Rolling Question and Advice for Newbie

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kayakbiker
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Rolling Question and Advice for Newbie

Post by kayakbiker »

Hi
After a good few months of practice this year at my local loch I'm finally starting to roll more reliably on my offside It was hard work learning but I really enjoy it. Even in these cold conditions I'm still going out there for an hour or two most weekends While my roll isnt technically brilliant at present it works most of the time but occasionally it fails.
One of the problems I sometimes experience is I can't get myself up to the side of my kayak and thus I can't get my paddle to the surface. I'm not clear on what causes the problem but think it may be due to moving water and possibly because I sometimes have some water in the kayak. Sometimes a couple of pulls on the paddle helps to get me nearer the surface but sometimes not. For those that regular kayak in the sea with faster moving water can you please offer any advice please. I'm sure there must be something that I'm doing wrong as I'm paddling in relatively calm conditions. When I see some of the footage of kayak surfing and rolling I wonder how they do it.
I find it frustrating hanging upside down sometimes..lol

My kayak is a Delphin 155.

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Re: Rolling Question and Advice for Newbie

Post by Alec »

How flexible are you generally and how strong is your core?

You shouldn't be hanging upside down; when upside down you should sort of be doing a sit up - try and get your face as close as possible to the cockpit rim then twist your torso to the side and you should be able to get your hands and paddle up to the surface fairly easily.

Unless your kayak is absolutely swamped some water in the boat isn't going to be significantly affecting you.

Difficult to give much more advice without seeing a video of you rolling.

kayakbiker
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Re: Rolling Question and Advice for Newbie

Post by kayakbiker »

Hi Alec
Flexibility and strength not brilliant but not too bad either. I'm 16 stone 6ft2 so sometimes wonder if that maybe has something to do with my problem though.
Most of the time I get myself up there no problem. If i get stuck and pull on the paddle sometime's I get the kayak to tilt slightly and I'm up at the side again and ready to roll. Other times im completely upside down and no amount of pulling on the blade seems to help. I also wonder if my drysuit has an impact. Although I always make a point of burping it before heading out.

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Re: Rolling Question and Advice for Newbie

Post by Chris Bolton »

It sounds to me as if you're not going fully upside down. The extra buoyancy in a drysuit stops you. Also a high deck on the boat makes it sit tilted. The problem I find is that when I realise what's happened, switching sides underwater flips the boat the other way, so the problem remains. A bit of sculling (or a failed first attempt) usually gets the boat on the right edge.

When you see people rolling for real, not just falling in slowly for practice, they probably go right over.

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GrahamC
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Re: Rolling Question and Advice for Newbie

Post by GrahamC »

I have had this problem a few times. Air in my drysuit was the primary cause, in that case try coming up on the other side, as Chris says. There can be so much air that even sculling underwater won't take you round. Remember to burp your suit after a lunch/comfort stop!

The other reason could be trying to get the roll in too fast, before the boat has settled. It's amazing how fast things go upside down in cold water.
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Robert Craig
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Re: Rolling Question and Advice for Newbie

Post by Robert Craig »

Inclined to agree with the "too much buoyancy" explanation. I've seen a video of myself failing to find the surface, because the capsize has stopped at about 100 degrees (180 being upside down). Best way of checking might be to get someone to watch?

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Re: Rolling Question and Advice for Newbie

Post by MikeB »

All of the above - but picking up on the "hanging upside down comment", are you? As suggested, you need to be really "leaning forward". It's also worth trying / reverting to a palatta - if nothing else, there's more opportunity to have the blade out of the water. Then gradually shorten the grip until you get back to an ordinary roll / hold on the shaft. Out of interest, what roll are you using?

acostamorte
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Re: Rolling Question and Advice for Newbie

Post by acostamorte »

Stick a video camera on the back deck of the kayak and find some not too murky water. Failing that, or in addition to, get someone to take a video of you.

Should be fairly easy to self-diagnose with the video evidence..

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Re: Rolling Question and Advice for Newbie

Post by PlymouthDamo »

I used to occasionally come across the same problem, and it was always when I was learning a new roll. E.g trying to do a hand roll, I'd find I was miles away from the surface and the boat wasn't in any hurry to move in that direction. I've solved the problem now by doing the trick a few others have alluded to on this thread - bend forward and get your nose as close to the front deck as possible and, keeping your head down, move around towards the surface on the side of the boat to the side you want to come up on. The reason this works is the same reason you can't do log-rolling with a 'for sale' sign sticking out of the side of your log...

The other reason you might end up on the wrong side of the boat is that the wind might have other ideas about which side you're going to roll on. Personally, I've never experienced this - I can roll on both sides but, when the chips are down, I've always come up on my dominant side regardless of what the wind or water is doing. However I recently saw a video by 'The Kayaking Hipster' on YouTube where he discusses this and concludes that sometime you have to roll 'with' the wind. If he's right, then perhaps you just need to go in the direction the boat wants you to.

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Re: Rolling Question and Advice for Newbie

Post by TechnoEngineer »

Make sure that when in the setup position that you're not "punching" your back hand up too much, the paddle pivots in your front hand which would then cause the front blade to sink.

Also be sure to rotate your shoulders and not try to do everything with your arms only.

Consider using an extended paddle roll (e.g. Pawlata) as a backup, as it may work without clearing the surface. Or you could scull.
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Re: Rolling Question and Advice for Newbie

Post by kayakbiker »

Just to confirm it's the sweep roll I'm using. I'm a keen follower of Kent Ford's methods, teaching. I also like to use the Pawlatta occasionally as I can really slow down the sweep and concentrate on my technique more.

Anyway thanks to all of you for your excellent advice

PlymouthDamo. I think you have identified the issue I'm having and like others have said it's probably also the buoyancy of the suit compounding the issue. I never seem to have a problem when there is no wind or current.
Next time I hang up will try your suggestion, thanks!. I'm also thinking that once I can roll more reliably on my other side that will also help
By the way, for those that are reliable 2 side rollers from your experience is it any easier to learn the other side once one side is nailed?
At the moment I've only tried a few time's on my onside but it feels really akward and its like I'm starting out again. Secretly I'm hoping that it will all click together eventually but I'm hoping I don't mess my good side in the process

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Re: Rolling Question and Advice for Newbie

Post by PlymouthDamo »

Yes - once I've learned a roll on my dominant side, I find it fairly straightforward to do it on the other side - I can usually get it first try. That said - after many years I rarely stray from my dominant side, but I've never found that to be a problem. And you're right - whenever you do something different, e.g. try a roll on your other side, there's a risk that the spell will be broken and you lose the ability to roll on either side. However, I think this is an inevitable and important part of the learning process - once you find yourself back at square one, you've got to diagnose what's gone wrong and this gives you a deeper understanding of the technique. It speeds things up if you've got someone knowledgeable to watch you, or an extremely good training video like 'This is the Roll' by Cheri Perry and Turner Wilson.

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Robert Craig
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Re: Rolling Question and Advice for Newbie

Post by Robert Craig »

kayakbiker wrote:... is it any easier to learn the other side once one side is nailed?
Yes!

And many people find that learning the second side improves the first side.

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Re: Rolling Question and Advice for Newbie

Post by paddleing home »

High, I have recently joined this site and this is my first post. I bought my french "Rotomod" high density plastic sea kayak approx 10 years ago, prior to that I had fibreglass slalom canoes which I could re-roll with out any problems in more or less all states of the sea. But sadly, and with frustration I have not been able to re-roll this Kayak, each time I attempted this manouver I was just almost there, but had to give up after perhaps two attempts.
Whether it was the extra weight, the length, or the shape, I could not succeed, and that was with the kayak being empty, so I had no chance with a laden sea touring kayak. I was a healthy 64 year old then with what I considered to have good upper body strength,so I had to develop the best could of other ways to gain entry into the cockpit in the event of a capsize, eg. paddle float,stirrup, entry. Either way, I just wish I continued to develop the technique ten years ago.
I paddle alone (now that,s another thread) mainly from my home town of Weston Super Mare on the Bristol Channel, I have crossed the channel to Penarth and to Barry in South wales, and many times to Steep Holm and landed on Flat Holm twice. In all those trips and many more I have been more than lucky never to have had a ducking in the open sea, I would not venture any where without my icom vhf radio, flares ect. and at all times I am in contact with the coastguard, outlining my plans and e.t.a times.

So my advice is for what it is worth, is to keep trying untill it comes naturally and dont miss out on an
amazing, rewarding sport.
Paddleing home.

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Re: Rolling Question and Advice for Newbie

Post by nickcrowhurst »

"Paddleing home", I'm rather older than you, and generally falling apart. Eventually, in my late 60's I had to abandon my vigorous C-to-C roll and hip flick, and spend 15 minutes learning the Standard Greenland roll in my west Greenland chine boats. Either a Greenland paddle or Euro paddle worked, although the Greenland paddle is easier. At the end of the 15 minutes I could hand-roll the sea kayak on both sides.
The important point is that the combination of the traditional roll, kayak and paddle makes the sea kayak roll very easy, so that one can concentrate on technique, rather than "not drowning". Sea kayak rolling can be effortless. Upper body strength is often the problem, rather than the solution.
The more important point is that I have found that the technique learned in a kayak that is easy to roll can be transferred to kayaks which are more challenging. Yes, you might have to lift your backside off the seat to lay back to lower your centre of gravity. Yes, it might be harder to get to the surface with that high-volume hull, but the techniques help in any sea kayak I've paddled.
So, I recommend you borrow a sea kayak that is easier to roll, and perfect "the mature paddler's roll", before returning to your current steed. You might first need to work on flexibility on both sides. A good sign is if you can stop paddling and rotate your torso sufficiently to see a point directly behind the stern, in both directions.
If finding another kayak is a problem, you could bimble down to the Plymouth area and borrow one of mine (see www.cnckayaks.com).
I wouldn't do those solo trips you mention without a reliable roll on both sides.
Nick.

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Re: Rolling Question and Advice for Newbie

Post by TechnoEngineer »

paddleing home wrote:Whether it was the extra weight, the length, or the shape, I could not succeed, and that was with the kayak being empty, so I had no chance with a laden sea touring kayak.
A loaded kayak (if loaded correctly with the weight at the bottom, and not overloaded) is usually easier to roll than an empty one. That's why some people fit some ballast to their kayak.
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Re: Rolling Question and Advice for Newbie

Post by paddleing home »

Many thanks Nick, ah Plymouth,I have had great paddles around Rame Head from King and Caw sands,and many thanks for your offer to try the Greenland Chine kayak, I am due for a back operation soon, so I will certainly bear it in mind when I am back paddling again.
The Shrike Too looks beautiful, (if I can say that about a kayak). I am sure that I would have no trouble in re-rolling from a capsize in that Kayak. The weight is half the weight of my Rotomod,I think that is where the trouble lies.
I once had a shorter similar version a few years ago, extreemly light weight and manouverable, I could right myself up effortlessly.
Because of my other interests, eg. motorcycling and motorhoming, The kayak that I have now will have to be the one that keep and use, it is 17ft long, has loads of storage, deck lines, bouyancy ect.
I fit snugly in the cock pit, it is also very durable, the bottom being plastic has a certain amount of give in it, although I do my best to stay away from rocks, the waters this end of the Bristol Channel are quite mirky' so I have at times accidently scraped the bottom leaving a slight gouges,so I would be rather upset if did that to a more expensive and less rugged kayak.
Over the years I have had some great solo Paddles,but not being able to re-roll I must pick my trips carefully when open water crossing, any doubts or reservations I don,t go.
I solo Paddle for mainly two reasons, Firstly, I have never seen other kayakers in this area to join up with, apart from costal canoers and sit on "kayaks".
Secondly, if somebody is to accompany me then they must be totally committed, both physically and mentally, and I can,t guarantee that,so I have only myself to look after if I get into any problems.
Besides, I really like paddling on my own, with only myself to please.

Paddlinghome

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Re: Rolling Question and Advice for Newbie

Post by pathbrae »

That's why some people fit some ballast to their kayak.
I think "fit" is the important point here.

I've often seen folks just dump water bottles, gravel or bricks into their hatches to "make the boat more stable" - which might reduce any tendency to lee/weather-cocking if done to balance the boat fore and aft and which might give a bit more initial stability - but if the boat is upside down, all that weight is going to end up falling to the "new" bottom of the hatch, against the underside of the deck, and will make the boat very difficult to roll. It also tends to shift the first time someone edges, leaving them with a very un-balanced boat to paddle.
Glassed in straps and weight bars or (as I found in my old Nordkapp) completely glassed in ballast (an extra 15 kg of lead!) will work - but it's not an easy solution.
So much sea - so little time to see it.

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Re: Rolling Question and Advice for Newbie

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Re: Rolling Question and Advice for Newbie

Post by sunstreaker »

I can understand the advantages to being able to roll on both sides on WW, but is it so necessary on open water? Just I'm a one sider can't seem to get the other side sorted.


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Re: Rolling Question and Advice for Newbie

Post by nickcrowhurst »

After capsizing sideways on a breaking wave one needs to work with the direction of flow, which is UP the face of the wave. In a rock garden you'll want to roll away from the nearest rocks.More generally, think of any situation where you have been knocked over. You will not have been expecting it. You will probably have tried and failed with a support stroke, so you are already leaning to one side of your upside down cockpit. If you wait a couple of seconds, in many sea kayaks your face will float near the surface. You are cold, wet, and probably scared. Do you really want to have to duck under the kayak and come up the other side, all without taking a breath???
IMHO you need to roll on both sides at sea, especially if solo. I found that working on rotational flexibility of my trunk was the key to facilitating this.
Nick.

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Re: Rolling Question and Advice for Newbie

Post by sunstreaker »

I practice my roll every week in the pool. My right side roll is strong, when I did not come up first time on one occasion at sea, I went to pawlata and came up. I think I always go into automatic set up which for me is the quickest way I get up. I would have to have a bombproof automatic both sides, that's quite a skill. I guess also both sides hand roll would just about be the skill level to aim for, just to cover all eventualities ?


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Re: Rolling Question and Advice for Newbie

Post by nickcrowhurst »

Hand rolling in a training situation, where one uses the initial speed of rotation to help the roll is quite different from starting in a static upside down starting position after an involuntary capsize. It's not difficult to do this in a specialized Greenland style rolling machine, but much harder in a typical high volume sea kayak.
I concentrate on aiming for a reliable paddle roll on both sides, practiced in realistic sea conditions.
Nick.

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