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Old 06-18-2006   #1
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 646
How hard is rolling a sea kayak?

I'm a class IV+ boater with a pretty good whitewater roll. I'm probably going sea kayaking in a month. How hard is it to roll a sea kayak?

Also, how well do sea kayaks play in the waves? I guess they are a bit long.

Anything else I should be aware of with sea kayaking?

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Old 06-18-2006   #2
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 15
Sea Yak

Roll can be done depending on design, some are very difficult to roll but gen have great stability. Most have keel & rudder making surffing problematic but track great in wind & current. The big thing to be aware of is weather & sea currents both of which can turn a nice day into a life threatening epic. Try to know the currents & or avoid open water expossure (don't go too far from land). Compas & understanding. Peace

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Old 06-18-2006   #3
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 115
Rolling a sea kayak is similar to rolling a whitewater boat with some slight variations depending on the size, shape and weight of your sea kayak. ACA advocates a C to C roll. I found that a fully packed sea kayak (multi-day trips) has more surface area as well as weight so my preference was to use the old screw roll if my hip snap with a C to C wasn't strong enough. Make sure you carry a paddle float (or two) with you in each kayak and practice your paddle float rescues in the open water.

Surf zones can be a lot of fun and since you're a solid Class IV paddler you'll be ahead of the game. Sea kayaks are long so they have lots of hull speed and they are easily side surfed, so keep a strong rudder stroke going and enjoy the ride. Timing is key, ocean waves move as compared to river waves that are stationary.

I ran a sea kayak program for many years in Baja so if you have any questions feel free to email me directly.

Have Fun!
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Old 06-19-2006   #4
Fort Collins, CO
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 36
I found the sea kayak I rented to be exceptionally easy to roll - easier than a whitewater kayak. Most of the better sea kayaks have rudders that are easy to engage/disengage. Nose plugs are recommended as the salt water burns. Pay attention to the tides, currents and winds. Paddling against the tides is bad news. I also found the sea kayak to be a little unstable when the wind came up in the open ocean causing a lot of choppy, multidirectional waves - I braced a lot.
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Old 06-19-2006   #5
rivermanryan's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 580
I find that sea kayaks roll about the same as a really big, fully loaded creek boat. I use a modified sweep roll and it worked just fine, but keep in mind that every step in the roll comes about a count or two longer. You might think it isn't coming around, then your upright and on your way.
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Old 06-19-2006   #6
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 646
What's this business about a paddle float. I've heard of those. Is that to help your roll? Is that for novices? Do you paddle with it?
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Old 06-19-2006   #7
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Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 580
A paddle float will help you get back in the kayak in deep water. It is used for emergencies, mostly. The paddle float attaches to the end of your paddle and acts like an outrigger to help balance to boat so you can climb back in.

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