Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The art of rolling

Dean setting up to roll

Last summer I lost my roll for a while. Its such a mental thing that once I lost it I lost confidence that I could retrieve it. It came back of course but it was a bit unsettling.

I went back to basics; proper set up, slower full sweep, keep head down and hip snap. I know sometimes I don't have the best of form when I feel like I've just powered my way to the surface. That feeling I think comes from not tucking forward enough to the front deck at set-up. Hanging too much below the kayak at set-up is making yourself like the massive keel of a yacht - designed to keep the boat from going over in wind. Therefore, it also works against the motion to get the kayak rolling up or requires much more power to get up.

Setting up close to the front deck means a better wind-up for the sweep roll and it also puts the paddler closer to the surface at the start of the roll.

One thing I found that helped me was to fill the cockpit with water and roll without the skirt attached. It slows the entire roll sequence down.

I'm far from an expert on the subject but its my 2 cents worth anyway.


  1. Whatever gets me out of the 'low oxygen' zone is good enough for me :-) I found it hardest to actually keep myself in the boat when I was learning to roll. I'd be so focused on my paddle that i'd forget to 'lock' myself in with my legs that as soon as i'd sweep my paddle i'd pop right out!

  2. Breathing is good so whatever works to that end when upside down is also good. While I have a roll that seems to be consistent now, I know in my own mind that it needs work.

    Tony :-)

  3. Thank you for your thoughts Tony. Sounds familiar.