The “Roll”

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These photos were taken of club members, and while not perfect technique (you should be looking down at the paddle as you come out of the water), show the graceful motion required to pull off just getting upright. By far the most difficult skill to master, the roll is the quickest way to right yourself in a kayak. Limber people have an advantage for doing this, as it is best to lean back and touch the rear deck as you perform this maneuver. The key for learning the roll is to get some good instruction starting off, because trying to do it the wrong way makes mastering it much more difficult. So get training from Jen at Aqua Adventures. It is money well spent.

The following two videos show the technique for a “beginner’s roll”, and an “advanced roll”. In the first video, I’m holding the paddle at the end, allowing for more “purchase”, using the full length of the paddle. Notice how I’m facing the paddle as I come out of the water, which is proper technique. While called a “beginner’s roll”, it can be used when you are in a situation where you must roll for safety purpose. This video is from years ago when Mike Franklin instructed me, and used his camera attached to my kayak as a learning aid. Click on the link below to view, then select “open” in the pop-up box.


In the second video, Dave Beckmann demonstrates a technique of leaning back when you come out of the water (the same technique as Mike Franklin is using in the photo-graphic which is on the back of our club T-shirt). Notice how he snaps his hips as he pushes his blade down on the water for a quick rotation. He practices this occasionally on the Wednesday night paddles…in the dark! 


-Contributed by Jay Murdock