Rolling In the Surf^

Places, technique, kayaks, safety, the sea...
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naefearjustbeer
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Rolling In the Surf^

Post by naefearjustbeer » Sun Jan 15, 2006 10:48 am

I mange to roll quite reliably in the pool and on grade 3 river paddling. However I still take a swim every now and then in the surf. I was wondering if this is because of the aireated water after a wave crashes down on me. It is a bit like being in stormy lemonade if that makes any sense. Should I wait before trying to roll up or should I be trying to get up as quick as possible? Or is it just a matter of practice. I do tend to go over a lot more in the surf than I do anywhere else. So the law of averages means that most of my swims will be in the sea....... any tips advice or should I just stick at it and it will come.

mikeybaby
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Post by mikeybaby » Sun Jan 15, 2006 12:42 pm

yes the water after the wave is not as solid as the green stuff. however to answer you question.

If you roll asap then you have less down time but its more of a reaction roll. If you wait then you get chance to set yourself up and use good technique however when you surface the next wave will be that be nearer!!!!!

My advice would be to roll as quick as you can. It is possible to just hold you paddle out to the seaward side on the boat and the wave action (vertical circles of current) will lift you up right again. Always roll up on the seaward side.

Hope this helps.

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Sun Jan 15, 2006 3:43 pm

Definitely try and learn to feel the wave underwater because you can roll up almost without a sweep if you can get your blade into the upsurge early enough, then the soup isn't aproblem. If you cant find this I would say wait until you are comfortable that your roll will work, then make it count, clear youre eyes ASAP and start paddling into the next wave, 'cos as Mikey says, if you wait too long the next wave will just wipe you out straight away.

Never rush your roll, always make sure you are in a suitable start position (boat upside down not half over with your blade on the deep side), and try and feel the water on your blade before you start, then you will know exactly whats going to happen as you roll and you can get the most out of the power of the water. A quicky panicky stab roll won't help you at all, you may be set up wrong, in the aerated water (or still bouncing along on a broken wave) and you are much more likely to do yourself an injury. Also panicky reactions tend not to lead to efficient analysis of what you need to do next after you roll (it is almost certainly going to require building up speed but you need to know which way).

JIM

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Post by wave skier » Sun Jan 15, 2006 5:14 pm

Hi,
When the sea gets a bit warmer set yourself up for a roll in front of a wave and let the wave go over the top of you. Relax and try your roll. Do it on both sides. Relaxing is important as the adreline rush (panic) will use up all your oxygen. Try rolling from differant paddle positions such as paddle behind, in front, one handed etc.

If you capsize in surf you often get dragged behind the boat due to the greater resistance of the boat to the water. Try learning a reverse screw or steyr in the pool then in the sea you can roll up immediatly rather than waiting for the wave to let go of you. If you're lucky you may continue surfing the same wave.
Another good surf roll is the blade roll(it's also known as the bog roll in our club), one handed holding the shaft next to the blade. It's easy to do and does'nt require setting up,an important point if there's a big one outside you.
Try them all in the pool then in the sea and in front of a breaking wave.
Any roll that gets you up is a good roll (with apologies to Chuck Jaegar).
Good luck'
Harry.

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Post by RichardCree » Sun Jan 15, 2006 6:48 pm

Hi Wave skier, any chance of a better description of the blade roll? i dont know it but it sounds worth a look.

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Post by Steve B » Sun Jan 15, 2006 7:45 pm

mikeybaby wrote:Always roll up on the seaward side.
Good advice but with a catch. When you've just been up-ended and tossed about by a breaking wave, and you are still being thrashed around while being dragged along upside-down - where in the name of all that's holy is the seaward side?

The answer is surprisingly easy. As soon as the worst of the thrashing has ended, but without waiting any longer than you absolutely have to, hold your paddle horizontally in front of you at around chest/neck height and a foot or so in front. Sort of like a protected high brace position but without any reach to the side. Don't worry about where that is in relation to the water (very different from a conventional roll), just hold it there and feel for an upward tugging on one blade. Whichever side it comes, immediately and without hesitation do a firm high brace on that blade. And as if by magic, up you will pop, rolled by the wave.

You will now be bongo-sliding on a high brace which is not ideal, so sit up, convert to a low brace, or a rudder, or whatever according to the size and shape of the wave and characterisics of your boat (if you're in a Dancer, forget anything fancy, just bongo slide to the beach). Recover and surf in while you compose yourself, or just get off the wave.
Steve Balcombe

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Post by naefearjustbeer » Sun Jan 15, 2006 8:34 pm

Thanks for all the ideas, at the moment I roll with the paddle set up on the left hand side of the boat, If I go the other side I fail about 50% of the time in the pool and have to switch to my reliable side. I have been tumbled in the surf a few times and had 4 rolls in a row fail then a swim. Maybe this is because I am trying on the wrong side, If it works I normally pop straight up first time. I have a big EZ that santa brought me before that It was a supersonic. Both river boats I know but budgets dont allow me to have a surf specific boat. I always find it easyer on the side I use because it is my right hand forwards and I know the angle of my blade easily to the water.

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Post by naefearjustbeer » Sun Jan 15, 2006 9:15 pm

Steve B wrote:
The answer is surprisingly easy. As soon as the worst of the thrashing has ended, but without waiting any longer than you absolutely have to, hold your paddle horizontally in front of you at around chest/neck height and a foot or so in front. Sort of like a protected high brace position but without any reach to the side. Don't worry about where that is in relation to the water (very different from a conventional roll), just hold it there and feel for an upward tugging on one blade. Whichever side it comes, immediately and without hesitation do a firm high brace on that blade. And as if by magic, up you will pop, rolled by the wave.

You will now be bongo-sliding on a high brace which is not ideal, so sit up, convert to a low brace, or a rudder, or whatever according to the size and shape of the wave and characterisics of your boat (if you're in a Dancer, forget anything fancy, just bongo slide to the beach). Recover and surf in while you compose yourself, or just get off the wave.
Up as in towards your head ie deaper into the water or up as it towards the surface, I have trouble with my ups and downs when under water.

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Post by active4seasons » Sun Jan 15, 2006 9:29 pm

Sounds like it may be a body position thing. How did you learn to roll in the first place? If you can roll in grade three water there is no reason why you can't roll succesfully in the surf. Most people have a preference (L or R) when it comes to rolling but if this becomes a mental block then it may be worth spending more time looking at the technique you are using because if you can do it on one side you can do it on the other also.
What people are suggesting here is you need to feel where you are rather than go with a muscle memory type approach. Because the surf has the ability to hold and turn your boat you hasve to develop an awareness of where you have ended up or wait for better water.

This may sound familiar but get some good quality coaching and it would be sorted in a couple of sessions.
It is funny but as a race we are not very good at axcepting that perhaps we need help occasionally. If I think back to the progress I have made in all practical skills I have learnt there is no way I would have got to this level without others input, be it demonstration, analysis, support, encouragement etc.
Hope this helps,
Ollie
Developing Desire for Adventure!

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Post by mikeybaby » Sun Jan 15, 2006 9:57 pm

don't worry about the boat not been a surf boat. In my experience surf boats are harder to roll initially. I have a super ez and although stupidly wide it rolls ok.

Its actually easier to roll on the sea than a river or lake due to the extra bouyancy of salt water, thus allowing more support form the paddle. Remember however its the hip flick that is important, all the paddle (whatever motion/roll you put it through) is doing is providing a firm base to hip flick "off", so the stronger the flick the less support you need, ultimately leading towards hand rolls and body rolls.

it'll will come with practice. Its not a black art!!!! honest

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Post by naefearjustbeer » Sun Jan 15, 2006 10:03 pm

I learned to roll with a combination of pool training with my local club starting off using floats to roll the kayak before moving on to paddle (sweep) rolls. I have also studyed a kayak roll dvd.
I do use a body memory method. I find on the river if I dont make it up fully I scull the paddle forwards towards the end of my sweep and this helps me. It doesnt seem to work the same in the surf, then again the surf has much bigger waves than the river. I think next time I go to the pool I will ask for some advice and someone to watch my technique to see where I am going wrong.

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Post by naefearjustbeer » Sun Jan 15, 2006 10:23 pm

should I be working at rolling on both sides, or concentrate on perfecting one side before I try to improve my duff side. Another point is that my paddle has a 90 degree feather, most newer paddles have less feather does that make it easyer or harder?

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Post by Steve B » Sun Jan 15, 2006 11:16 pm

naefearjustbeer wrote:
Steve B wrote:Don't worry about where that is in relation to the water (very different from a conventional roll), just hold it there and feel for an upward tugging on one blade. Whichever side it comes, immediately and without hesitation do a firm high brace on that blade.
Up as in towards your head ie deaper into the water or up as it towards the surface, I have trouble with my ups and downs when under water.
Up as in towards your head - the whole point is that you don't need to know which way is really "up". In fact it probably won't be much deeper in the water because you'll be dragging along behind the boat, more or less sideways. It will be seaward - to come right back to the original point.
Steve Balcombe

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Post by active4seasons » Mon Jan 16, 2006 6:31 pm

There has been plenty of work done (research) on rolling and to develop a very well learned roll on both sides it is recommended to practice on both sides together (no more than three on one side before doing it on the other).
Don't try and over do the learning process by attempting 20 rolls in a session. If you are not coming up then you are doing something wrong, stop and think about it. Find out what sort of learner you are and spend some time thinking through what you are trying to achieve. i.e where should the blade be to give you the most support? how do I get the blade there and then how do I right the boat using this platform? Sometimes it helps to have someone help you get the blade to the correct position but this should be someone who knows what they are doing otherwise you end up in a worse situation.
Rolling is not about muscle, it requires a certain amount of flexibility and co-ordination.
If you can roll on the river then a good coach would have you sorted in 30 min or so.
Good luck,
Ollie
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rolling in surf

Post by wave skier » Mon Jan 16, 2006 7:39 pm

Hi,
Invariably you will get dragged behind the wave when you capsize, it therefore follows that a back deck roll is easier. If you are surfing right to left or left to right you need to roll up on the seaward side unless you want to wait until the wave has left you,but remember there's often another one following the wave you were on.

A blade roll is like a hand roll but easier because of the greater surface area of the blade and you don't have to leave go of the paddle. It's learnt in the pool and is easy left or right. Hold on to the shaft right next to the blade,don't hold the blade as in surf or the paddle will get knocked out of your hand. Lean out to side and place paddle on surface or as near asyou can to surface, paddle parallal to boat.Push on paddle for resistance, hip flick dropping head on back deck and you're up.
Reading this I just remembered use right hand for right,left hand for left. Try not to throw other hand in air when learning, concentrate on hip flick and leaning back on back deck. Use other hand in air only in extremis.
Hope it helps, I firmly believe rolling is not a black art , just find a good teacher and experiment.
Good Luck.
Harry.

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Post by Jim » Mon Jan 16, 2006 8:26 pm

Never ignore your duff side (some people I used to paddle with called it their 'chocolate roll' because it was as much use...) always practise both sides.

Moving water is easier to roll on than the pool, and surf as mentioned is easiest for several reasons, but for my money it's not the best palce to learn because there is so much else going on. I have often attributed my bombproof rolls (boths sides by a variety of techniques) to spending a lot of time (well evenings) at places like Chertsey Weir. Every time you stick your bow in (in a Corsica S at least) you are going to pull some kind of endo and 99% you will come out upside down, but flush quickly out of the hole to calm fast moving water, where you can set up, feel the flow and make a good roll. Another factor may be that I was coached by the best, he runs a very well known school now (kayakojacko) and you could do worse than book onto one of his rolling courses.

Anyway, for the cheaper option, find some fairly placid but moving water and just go and practice rolling. It's more fun if there is a playwave or playstopper to go for as well, or to initiate the capsize in a more natural way. I can give a technical justification for moving water if you want, but trust me, it is better than the pool!

JIM

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Post by naefearjustbeer » Mon Jan 16, 2006 8:39 pm

Thanks for all the tips, I will have a good go at the pool on both sides and try the river when it is a bit warmer, my spraydeck froze on saturday when I was on the river :-0 The sea was pretty cold as well.

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