Why The Pause After a Roll?

nchill posted this video and it reminded me of a question I’ve had: Why do some folks pause, sorta freeze in place, at the end of a roll?


My last failed roll with a "pause"
I don’t knopw if you have ever read Derek Hutchinsons instructions on the roll, but as he describes it, he says while you are upside down under water, take the time to “pause”, relax and look around, and then set up for it.

About five or six years ago I was on the Gulf side of Bahia Honda Key, and was in about five feet of water and was following his instructions. I was upside down, and had “paused” and as I looked around, here came a very large Bull Shark heading right for me.

Needless to say that was the end of the “pause” !

Jack L

Waiting for applause?
I’d sure want some if I ever attempted such a thing, which I have no intention of doing.

Good Morning, Jack

– Last Updated: Jan-22-12 6:36 AM EST –

I bought that book. I want my money back! Glad the shark didn't get ya.

I'm fixin' ta bundle up for the Sunday morning hammerfest. The rain is gone. Now it's cold and windy. Taking the kayak to the pool this evening and I'm wondering if I should do those odd little poses after I roll. Maybe someone will tell me what it's for.

I teach to return to a paddling position and get into the first stroke ASAP for stability. Whatever condition capsized you may still be in effect.

It’s a competition thing
In Greenland rolling competitions, part of the scoring is based on what position you finish in, so people doing these rolls for show will hold that position for a second.

In real-life rolling, you want to get to an active paddling position as quickly as possible after the roll, so that you don’t get knocked down again.

It’s to train the last bit

– Last Updated: Jan-22-12 9:27 AM EST –

Finishing in and briefly holding the final desired position does two things. It helps train the habit of fully finishing a roll in terms of body mechanics, and for purposes like this video it helps the explanation of what things should look like.

My current boats are more forgiving and allow some errors once you have the boat mostly up, but in my first sea kayak it was as easy to lose the roll in the last half as the first half. It had to be correct all the way thru, no last minute sculls to save a lousy start. Doing this occasionally helps keep things working right, for me anyway.

Later add - Re the above about getting into a paddling position, it can be the same result. For folks who have been taught layback rolls, they can easily end up well out of paddling position if they don't add in a habit of moving forward some after they have gotten the boat reliably up.

Why not?
At least trying to learn a roll will help other skills and make you a safer paddler.

I don’t understand why people think it is such a “thing”. It’s just another position in the water.

Which do you think I should try it in
first? My sit-on-top, or my pack canoe?

My guess
I suspect that this hesitation before raising the trunk and head is simply to be certain that the boat is fully upright and stable before raising the center of gravity away from the axis of rotation. Some rolls are ruined by quitting too soon and some large boats roll up more slowly, especially if they contain water.

When rolling and open canoe, for example, it is important to keep the head and trunk down at gunwale level until the water contained in the boat has finished “sloshing” over to the offside.

I have also seen very good whitewater kayakers who favor a C-to-C roll exaggerate the “finish position” to train their bodies to allows complete the roll by assuming that position.

What about a loaner in a pool session?
OK, I get it that you haven’t sought to own boats that are often not associated with a lot of rolling. But I assume that you do need to brace in the SOT on occasion, yes? Most people find that they don’t get a really good brace until they have at least tried to learn a roll. The worst that happens is your brace gets better even if the roll never happens. And it can be fun to try.

More often than not a rolling session in a pool involves loaner boats because of concerns about people bringing their own dirty boats.

Thank You

– Last Updated: Jan-22-12 10:54 AM EST –

Makes sense. Some time back I asked what the value of the balance brace / static brace was. I got lots of different answers but yours makes the most sense. It's for show.

(and Jack, it wasn't a hammerfest. Only 3 of us biked this morning.)

Here’s why …
-;). You just got to, or your soda will spill…


Mach schau!


– Last Updated: Jan-22-12 11:16 AM EST –

other things ...when doing a demo of rolls, it accentuates the fact the the recovery from a balance brace is exactly the same as the recovery from a roll. rear deck recovery are all based on the balance brace, just as front deck recovery's are based on chest sculling. Learning the Balance Brace is learning the ending to a roll and so has extreme value. A roll is never blown in the beginning of the roll....it is always blown in the finish, so practicing and perfecting the finish is the perfecting of the Balance Brace

(this is why it is shown that way.....to emphasize the relationship between the two)

Best Wishes

2nd waiting for cheering
Somewhat shows how far removed from reality some Greenland rolls are

Static brace
If someone can get to a static brace they can likely do a hand roll if needed, and they can get to air when they are still learning.

I’ve known of coaches who used a static brace with paddlers who found it easy to get to and were nervous about the air thing to the point that they were rushing their rolls. In those cases it works very nicely.

I’ve used it to cool off in water when I didn’t want to put water up my nose like happens in a roll, and I just wanted to hang out without making an effort like sculling.

Granted it is not a way to come up in surf. But there are paddling situations in the more typical paddling, like day touring, where it could be helpful for a paddler to buy a little time with others not having to rush in for an immediate rescue.

This tends to be more of a girl thing and I suspect that is why so many paddlers find it necessary to diss it. Guys with more muscular torsos tend to find it harder to do than smaller women with a higher proportion of weight lower down. But it is just another thing someone can do in a boat, and some of us enjoy it. It seems to attract a level of dissing far beyond its importance.

I forgot
to mention that the pause also shows that you are not using the momentum of the kayak to complete the roll.

The pause is not done in real life rolling…usually only for practice and for rolling demo’s

Best Wishes


Aw, Celia,
You know I think you’re awesome and I always read your posts; in my opinion you are one of the most knowledgeable p.nutters. If I were interested in learning to roll, you are the one I’d pester with my questions.

But I’m getting old and life is short, and at this point, I’m only going to do what I really want to do, and rolling is not on the list.

I’ve never heard of anyone doing pool sessions down here. Everyone just paddles all year long.

What PNET is all about! Okay, there seem to be ‘balance brace bodies’ and ‘non balance brace bodies’.

Dear world,

Understand how stupid this logic is to us non balancers: Learn a difficult balance brace so you can do a roll which you already find easy.