Rolling yak

Ok, I have resolved to learn to roll in 2005.

I would like suggestions of which seakayak would be easiest to learn to roll in, for a short - 5’2", but not small paddler.

I have browsed through the archives, I have a good paddle, solid paddle float, books, dvds, and will take lessons. I would prefer a lightweight boat that could handle a coastal paddle.



it’s not the boat —
i’d suggest not buying a boat just to learn to roll in but rather, buy a boat that suits your needs best and then … learn to roll.

it’s technique, not the boat.

A few to try

A few boats you may want to demo that roll easily are:

Impex Outer Island

P&H Sirius (Although, you did say “light”, so I’m not sure any Brit boat would fit that criterion)

Impex Mystic

Wilderness Systems Tempest

Necky Chatham

Of course, if the money isn’t as important as learning to roll is, you could pick up a used old-school whitewater kayak on the cheap — they roll easier than most SK’s, and lots of us use them to practice & learn new rolls in. A used Perception Pirouette S or Super Sport, Dagger RPM, or Dagger Crossfire will run you about $250.



Oh, I have quite a few boats, and hopefully I’ll eventually learn to roll in more than one boat - I don’t think the Pamlico 160T would roll.

I plan on taking whitewater classes in the spring and then I’ll probably get a WW boat (or two)



Since yo brough up the mystic
Let me recommend the montauk from impex. A great sea kayak for the smaller paddler.

Short but not small

– Last Updated: Dec-01-04 3:37 PM EST –

means that you will be more stable than an "average" paddler in the same boat. You'll be fine with a fairly narrow beam, and you'll want a low foredeck for more comfortable paddling. Whatever you get, make sure to pad it out so that you fit well.

My wife has the same body type, and is very happy with her WS Tchaika Pro. Her problem with rolling bigger boats was that she'd just fall out of the cockpit before she had a chance to try to roll. I ended up adding custom thigh braces to her previous boat.

If you are planning on getting a WW
You can pick up an old school WW boat for $200 dollars, used newer decent planing bottom boats for $300-$400 dollars. Take your rolling class then go try some of the whitewater boats out, and keep working on your roll in that boat, they are nice to have around for pool practice, surfing and just knocking around paddling.

Last Year in Pool Skool
we had to use the boats that were provided. Wide boats were bad. Narrow boats were good.

I’d have to agree
with some of the others, get an older w/w boat and take advantage of any local pool sessions. I learned how to roll in an old Baldwin, polished the skills in an oldtown Mark 4 ( yes, I’m antique school myself). The skills, once solid, don’t take much to recover. I hadn’t been in a boat for over 12 years and immedaitely rolled on & off side, and thru in a hand roll, which I had never done before. Look for a w/w boat with rounded sides, probably a displacement rather than planning hull, a Red line, RPM, etc. Maybe a dancer or something slightly more recent but similar in design. I have friends who have problems learning to combat roll with some of the newer planning hull boats. Once you have the roll figured out and fairly reliable THEN you should have little problem transitioning to a touring boat. I don’t think you’ll ever roll a Palmico however, too wide, too bag a cockpit. I’ve had no problem rolling my Easy Rider eskimo 17 but never have had to combat roll in it.

Before you buy a boat …
Find out if where you intend to take lessons provides boats. Our pool program does and many do. You can learn to roll in a pool (the best place) and not have to pay anything except the fee for the lessons. Put off buying a boat as long as you can.

Where are you at in SoCal
If you are in San Diego sign up for Aqua-Adventures pool classes on Wednesday evenings.

My original post said that I would be taking classes. Greg and Jeff like to laugh at (with) me in the pool. I’m a dedicated lesson taker - I’m planning on the UCLA classes as well as whitewater classes up north and back east.

I just want another kayak.

I have a T170.

Everybody seems to have good things to say about Impex, but I’ll probably wait until I go to NC in the spring and try them then.

I’m considering the Tchaika because it appears to be a bit different than other boats.


My 5’ wife is very happy with hers – she’s faster and more comfortable than she was in her longer Avocet RM. You’ll probably need a larger bow air bag – the stock one is sized for folks who use the whole footpeg rail.

I’m surprised to hear that,is the Tchaika simply lighter and easier to accellerate and move at normal speeds?

you don’t mention your weight but that’s a big boat appropriate for 200lb paddlers. If you’re around 175lbs you could make the Tchaika fly as a day boat,if you’re looking at pricey composite boats then maybe a P&H vela.