Speaking of Rolling...

I lost mine. Anyone seen my roll?

I thought rolling a boat would be like riding a bike; once you learn how, you got it. You just get better with practice.

Naw. It’s really like a golf swing. One day you have it; the next day it’s gone.

Any advice regarding KEEPING a roll?

You’re going to hate this. .
Practice. Make it a habit to roll a few times almost everytime you go out. I would say everytime but in December, Jan, Feb. . there are days when even I don’t want to roll. This time of year I put my practice rolls in right before I land for the day so I have a nice warm truck to go to. But constant practice is the key. . .

Just don’t roll…
…that bike Rex!

That road rash burns like hell when you roll the kayak!



I hate when THAT happens!

Learn and practice a GREAT roll. practicing a BAD roll will get you just that… a BAD, schitzo, roll.

Not sure what to tell ya, but keep your head down, your body squared over your boat, your elbows in and low, your eyes on the blade and your paddle blade neutral.

same ol’


keeping the roll …
it’s all about actually having technique in the first place. when you don’t really have the mechanics down, you can manage a roll sometimes but it all goes away when you begin to use poor mechanics.

i’ll offer you the instruction again … i can look at what you’re doing when you do it right, and when you do it wrong, and help you with your mechanics. anytime you want to.


Thanks Everyone
Derrickam! I’ll keep practicing. Not gonna give up.

Jack! No crashes or rashes lately. I’m loving the replacement Land Shark and have bunches of miles on it now. Hope you all are doing well.

Steve! I think you’re especially on target regarding keeping the blade neutral. I have never focused on keeping my eye on the blade either. Maybe that’ll help.

Dan! I have a week off in early October. Is your shoulder good for a little kayak time? I’m glad Ophelia didn’t force you into “chainsaw mode”. We just got some really dark skies, breezes, and a few showers. Nelson is at Harker’s Island right now checking out the cottage. Hope it’s ok.

Thanks again, everyone.

My advice would be to…

– Last Updated: Sep-17-05 1:16 PM EST –

not just practice the roll during an outing but to use those skills needed to be a proficient roller: controlling the kayak with your hips and legs (leaning, edging - way leaned) and not just paddling harder on one side. Recover from extreme lean turns with the hips. Using a high brace often and recover from that with hip snap. I'd also suggest making your boat fit you so you have a solid connection to it if you don't already.

Rolling is accomplished by using a combination of skills. These skills all have other uses while paddling so separate them and use them all individually too. When you need to roll they will flow together.

I would just give up

– Last Updated: Sep-17-05 10:57 AM EST –

You don't want to get "all freaked out" about rolling and then just give up on kayaking all together, do you? This rolling stuff is just WAY overrated. I say just use your common sense and don't flip over in the first place! Maybe someone should work on developing a "Weeble-yak" that does not flip over.

Greyak's interested in product design... what do you think Greyak?

early october …

– Last Updated: Sep-17-05 12:07 PM EST –

i can't paddle but i can roll and help you with yours. early october is fine. you can stay overnight if you want .. have a spare bedroom.

I would practice even in
dec january and february, but that’s me. I continually practice skills, but I’m a nut. If you are using the skills in surf, challenging ww, or other conditions you are less likely to lose them too.

My Invention…
An air bag that inflates at a paddle blade at the push of a button. Instant paddle float! Roll right up.

Having rolled does not …
necessarily indicate ‘having a roll’. Now before you think I’m being a smart ass, rest assured I know EXACTLY where you’re coming from.

I’m a self taught roller who came up on his first try. Unfortunately, I went right over the other side but, hey, I rolled!

Anyway, I was using a large bladed Werner and found I could roll successfully during many practice sessions so I thought I ‘had’ a roll.

Then one day I tried another paddler’s Werner Little Dipper. Funny lookin’ little skinny blades. There was a 20mph breeze going and my practice pond had a mild chop going.

Sooo…, in front of an audience I proceeded to try and dazzle the folks with my roll and discovered I couldn’t get up. I could barely scull for support with that little blade and the lightly textured water. Tried several times and failed. Grabbed my big blades and got up but it was a sloppy roll. My confidence was shot and I went home and re-acquainted myself with my canoe! Stupid kayaks…

Studied a video, 'The Kayak Roll", and my technical error was obvious. I had been rolling using more of a high brace style which worked well with a big blade in calm water but that was it. I was counting on the blade and upper body strength to achieve the roll instead of getting the sweep I needed. Back to the pond…

Went back to an extended paddle method so I could really reach out and get a full sweep and ta-da… a roll with MUCH less effort! Practiced until I no longer needed the extension. Also learned the value of sculling practice. Additionally, I found my offside roll much easier with this change.

I think Airwave really nailed it in his response, do some sculling and related techniques prior to your first roll of the day. This will get you and your boat in the groove, so to speak.

BTW, when your roll feels consistent try your Tempest fully loaded. You won’t believe it! The 165s become a regular rolling machine when stuffed with gear.

Pleasant waters to ya.


It is almost impossible to analyze what you are doing wrong yourself. So get some competent person to watch you and advise you about what to correct. Remember back to when you were learning to roll. There were undoubtedly some things you had to correct. Those are your natural bad faults. You are probably doing them again. If you remember what they were, tell the person who is going to watch you so they know what to watch for expecially. Good luck.

Weeble Yak?

– Last Updated: Sep-17-05 1:11 PM EST –

Nah, I'll leave stuff like that to folks like the sponson guy and others who work on people's fears and encourage them not to develop skills appropriate to the equipment they have.

I think it's more fun to stick people in kayaks that are easier to tip. They get some perspective pretty quick.

I'm still trying to understand how people lose their roll. I can see missing some - for several reasons - but completely losing any ability to roll at all? Still seems like riding a bike to me. Hope it stays that way. I'd rather keep wondering than find out for myself.

Should do a lost roll poll. I'm curious about this and wonder about how they learned, what roll(s) they learned, their prior practice habits, if they took it to both sides, what boat's they're in, their outfitting, physical condition (changes), etc. There has to be some common ground or patterns in this.

Some things that help me
I feel your pain. Here are some things that have helped me:

Half-rolls. I don’t know why for sure but I do better when I go down and up on the same side. But that’s probably what you would want to do most (if you can roll both sides). Slicing the blade forward into the setup position then sweeping back helps keep the blade neutral.

Different kind of rolls. When I’m having trouble I concentrate on laying back to keep my knee engaged and to keep my head down. I’m thinking that a chain from my ear to my shoulder might help with the head thing. Also going to C to C sometimes helps me isolate the hip snap from the sweep mechanics and reminds my lower-half what it is supposed to be doing.

Try slowing down the roll. Especially with a lay-back you should be able to do it super slow. That will make it obvious if your paddle is diving first or if something else is going on.

Extending the paddle. I find sliding the paddle while keeping my hands on the shaft is plenty to help and doesn’t change the mechanics. This will slow the roll down too.

YMMV. I’m not saying this stuff always works for me but it has helped.

losing the roll
I am having a hard time with this too Kudzu/Greyak. Every time I go out I practice rolling (ok didn’t today but I had reasons to try and stay reasonably dry). I don’t know how you could lose your roll.

I will say this though, I always start my practice session with a same side half roll…just lean over to the left, fall in an sweep and snap right up. somehow, this must activate whatever neurons I have left and I have no problem for any subsequent full roll. I have begun trying to simulate situations where I might flip over and deliberately go over in akward mid stride or leaning wrong etc specifically to have to set up and get up. Now admittedly, I only have “one” roll, no offside or anything, am completely self taught and am probably doing everything wrong…but hey…I’m getting vertical.

Now what I don’t know how to do is scull…Maybe I do but have never seen one except with a GP once …anybody want to give me a description? I know it is something where you are on your side and your head is above water and you are using your paddle to keep you there…I think…


Lost a poor roll; keep a good one
I pretty much knew when I (finally) had a good roll, because it did not deteriorate. Before that, I definitely lost and regained it more than once.

That said, I can sometimes get lazy and start doing sloppy rolls, one of which will ultimately threaten to fail unless I consciously get it back on track. At times like that, a good conceptual knowledge of the mechanics helps, so you can diagnose just where you have gone sloppy, and have a trick or two that works for you to correct.

My best trick is consciously driving my head toward my forearm, not only to keep the head down, but also to initiate the hip snap (I used to watch the blade for that, but driving the head down works better for me). Another is checking the blade for the correct rising angle on the sweep. Another is not initiating the sweep too early, the cure for which is to do a couple of pure C-to-Cs, that is sweepless rollw.

And certainly you should practice a fair amount, even if you think you have it; try a roll or two nearly every time out and note how you are doing with your own potential weak points, even if the roll felt strong (“Hmmm… did I drive my head?” Was my blade angle good? Etc.)

Yes… it’s like a golf swing. But luckily, there is a lot less variation in the result.


lemme see…
sponsons, 4 foot keel board and a sail!

Using an EP
If you’re comfortable with a high-brace try adding a bit of sculling motion to it. Work into it and start out with just the motion and then move into more lean. It’s important not to reach your arms out too far from your body, keep them close. Use the outside hand as the “control hand” to guide the paddle.

Lotso reasons to lose it
Mine went south for a couple of weeks early this last summer after being fine since the previous fall, in much more comfy water than I was in when it felt solid in November, April and early May. Agree with above - don’t do rolls (or at least related skills like extreme braces or sculling) every paddle, eventually no roll any time. Though there can be a downside, you have to know when to stop. Part of my issue was that I was practicing errors.

Diff’s in my behaviors when it pretty much went away (then spontaneously reappeared and never failed again the next three weeks in Maine…):

I was messing around with trying to fix a couple of things, so I would execute one part of it fine but fail to time or put the right body motion into some other part. In sum, I was trying to alter my body memory a bit.

I started taking my hip snap for granted and it devolved (stole that from Sing).

I had not yet stabilized a decent scull, which started happening in Maine. This goes to being able to really feel the blade angle and your body going wrong on you before the whole thing falls apart. As my scull has come on line on each side it gets easier and easier to correct the blade angle and get my body back to the right position.