"The Kayak Roll" sweep question

Just recieved and watched the Kayak Roll DVD, having first learned a basic extended paddle roll via private instruction and Jay Babina’s DVD.

I’m confused on the paddle position of the sweep on this Kayak Roll DVD. The discussion on the DVD and everything I’ve learned thus far has the paddle skimming the surface of the water. All of the video however, at least to me, shows a dramatically angled paddle with the sweeping end pretty deep in the water, way below the surface. Am I just visualizing this incorrect or indeed is the paddle blade 1 to 3 feet below the surface on the DVD?

sweep roll versus C-to-C roll
I assume you are talking about the “Grace under Pressure” video?

The video describes a couple of different paddle rolls and you might be confusing them.

In a C-to-C roll there is no force righting the kayak during the sweep phase of the roll. The sweep of the paddle out to right angles with the boat merely positions the paddle in preparation for the hip snap, which rights the boat. If the paddler has enough reach and flexibility, ideally the paddle is kept above the water surface during the paddle sweep. At least the paddle should be at or above the water surface when the hip snap is initiated. If the paddle blade is significantly below the surface, the paddle will give less purchase to stabilize the upper body during the snap.

In the sweep roll (not to be confused with the sweep phase of the C-to-C roll) righting of the kayak occurs during the sweep phase of the roll. In other words, the sweep and hip snap are done simultaneously, rather than sequentially. As a result, the paddle blade will go below the surface at least some during the paddle sweep. You still want the paddle blade at or above the water surface during the setup before you initiate the sweep and hip snap, however.

If you watch a C-to-C roll in slow motion, you will see that the kayak does not rotate at all during the paddle sweep. In the sweep roll, however, the boat starts to rotate upwards almost as soon as the sweep is initiated.

The words and the demos are different
For almost all the demonstrations the paddle moves through the water rather than skimming across the top. But it doesn’t really matter. As long as the paddle moves with little or no resistance you will roll up.

C to C oh no
I was told that The Kayak Roll with Kent Ford and Mary DeRiemer is a sweep version and not C to C roll. No one in the video mentions either name however.

If this is indeed the C to C roll in the video, I have no desire to keep the video and learn it.

no resistance

– Last Updated: Jul-01-09 9:54 AM EST –

does that mean-basically avoiding a slanted climbing blade face angle?

yes and why
YES in a word.

Why? For this type of roll, the rotation of your kayak is dependent on torso rotation generating the PULL on the rolling hip and leg to rotate you up. A climbing blade slows or kills the paddle movement which is needed to keep rotating your torso. If you watch their diagnostic section they will explain this to you in several ways.

YES, the paddle blade is ideally at the surface during this. However, you can see on the video, that in WW boats with flat bottoms and high decks the blade will of necessity be below the surface due to the need to clear the hull to sweep out. On your kayak, with a long deck and a longer paddle blade the blade will be able to be closer to the surface.

In a C to C style, the flat, no climbing angle is important for a different reason, it is necessary to get the blade to 90 degrees quickly. Rotation force is generated differently in this style by the first C, that is crunching up to the boat, or curling up to the boat, then uncoiling this force down by the body and blade, which transmits force to rotate the boat in one forceful and quick movement.

ALL styles depend on you staying in the water, actually keeping the head down and even pushing down with the torso and head as you rotate the boat up. Totally counter intuitive and thus a very mentally challenging event!!!

neutral or slightly diving paddle angle dumps resistance and body posture keeps the blade on or near the surface.

don’t pull down

don’t raise your head

c/c vs sweep…learn 'em both. it’s ONLY a matter timing when you ‘snap’.


The Video Sucks IMO
I learned how to roll and then watched the video to get a bombproof roll and all the dogmatic prouncements are not quite accurate. Some of their helpful hints killed my roll and it took quite a bit of time to figure out why. It works for some people but did not work for me.

For getting a reliable roll without extended paddle Eric Jackson’s method works, and you learn how to roll with your paddle in “real life” positions … meaning not skimming the surface of the water.

yes refinement is golden
I say YES to steve also!!

dropping the head and torso is the what allows you to focus on rotating the boat.

pulling down on the blade, you forget that boat rotation is 95 % of how you come up, and by the action of pulling down you can actually stop the boat rotating.

It is hard for all of us to think of more than one thing under water, so the second we focus on the blade all goes to hell with the hips legs and boat.

don’t know
I either haven’t seen that video or don’t remember what roll or rolls are demonstrated.

The name of the video by Tommy DeCuir, Kathy Bolyn Medford and Joe Holt is Grace under Pressure: Learning the kayak roll.

The original VHS version focuses on the C-to-C roll but the DVD version includes the sweep roll as well.

Just out of curiosity, is there some particular reason you don’t want to learn the C-to-C roll?

One size fits no one
They should have said that for boats with hard chines for shorter Paddlers and for bigger short torso folks the pAddle should be as flat in the water as possible. That was why you were misled.

Congrats for figuring out which style works for you and your boat!!!

Each style works better for some folks and for some boats.

your paddle will sink
but that is not something that you are focusing on emulating. Imagine putting your hands around a monkey bar, and then crunching your knees up towards your stomach, feet leaving the ground. You know that pulling that bar down would do nothing towards accomplishing the crunch. It’s best that it stay’s in place, and the monkey bar will as it’s firmly attached to something. It’s simply there for support. Likewise, you think of the blade skimming accross the surface, so as not to confuse seeing that blade sink a foot underwater as an indication that you should try to make it do that. It happens on its own. The less opposing pressure you create, the less it will sink, but in no case are you trying to pull down on the paddle.

This video was great help to me. I’ve found no fault with it. They say it’s adaptable technique, and I think that’s true. I don’t find much difference in most rolls in terms of what muscles to relax and what motions help bring you upright, and what are the things that make a roll fail. I too have EJ’s video. Great stuff there too. I can tell you that having used The Kayak Roll, I had complete confidence in my roll, and there was nothing in EJ’s video later on that made me lose it. I even went right out and worked my way to doing EJ’s recommended high braces inserting my paddle completely vertically into the water. EJ encourages developing a lot of strength in your hip flick. This will only help a sweep roll. I personally have never noticed any contradictions between the two, certainly never felt that performing one style would interfere with the ability to perform a different style. As to losing your roll as a result, I’m guessing there may be more to explore there. You always have to look at what they’re doing as well as understand why they’re doing it, and then reason as to how it applies in a situation somehow distinctly different. What I learned in The Kayak Roll allowed me to try any of EJ’s techniques in his video without any concern of a wet exit.

IMO, best rolling video out there
As a student of rolling and as a rolling educator, I’ve ammassed a pretty good collection of rolling DVDs and literature. With that said, its my personal opinion that Kent Fords “The Kayak Roll” video is the best video for someone looking to learn how to teach a roll. As far as viewing it and doing it, EJ’s video is a bit more intuitive but the roll itself is more straightforward and less elegant (modified c-to-c).

Kent’s roll that he teaches in that video is a modified screw roll versus Jay’s roll which is a standard sweep roll. I personally think that a diving paddle (when done in concert with proper body mechanics), is optimal and the idea of “shedding the resistance” is an important but often overlooked concept. My perspective is that if you feel anything while rolling (and I mean ANYTHING), its a less efficient roll. A diving paddle modified screw roll when done properly feels like magic.

Have you seen this?
You Tube video?


Also worth reading are the comments from the author.

You need about a 15 minute tune up to your basic roll. You can fight with trying to learn on your own and you might get it - many do, but an instructor will have you going in no time.

That said, Kent Ford’s video is my favorite to teach from, but it doesn’t work for all. I sometimes use EJ’s method and often will go to an extended paddle greenland roll for some folks.

Kent Ford teaches a screw-sweep roll which is basically torso rotation and timing with no resistance on the paddle blade. When I roll with this method, my blade starts at the surface and ends up about 8 inches under water at the finish of the sweep.

I really like EJ’s video for developing and improving the hip snap. Practicing the hip snap with a vertical paddle is a great tip and is how I got my hand rolls going.

If your around this weekend give me a shout and we’ll find some clean water to get you going. Video of your shot on a small waterproof digital camera will help you compare what you are doing to Kent Ford’s video, so you know what still needs work.



Oh no! Not another “chines” post!!!
Gonna ignore this one.

Sweep to C

– Last Updated: Jul-01-09 5:47 PM EST –

Same sweep - different finish position. Definitely NOT a C-to-C.

Done right your body position will have the blade at or near the surface. Their descriptions add some important focus on the blade resistance. Some folks are OK with slight climbing angles during sweep (sort of a crutch to prevent diving) - but as the resistance builds the reaction to pull down increases (possibly causing the paddle to then dive. With more pulling the tendency of head to come up increases. As all this is going on the timing/positioning gets altered. By shedding this resistance and having a more neutral sweep (sweeping BODY with paddle along for the ride - sort of like core paddling vs arm paddling) you can avoid these instinctive and compounding errors and also not be as dependent on exact depth or path of blade (which can also lead to awareness of usefulness of a diving/slash roll too).

I agree it's a really good DVD, as is Jay's, as is EJ's (particularly the extras for instructors). I learned on Kent's (practicing mostly alone), resolved some "offside: issues with Jay's (and in some way's wish I'd had it first), and realized it's all a continuum and reminded limit thinking via EJ.

Anyone that has all three DVDs should be able to see the core components and the overlap of what really matters. The rest are variations that are all useful once the basics are down (using whatever to get there).

"The Kayak Roll" info is very well broken down, but all those bits can have you being a bit too mentally engaged to be physically aware and just feel what's happening. Learning to roll is largely a mental process, but you can't think it over (pun), and at some point most find it best to leave the mind on the surface (visualize/run through before, review/critique after) and let the body handle the rest.

I agree with Seadart
Some of the “helpful” rules don’t work for some people. You need to get a roll, and then try different things and zero in on what works best for you. What some guy can do in a video is pretty irrelevant and what they claim is critical may not agree with your degree of flexibility.

Amazingly cool
Nicely said Greyak!!!

My gf is learning to roll. Amazingly she is learning with No instructor

just by watching the kayak roll and doing each step. She is totally getting it!!

What I find cool is I am an instructor educator and can stand back and just enjoy her self directed learning.

Weirdly. I taught myself by visualizing the steps whilein bed one morning and by using a foam float.

Whypost this? I am realizing more and more what good insruction is varies by what each person needs.

All of the DVD’s have weaknesses
The Kayak Roll has a section on the “rolling knee” and while it is true that raising your head engages the wrong knee and restores the capsize, it also leaves the clear impression that it is raising the correct knee that rotates the boat. Rather, it is the hip (to which the knee is connected) that rotates the boat. Try rocking your boat with your knees and compare it with rocking your boat with your hips. Hips are stronger.

EJ’s video has people “cocking up” the paddle to teach the sweep portion of his modified C2C. Unfortunately that teaches students to move the paddle to point directly down when upside down. Some students adjust, some don’t.