Starter hand roll technique?

A while back, I learned how to hand roll and norsaq roll (thanks again Keith). This past week, I was at the pool session and just couldn’t for the life of me get 'em back. I was visualizing the motions again today and realized I was trying to do them with a palm up recovery again out of habit (like standard greenland roll). Keith taught me palm down and had me doing it pretty consistantly, which will give me something to work on next week. I guess what I really want to know is when y’all learned hand rolls, what was the first/easiest method you started out with? Double pumper, C-to-C, one hand layback, palm up, or palm down, etc? If you feel so inclined, please run through the steps of whichever one you prefered. Thanks.


double pumper is a WW hand roll…if you want to do the Greenland style hands roll, it’s palm up

done the same as a Angel roll…get your back flat on the water and your heart to the sky…and…relax

curl the boat with your legs while you float onto the rear deck

practice this exercise

Best Wishes


Just went thru this

– Last Updated: Feb-23-07 4:01 PM EST –

I went into this round of pool sessions with a goal of getting a hand roll on at least the right side. Got the first one a few weeks ago and tossed the paddle completely out of reach-if-needed last Tuesday night and knocked down 3 in a row no trouble, so it's real fresh.

The specific approach that has just worked best for me is what I think is the double-pumper. But I am presently working in a Dagger Piedra, an old style WW boat. This may affect which one works best. Reach out and slap the upper (left) hand down, bring the other hand down behind it while the left finsihes its downward motion and starts to swing up over the boat. The slap of the left hand of the water is when the hip snap starts, or slightly before better, then the right hand is just providing a smidge of support while the boat brings up my torso.

I tried hand sculling up in the Piedra, which on a decent day I can do on my right, then stopping over in a balance brace before coming on up, but the hand-hand thing seems to kick off my hip snap a little more reliably. And mayhaps this approach will work better in my Explorer LV than in the Piedra - lower rear deck. What exactly the roll would be called based on my position as I come up I don't know - wasn't noticing that much.

I am finding that this works fine from a half roll, by the way. At 135 pounds it is not uncommon to go for a full roll and have to hand paddle to the other side even in a WW boat, so some of the time I am not bothering with the full roll.

Got it back and for good!
Not trying to dredge up an old thread really, just wrap it up for those who may seek archive info.

I went to the pool session tonight and worked on hand rolls. What worked for me was starting with the norsaq again until I was comfy, then choked up on the handle progressively until it felt more like a hindrance than an aid anymore. At that point, I went to just hands. What I learned, for me in an old school WW kayak, was that the double pumper, hands down was by far the easiest and most reliable method for my starter hand roll. Right or wrong, I also found this true with the norsaq assisted rolls…Palm down with both hands is wrong for traditional rolls, I know but these were the facts. I can now do a hand roll from a dead stop up side down, so from here, I can learn the others with more confidence. Thanks for the responses and the good step-by-steps.


I found learning the norsaq
and handroll to be easiest with the palm down because it gives your arm more rotation. After I developed the technique better I was then able to do them palm up. If it is late in a rolling session and I’m getting tired and my palm up handroll fails I will go to the palm down handroll and pop back up. After you get the palm up handroll down try a closed fist. This will refine your technique even more. Enjoy.

definitely palm down when learning…
I do the double pump palm down hand roll in real situations (both forward finishing or laying back) since it is more powerful and forgiving of hipsnap timing. It’s also what I teach primarily for people learning the hand roll for the first time. Palm up hand rolling is more of a finesse thing and while I practice with palm up and use that roll for rolling demos, it’s more of a demonstration of skill versus the easiest way to hand roll a boat.

does it palm down.

Here’s another way I use to help people learn to hand roll

There is a video clip as well.

Oh, I guess this would be a “hand down” method. LOL!!

great stuff, thanks
Thanks for the clip, derrick. I want to try that this weekend.

Very nice blog BTW.

Up then down
Thanks for starting this post, Longshadow.

I hit my first 8 or so norsaq rolls today. I tried palm down but just couldn’t get a good sweep that way for the first 40 degrees. It didn’t seem like I could wind up my torso as well, or sweep outward as well, for that first 40 degrees or so.

Previously I had been trying palm up the whole way, and also palm up with a quick switch and sweep downward at the very end. That switch to palm down at the very end hasn’t been effective for me.

Here’s what worked today. Palm up for the first 90 degrees, then quick switch to palm down and leg lift while finishing the sweep out another 20 degrees and then sweep downward to finish the recovery. So now I’m palm down for about the last 1/3 of the role. And yes, I’m muscling it some. Over time I can work on completing the entire roll with palm up, but this was good progress today.

Love the discussions here.

Paul S.