddle in your exercise.

rodeo roll
I have seen quite a few paddlers who conclude their sweep or C-to-C roll with a pronounced forward lean, and even more who conclude a hands roll that way.

While some of the paddle rolls demonstrated in that video I would regard as stunts that have no practical value (paddle behind the neck or behind the back, for example) one roll demonstrated has definite applicability for freestyle kayakers and possibly for sea kayakers who choose to surf their boats. That roll has been called the “rodeo roll” by most whitewater kayakers.

It was largely an invention of whitewater rodeo competitors who wanted to get up very quickly from a capsize during a retentive maneuver, before they washed out of the hole or off the wave. It is some times also called “the back deck roll” which is confusing because a sweep roll with a pronounced lay back on the rear deck is often also called a back deck roll, but is completely different. Apart from play boating and ocean surfing, it can also be very useful in the unpleasant situation in which a whitewater kayaker finds themselves jammed onto the rear deck in a shallow rapid.

Here is a demo from Chris Spelius:

Ken Whiting shows that it can be done very nicely in a sea kayak as well:

Another video with German translation showing the roll step by step:

In the Greenland style video the paddler does the last half of the rodeo roll with the paddle initially, then goes through the full motion of the rodeo roll with the paddle. Towards the very end, he does a full rodeo hands roll.

another view

same paddle
If I read the OP, he’s not getting into WW. He just wants a WW boat, which is easier to carry and use in a pool, to practice rolls. So I’m guessing he’ll be using his touring paddle.

I started out as a WW paddler so I learned to roll in WW boat. It transfer quite easily to a sea kayak.

So to the OP, go ahead and practice in a WW boat.

Yes - that is correct
… I’m into SKing - not WW. Getting to the pool is faster and closer for me - I can easily get a few hours a week in the pool using the Mongoose as opposed getting to the lake with my SK. Pool is a little tight for the SK.

And yes - I will be using my tour paddle in the pool. And from what I read so far - looks like I will benefit practising on the ‘New Wave Mongoose’.

is a great boat. Fine for pool rolling and much more.

the point…
The point of adding that video link was not for the forward finishing rolls, but to show someone practicing greenland rolls in the pool; which was the original posters question.

As far as the multiple ways to roll; I believe that the more ways that you can recover the better. As you practice and develop you will create your own mental map on how best to proceed.

That isn’t really any different than most C2C learning progressions. As you get better you can eliminate the setup and slice your paddle into a position that you can hip snap off of.

If I catch an edge while surfing and flip I am usually in already in a perfect position to try a backdeck roll. If successful I may still be on the feature and can continue my surf.