Successful roll!

I recently attended two Rolling and Bracing workshops put on by Tom and Ed at Virginia Sea Kayak Center. During the first workshop I was able to successfully roll on my on-side as well as re-enter and roll! Amazing! Who’da thunk!

The second workshop was more focused on bracing (at my request) - I still need more practice w/the high brace. We worked a bit on the on-side roll and the re-enter and roll. At the end of the class Tom suggested that I try an off-side roll, “Just to see what happens”. I rolled around so fast that I almost went all the way over and in again! I rolled about three more times on the off-side and nailed them all. In fact, the off-side felt as comfortable and natural, if not more so, than my on-side. Perhaps I need to change sides?

These guys are great instructors (it definitely isn’t the student!). I would highly recommend taking a class from them if you’re in the area (I’ve taken the Sea Kayak Surfing, Surf Zone Strategies, Open Water Paddling, Navigation & Rescues and Strokes Refinement classes from them). I always have a great time and learn a lot from these fellas. I can’t wait for the next workshop to practice rolling and bracing!

Thanks again guys!


great job!

Thank you!

Way to go Tony!
That’s awesome - maybe you can help me with my offside now! I haven’t been down to the Beach since that weekend we paddled, but hope to get down soon. Great job on the rolls - now practice, practice, practice.


Good, now 1000 in the next month.
And you’ll have a roll for life.

Take Salty’s advice

– Last Updated: Feb-16-08 8:33 PM EST –


Do 1,000 more.

edited to add: Ha! I knew he would say that and was trying to beat him to the punch!

change sides??
good job on the rolling!!!

Now make them both your “onside”

Thanks all! I need to get a dive hood and get out in the cold water and practice in the real world.

Jamie - give me a yell next time you’re down this way - I’ll help you w/your off-side roll and you can help me w/the high brace. Maybe the next time w/get out it won’t be 6-8’ seas :wink:


and never set up before you flip
see how those Greenlanders do a nice tidy set up before they roll over? don’t do that. that’s not how you’ll get knocked over on the river or sea. try and learn how to roll from any position. throw your paddle behind you, flip over, and swim and find it then roll up, stuff like that. you’ll be well on your way to reliability when it counts. enjoy.

Never say never

– Last Updated: Feb-17-08 1:55 AM EST –

Good points on mixing it up, but I really don't see what "Greenland" has to do with it.

There are so many "Greenland" rolls that they cover a LOT of different positions even when done in practice or competition situations. Also, don't confuse the competition rolls (done a certain way for points) with the real world conditions and events most were developed for. Their variety addresses exactly the sort of options you're promoting.

Setup has it's place at first - no matter what roll is being learned. It's mostly just an orientation drill. Most who flip however - seemingly without setup - will go to some version of a setup position underwater as they initiate a roll - whatever the position needed for whatever roll - without much thought as they get better at it.

when learning a new roll
getting into the set up position is a great place to start. If you have the desire to learn some of the many greenland rolls you will develop a set position from almost every position there is while being upside down. Learning different rolls is fun and challenging and will make your original rolls much stronger and dependable. All the different rolls are actually just different braces. Don’t be afraid to expand your skills. Enjoy the journey.

To set up or not…

– Last Updated: Feb-17-08 10:08 AM EST –

Congrats! Feels great doesn't it?

You'll likely be back and forth on needing to set up. You are obviously a much quicker "get" on the roll than I was and a lot of others here, but most people still have better days and less good days at first. The setup is a good habit for the not-so-good days to reduce the likelihood of acquiring bad habits.

As to needing to tuck to get the boat around - in lower volume boats I find the same. In a practice situation I often have to hand paddle the boat around to tjhe other side even in my for-kids sized WW boat. And that's with trying to remember to tuck.
Somehow it's less of a problem in the real thing though.

Feels great indeed!
Thanks everyone for the advice. I realize that there’s a huge difference between rolling in a pool vs. getting knocked over unexpectedly while out paddling - thus the need for lots and lots of practice!

FWIW I found “First Roll” and “EJ’s Rolling and Bracing” videos to be a big help.


Always fun to watch people getting their first rolls. I thought it was a good idea to work on your offside roll on the first day to while your brain is still on it’s steep learning curve…I neglected my offside for a long time and found it a lot of work to make it reliable.

Salty is right…if you want a solid,trustworthy real world roll you will need a lot of practise in various conditions but make it fun. Several of the people I paddle with are rollaholics and I’ve learned a lot from them,mainly how to laugh and how to be comfortable at any degree of kayak rotation.