Stupid Question about rolling...

I have only recently gotten into kayaking. I bought myself a Liquidlogic Stingray for fathers day. I’ve been surfing all the websights about kayaking and hear alot about rolling. My kayak has a HUGE cockpit any I can’t imagine you could roll the kayak without filling it with water. I assume you have to have a skirt in order to roll, or am I missing something?

Not designed for rolling
I’ve seen people roll all sorts of boats but yours really isn’t designed for it. You want a boat where you can get good contact with your thighs so you can perform a “hip-snap”. There are other attributes that can make a boat easier to roll (narrower, lower back deck, etc.) depending on the type of roll.

Yes, people generally roll with a spray skirt or Inuit garment called a tuilic that seals the cockpit to keep water out.

So if you want to learn to roll (it’s lots of fun and a useful skill), I would recommend getting a second boat or taking lessons from someone who can supply the boat.

What is the right type of boat?

All whitewater kayaks are designed
to be rolled, and so-called sea kayaks are also designed to be rolled. The dealer where you got your Stingray will probably have rollable sea kayaks, and perhaps whitewater kayaks. The company that makes the Stingray also makes some very fine WW kayaks.

In the mean time…
don’t paddle further from shore than you’re willing to swim. No roll also means no re-entry in most cases. Be sure to have a long painter.

For the boat you have, I do not think
that you are going to be able to roll it. Evne if you have a cover for the cockpit, the opening is so big that the cover generally will not stand the weight of that much water on it. Besides, as others have already said, it is very wide.

But, that does not mean you cannot do some things to make a self-rescue easier. Get your self some medium sized dry bags and always take them with you; one ithe bow and one in the stern. Fill them with gear and use them to take up room that would otherwise be filled with water in the event that you capsize. The less water your boat takes on, the easier it is to recover from the event. Definitely get a good bilge pump. And invest in a high quality sponge.

It sort of works like this: your boat capsizes and takes on water. It needs to have enough + bouyancy so that it does not float below the surface (the bags); you re-enter the boat and get rid of most of the water inside (the pump); there will be some water that the bilge pump will not be able to get (the sponge). Now you are back on your way. And once you get to shore you can change into some dry clothes that you had in one of your bags.

Find a safe and sheltered area and practice turning your boat over and self-rescue. Pay attentio to how to stay with the boat, staying on the upstream/windward side, keeping track of your paddle. Get a paddle float and make a stirrup strap. Figure out wher to keep these things so that they will be availble and accessible to you when you are in the water.

Have fun, paddle on.


– Last Updated: Jun-25-06 7:44 AM EST –

Your boat looks to be an excellent example and fine specimen of what's known as a 'rec boat'. Loquidlogic even so defines their series of this kind of boat as "Trekreation", by which I assume they mean to capitalize in the ability of these boats to be paddled for an extensive period of time in a waterborne version of going on a trek.

That's all fine and good on flat water in good weather.

However, these boats are, unless in the hands of rather skilled and experienced paddles, not too well-adapted for "conditions" -surf, waves, much more than 1-2' close-period chop, brisk winds, and moderate to big boat wakes. Big water paddling is just about totally out of the question.

That "intercoastal canal" you refer to that the Intracoastal Waterway? If so, it might not be the best idea to paddle there any time soon, at least until you get considerably more seat time in progressively "worse" conditions, because -at least for us down here in Florida, where most of the Intracoastal -the "ICW" on charts -is the main arterial for boats paralleling the coast, and -again, for us down here, particularly in SE Florida -that means a lot of boat traffic, some large ones, some fast ones, all throwing wakes that will reflect back of bulkheads and shorelines to make the ICW sort of like riding on a cross between a pogo stick and a see-saw whose axis is constantly rotating.

Check out your boat: It's a nice, relatively wide and short (for those of us who paddle 20-23" boats it's wide, and relatively short for those of us who paddle boats in the 16-21' range) such that it seems like it's ferryboat wide, it's comfortably seated, looks like it's outfitted with behind-the-seat rod holders and drink holders. and it's VERY large cockpitted boat.

"Sea kayaks" are similarly nice boats. But these, as noted by the designation of "sea", are designed for the sea, and sea conditions.

So they, in contrast, tend to be relatively long and relatively narrow, are equally but completely differently comfortably fitted for seats, but ones which wrap the paddler very closely, and provide contact along hips, thighs, and the very lowest part of the back, may (or may not) have something akin to a drink holder molded into the seat between the paddlers legs, and have relatively small cockpits, sometimes alarmingly small, low ones. They are, as you might imagine, far easier to fit with a skirt than a large cockpitted boat.

All these characteristics makes these boats much more efficient at rolling. And rolling is the single best way to recover from a spill in the sea in a sea kayak.

It is, perhaps, the singular quality that makes a good sea kayak in the hands of a competent paddler one of the most seaworthy craft ever designed on the planet.

You'll also see it has a rear compartment sealed with a hatch, and nothing in the front. If it fills with water after a spill, and spills can happen for all the most seemingly illogical reasons at the most unexpected times in the world -the back end will tend to remain afloat higher in the water because of that little air compartment back there. If/when a rec boat fills with water, the front will tend to flood and the rear will tend to float. In extreme cases of a loner, narrower boat, the boat will float vertically –and assume the infamous “Cleopatra’s Needle” position.

Cleopatra’s Needle or not, that ‘aft end high(er)’ position makes getting the boat even as you attempt a reentry a more difficult proposition. And once filled, emptying the boat of that relatively enormous volume of water will be problematic to well nigh impossible with a normal kayak pump.

So Mike, get some seat time. Paddle you boat around and about and see how it feel when running with, against and quartering into and out of the wind. If there are waves, see the same thing.

Then do a little experiment. In shallow water -say, shoulder depth or so, tip out of the boat. Yeah -just lean over too far and dump.

And then see about how you might get back in (look up "paddle float reentry" here on P.NET in the "GuideLines" section in the left margin of the web page, and Google it for other takes for the basic method of reentry), and what it takes to get your boat back to shore where you can dump the water out of it.

And consider what might occur if, for example, you might do the same thing in the Intracoastal, or out in the ocean.

Just a word -or a couple hundred -to the wise to consider before they take a rec boat out "too far" and


-Frank in Miami