what's your favorite roll technique

For touring/expedition kayaks? Benefits/Negatives of various techniques on different boats?

The One That Consistently Gets You Up…


agree with sing but…

– Last Updated: Jan-03-08 10:10 AM EST –

in the spirit of the original poster's question...

My favorite rolls are the storm roll, the slash roll, and the playboating backdeck roll. They all work in nearly any sort of kayak and are all extremely effective in rougher conditions. Of these three, the storm roll is by far the toughest to master but the most rewarding in my opinion.

Oh and as for my favorite roll to mess around with in sea kayaks... it's probably the under the hull sculling roll since I struggled with it for so long. It's a silly roll with no real practical application but it's a lot of fun. :)

one trick pony
backdeck roll, the only roll I’ve got

(although sometimes it morphs into a C-to-C)

Perfect the roll that works for you in real conditions . Then, PRACTICE! Vaughn Fulton

4 steps




works every time


The Devil is in the Details …
Yes once you know how this is true…

The path to enlightenment can be long and arduous

for those of us who are klutzes.

Yet the action is so simple, once you know how.

For me the bad detail was rolling the boat during the sweep as suggested by “the Kayak Roll Video”, with some hull shapes this kills the roll. Secret was learning to time the hip snap for being set up perfectly.

Something I found useful was Eric Jackson’s Rolling and Bracing video where he works on rolling no matter where the paddle is in the water.

For combat
GP: Eskimo roll.

Euro: Sweep to C.

Reason: For me, they’re easy and very robust. I think a main factor is that I have a lot of flexibility side to side and back. Not so much forward.



– Last Updated: Jan-03-08 2:29 PM EST –

I would hazard you (and most long boaters) are not doing a backdeck roll (low brace reverse roll). Backdeck roll is more the province of playboaters. You are probably doing a layback roll. Greenland technique some folks would use extended paddle reverse sweep (low brace). Some folks using a Euro may resort to a reverse sweep to C2C (high brace). But I rarely see anyone doing that roll outside of practice.


paddle up beside …
… then point to the opposite shore and say, “Oh my goodness, I’ve never actually seen one of those in the wild, ever.”

Then I quickly use my paddle to push them over at the shoulders.


– Last Updated: Jan-03-08 6:09 PM EST –

If the water's cold I roll up FAST.
If the water's warm I roll up slow.

I calls 'em my fast roll and my slow roll.

Thank you flatpick and sing
no one cares what roll you do, …as long as you do it! No one likes to miss a wave cuz they have to help a swimmer. You do it, but it sucks.


Favorite roll
My favorite is the half roll. Actually sometimes it morphs into the 3/4 roll. Here’s how you do it. Capsize on either side. This is a true ambidextrous roll! Hold your breath. When you run out of air, just wet exit. If you’re really ambitious and physically fit and limber as I am you could try the 3/4 roll. Before running out of air try and twist up toward either side and either sweep your paddle outward from the boat or use your hands if you’ve lost your paddle. You should come close to the 3/4 mark. Again when air runs out just wet exit. Good luck! When was the last time you needed to learn something difficult and you were already half way there or in my advanced case three quarters of the way?

Little Debbie Swiss Rolls
are he best…

the left handed one

how do those rolls help in combat?
How does any method of rolling help in combat?

Seriously now. Eric Jackson teaches “lean back… keep your head back.” That works well for me. Much better than “keep your head down.”

combat defined
a ‘combat roll’ is a roll that works well in conditions when needed.

NOT a ‘hey watch…I can roll’ roll where you:

  1. put on your nose plug
  2. set up on your good (or only) side
  3. take a deep breath
  4. check your set up position
  5. look at your audience to make sure they’re watching

    6.let out the breath and take another
  6. check your set up AGAIN…adjusting grip
  7. and finally, in slow motion tip over and roll.

    steve (been teaching rolls for over 20 years)

another one
i like to point at someone and say “you’ve got a hole in your drytop under your arm!”, and when they lift up their arm to look, i push 'em over :slight_smile: