Off side roll

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on the rocks
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Off side roll

Post by on the rocks » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:01 pm

I've got a reasonably reliable rough water roll on my good (only side) but finding it impossible to get anywhere near an off-side roll, which would be very useful if waves or surf are coming at me from the wrong side. Despite pool sessions and trying to stretch/educate my muscle memory with a broomstick sat on my floor at home I can't get anywhere near an effective paddle sweep arc. My body doesn't want to move in the required way.

is there a trick of voodoo involved or is it just a matter of long term perseverance?

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Re: Off side roll

Post by PlymouthDamo » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:38 pm

It's too complicated a thing to diagnose/advise on the basis of written descriptions - you need the right person stood by you watching. It could be a physical thing, e.g. insufficient flexibility, or it could just be more practice required. A bit of general advice though: if I had to start learning again, the first roll I'd learn would be the standard Greenland, using a stick. Once you're competent at that, it truly is the mythical 'bomb-proof' roll. I see two big advantages in this: (1) when you've mastered the technique it's a very slow and simple movement which should be easy to transfer to your off-side. (2) You'd now be able to do as much off-side practice as you like because you can always rely on your good-side to get you back up if/when you fail. My first roll was the bog-standard 'screw roll' which I used to consider bomb-proof, but the standard greenland takes bomb-proof to another level.

And a general observation: I've used my off-side roll in anger, but I don't think I've ever actually been in a situation where I've needed to. The nearest I've come was two occasions where the boat refused to settle right for me to get into the set up position on my good-side - probably due to strong currents. I opted to just roll on the side that the boat had settled on, but I could have instead sculled underwater (or done a failed roll) to get the boat to flop over where I wanted it.

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Re: Off side roll

Post by charleston14 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:45 pm

If you’re doing a sweep roll you might try a c to c roll instead, it breaks the roll down into stages, which some people find helps as you can focus on the individual elements one at a time.

I had a similar problem and found that on the bad side I had to really remind myself about getting my body out to the side, not hanging under the kayak. In the end my instructor suggested we got rid of the paddle, I did a load of hand rolls on both sides, then we went back to the paddle and I could roll on either side.

Good luck, keep practicing,

on the rocks
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Re: Off side roll

Post by on the rocks » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:53 pm

charleston14 wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:45 pm
If you’re doing a sweep roll you might try a c to c roll instead, it breaks the roll down into stages, which some people find helps as you can focus on the individual elements one at a time.
I learned my good side by combining a sweep and c to c roll then blending them into one movement. At the moment on my off side I can't even swing the paddle out to the side, I'll keep on trying in pool and sea.

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Re: Off side roll

Post by charleston14 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 9:42 pm

Hmm, ok I’m certainly no expert in rolling so I’m happy for others to correct me, indeed I’d welcome it, but it sounds like maybe your paddle won’t sweep out to the side because the blade near the kayak is fouling up on the side of the kayak, or perhaps there’s a lot of tension in the torso, this may mean the whole paddle isn’t high up enough in the water..should be at the surface; hands feeling the air on them, if you can’t get your paddle to the surface it sounds like the body is hanging under the kayak, so maybe need to use your lateral abs to get the torso out to the side.

I wonder if your instincts from the good side mean you’re engaging the wrong knee too, wierd things happen to the brain when it’s upside down in water !

I’m sure a good coach could sort it out, or film your roll on the good side and compare it to the bad side, that may help.

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Re: Off side roll

Post by Franky » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:37 am

charleston14 wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:45 pm
If you’re doing a sweep roll you might try a c to c roll instead, it breaks the roll down into stages, which some people find helps as you can focus on the individual elements one at a time.
I second this. I have to do c-to-c on my off side. It's never morphed into a sweep roll, as it did on my good side, and it still isn't that reliable on white water. For this reason, I've got into the bad habit of holding out for the opportunity to do an on-side roll. On one occasion in the Alps this summer, I capsized, and wasted three roll attempts on my on-side, then had to bail. If I'd been more confident of my off-side, I'd have tried that and probably had a much nicer afternoon!

This incident brought home to me that I really need to put some time into practising my off-side roll. I guess it's never going to be as easy as an on-side roll but you have to be able to do both if your roll is to be truly reliable. My off-side roll used to be better but I stopped using it, as 90% of the time an on-side roll worked, which resulted in me never being prepared for an off-side roll and not trying it even if it was the only thing which would have worked.

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Re: Off side roll

Post by Gordon Gilzean » Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:14 pm

Hi mate getting a reliable offside roll takes a lot of practice but eventually it will come, try using a paddle float while your learning until your comfortable with the process then reduce the air in it untill your ready to go without the float, if you keep missing rolls you can easily fall into bad habits or worse injure yourself, a float will get you there faster if you try it out

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Re: Off side roll

Post by on the rocks » Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:54 pm

Gordon Gilzean wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:14 pm
Hi mate getting a reliable offside roll takes a lot of practice but eventually it will come, try using a paddle float
Thanks All, some useful points. The main one seams to be that an offside roll has to be learned from scratch rather than converted from a good side roll. Paddle float is a good idea to get the muscle memory bedded in with some practice at the end of my next sea trips and in the pool.

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Re: Off side roll

Post by mcgruff » Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:36 pm

It's often said we have five senses but that's not true. We also have a sense of kinaesthesia/proprioception: the sense of position & movement of our limbs and body. This is obviously fundamental to all sports. Except maybe darts.

I can't offer any advice on rolling specifically but, in general yoga can be a great way to hone this sense of body awareness, as well as gaining the flexibility to allow your body to move freely.

Climbing can be very good too: a combination of yoga and wrestling with a planet. And chess.

It's interesting that Greenlanders developed lots of rope balancing exercises to hone their skills on dry land.

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Re: Off side roll

Post by Gordon Gilzean » Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:15 pm

You very welcome and don't stress over it it will come, learning to offside roll is just the same as the good side it's just harder to do in practice, it's definitely worth keeping up practise on your good side while your learning to offside roll as you can end up losing your good roll if you don't focus on it, a good technique to learn aswell would be a re entry roll that way if you get broached by a wave and it capsizes you on your offside you can always wet exit and then turn your boat 180° so you can use the waves to assit your roll rather than hinder it and just roll up on your good side and your good to go, that will help a lot if your ever in the sirf zone

on the rocks
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Re: Off side roll

Post by on the rocks » Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:28 pm

Yes thanks, my re-entry roll is pretty reliable, unlike paddling to escape the tide race with a boat full of water without capsizing again, however if the eddy is in the right direction re the waves then I’m ok to roll up again. Improving stability with a full boat is my other practice focus :-)

on the rocks
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Re: Off side roll

Post by on the rocks » Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:44 pm

mcgruff wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:36 pm
It's often said we have five senses but that's not true.
Climbing can be very good too: a combination of yoga and wrestling with a planet. And chess.

Indeed, I’ve been climbing for over 40 years but only started kayaking last year so enjoying g the new learning curve

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Re: Off side roll

Post by nickcrowhurst » Fri Sep 20, 2019 11:02 am

I proved that my original difficulty with the offside roll was lack of flexibility. One way of checking is to paddle directly away from a point (drop the skeg, if fitted, to maintain direction while coasting) then look to your right to see if you can twist around far enough to see the point. Then try rotating in the opposite direction, and compare the result in the two directions. I found I could see astern much more effectively when rotated to my right than to my left. This is also a safety concern. One needs to see directly astern to check on any overtaking vessels, and to check on the safety of a paddling buddy. This becomes more challenging in rough water, the precise time when you may particularly need to keep an eye on that buddy who is following you. I solved the unequal flexibility by doing exercises with a broom handle while seated on the carpet at home. My son recommends some exercises for this:
https://qajaqrolls.com/2011/07/kayak-ro ... ching.html
Once I had equalised the rotations, my offside roll immediately worked without any problem.
Nick

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Re: Off side roll

Post by Chris Bolton » Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:29 pm

on the rocks, is your 'good' side for rolling the side on which your control hand is (if you use a feathered paddle)? If so, one problem might be getting the outboard blade at the right angle, or getting the inboard blade caught on the hull. For diagnosis of the problem, borrowing a paddle with different feather might help.

When I temporarily lost my roll (as a result of not rolling a kayak but doing rolls in a canoe with a single blade) I found it helped to work towards the roll in stages. First put your paddle out at right angles and capsize onto it, going progressively further over until you're upside down. Then progressively move the starting position of the paddle towards the 'set up' position. The main fault I had was that I wasn't getting my chest on the deck at the start, and as a result my shoulders were too far underwater for me to get the blade on the surface; fixing that made a big difference.

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Re: Off side roll

Post by on the rocks » Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:33 pm

nickcrowhurst wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 11:02 am
I proved that my original difficulty with the offside roll was lack of flexibility. One way of checking is to paddle directly away from a point (drop the skeg, if fitted, to maintain direction while coasting) then look to your right to see if you can twist around far enough to see the point. Then try rotating in the opposite direction, and compare the result in the two directions. I found I could see astern much more effectively when rotated to my right than to my left. This is also a safety concern. One needs to see directly astern to check on any overtaking vessels, and to check on the safety of a paddling buddy. This becomes more challenging in rough water, the precise time when you may particularly need to keep an eye on that buddy who is following you. I solved the unequal flexibility by doing exercises with a broom handle while seated on the carpet at home. My son recommends some exercises for this:

Once I had equalised the rotations, my offside roll immediately worked without any problem.
Nick
Thanks Nick. I have indeed been stretching with a sawn off broomstick sat on my carpet for a few weeks, and it definitely made a big difference being able to rotate to see astern, noticeable on a recent leadership coaching day. I've also been using the broomstick to try and educate muscle memory for the off side roll but alas it all went to pot when upside down in the water. I'm hoping that using a paddle float to ensure the blade skims the water will do a better job of bedding in the muscle memory and getting over my mental block on spatial awareness.

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Re: Off side roll

Post by on the rocks » Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:42 pm

Chris Bolton wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:29 pm
on the rocks, is your 'good' side for rolling the side on which your control hand is (if you use a feathered paddle)? If so, one problem might be getting the outboard blade at the right angle, or getting the inboard blade caught on the hull. For diagnosis of the problem, borrowing a paddle with different feather might help.

When I temporarily lost my roll (as a result of not rolling a kayak but doing rolls in a canoe with a single blade) I found it helped to work towards the roll in stages. First put your paddle out at right angles and capsize onto it, going progressively further over until you're upside down. Then progressively move the starting position of the paddle towards the 'set up' position. The main fault I had was that I wasn't getting my chest on the deck at the start, and as a result my shoulders were too far underwater for me to get the blade on the surface; fixing that made a big difference.
Thanks Chris, I do use a (variable) feather paddle with a marked index bump on my control hand. Hopefully I will be able to use my control hand grip to set the paddle rotation for the other blade. But before that I need to get the arc of paddle swing right - nowhere near. You may be onto something with the chest on deck. On my good side roll I have no problem with waiting a moment for my torso to float up so I can easily get the active blade on the water and other blade over the hull. Maybe I'm doing the chest on deck thing on the good side without realising I'm doing it so omitting it on my off side, I'm looking forward to trying that.

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