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Old 05-05-2013   #41
Otterwolf's Avatar
Derby, Connecticut
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 27
not sure if any of this is going to help, but what the hell.....
i'm also one of those kayakers who's been doing it for years (1974 - 1983, 2005 to the present) and now want to get a bomb proof roll happening as well.

i think the first thing is one should first be very comfortable in the water - meaning - do you enjoy swimming, skin diving / snorkling, that kind of thing??

if you can get real comfortable with being under water (believe me, there's a whole 'nother world down there!!) then hopefully that could help you with rolling because - in theory - because you'll be in a familiar place (at least that's what I'm hoping for)

some other idea's which may or may not help:
- try practicing on grass!! (seriously - roll 90 deg on your side, and see if you can comfortabley right yourself)
- try rolling or at least 'playing' in standing shallow water so you can get a good feel as to how your craft responds
- once you are ready to fully roll, try to do so not with a bunch of yahoos but with people who'll not put any pressure on you or give you are hard time if you are struggling, as drowning is no joke and can happen in any kind of water - meaning you want folks who are going to help you the whole way.
- if possible, see if you can aquire or borrow a known easy type of kayak for rolling, as some will roll easier than others (this is exactly what I am hoping to do in a couple of months myself)

lastly, I think rolling is ultra important for sea kayaking - but at the same time - I hate using that term rolling - I perfer 'righting' as that's what I'm hoping to be able to achieve, the ability to right myself should I capsize.

my question is - and it's a stupid one too: is rolling like a left hand / right hand type thing, meaning is it easier to roll one way (say clockwise as opposed to counter clockwise??) as opposed to the other??

only asking because (I am right handed) I'm inclined to want to roll clockwise meaning falling to the right....

hopefully some of this helps, as I am also looking for advice too.

"Catch Me If You Can...."
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Old 05-05-2013   #42
MT4Runner's Avatar
Kalispell, Montana
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 1,436
Rolling is important for sea kayaking, too. With the confidence of a roll, it opens up a whole new realm of conditions to explore.

Yes, many people are very much "handed" in their rolls. Referred to as "onside" and "offside". If you're re-learning, learn both and be ambidextrous!

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Old 05-05-2013   #43
Denver via GJ, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 333
If you get to the point of having a reliable onside roll and can hit an offside now and then, start to treat it like your weak side turn in skiing (always stop on the side that is your weakest turn).

This works great for the pool or surf wave with good eddy. You will find that if you miss you will be set up for your onside so it doesn't cost you much more than one attempt. I did this for a season on runs/waves I was comfortable with and now almost subconsciously roll to the side I am set up for when I go over. The value in this is getting pushed up against a wall or rough eddy line often necessitates a roll to the opposite side (or a hole).

In regards to roll anxiety, oddly anxiety is a big part of this sport and conquering it becomes part of the reward. If you have it in your mind that despite how you feel when your upside you want to conquer it, you likely will. I would guess that since your mind is on it when your off the water that it will work out for you, time will be your friend.
"I plan to leisurely advance through my existence" - Terry Fuhrman 1991
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Old 05-05-2013   #44
BCxp's Avatar
Staghorn Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 147
Lots of fine advice in this thread. Let me add something I haven't seen exactly: ways to get over your"Mammalian Complex" and/or fear of the water.

Long post coming, but it works and is fun to practice. It comes from teaching dudes to stay cool and survive on and under water. The posters who said to mess around under water are right, but consider taking it further which can really cement a feeling of comfort underwater (oops!).

I'd suggest you have a few sessions in SCUBA to at least the point where you can hover on your head,then on your back staring at the surface. Be sure you're with a certified, well-experienced instructor. Tell him/her you're not wanting to get a dive ticket (unless you are), you just want enough underwater time to begin feeling like it was no big deal. Also, practice going to the bottom of the pool, adjusting your buoyancy to neutral then just hanging out trying not to move, except for slow breathing. Feel yourself become one wit the water.

When you get that down, have the instructor teach you how to doff and don your mask while at the bottom of the pool (not snorting water up your nose--breath control. When ghat becomes easy, ask if he/she would let you try and don all your gear underwater. That's where everything is dumped overboard and left on the pool bottom and you have to jump in from the deck and put it all back on.

By now you should be getting a little more water-friendly, so try this: without mask snorkle, air, or weights, jump in and do a few very slow barrel rolls and somersaults. When you get OK with these how about trying some just plain floating on our back for 10-15 minutes at a time. good lifegurd or SUBA dude can show you the tricks to that. (mainly it's just a matter of staying calm. You're not gong to sink, and this is where you'll begin to trust that (unless you're one of the unfortunates who is naturally negatively buoyant.

When you get to where 10-15 minutes is cake, it's time for drown proofing and this is where you'll really learn to trust yourself and the laws of physics. When you do ll of these exercises be sure the lifeguard is aware of what and why you're having so much fun playing squid.

Drownproofing is just another kind of floating except ou do it vertical, not horizontal like a traditional float. Go to the deep end of the pool, as far away as possible from others so they don't toss you on your ear. Tread water very gently and just with our arms and hands. Calm yourself. Focus on your gentle breathing and gentle hand movements. Begin to slow it all down and as you do, slowly move your hands to where you can grasp them behind your back, arching your back gently, especially your upper back and take s slow, deep breath and hold it.

Next see if you can hang out in that position for a slow count of 15, then begin to slowly exhale through your mouth (later when you get really good, use just your nose.). Keep your body still as you feel yourself beginning to lose buoyancy and descend. Before your mouth goes below the surface, take a deep breath and hold it as your body (now positive) begins to rise slowly. Hold yourself still! Still your mind. Put a lid on any panic. Just fins a quiet spot in side and hold there until you repeat the cycle. Repeat until where you can do this for 10-15 minutes and love every minute. By then you'll have begun to feel relaxed underwater.

Now, any practice you do underwater seated in your boat, will be more meaningful since you will have begun to learn the water can be your friend. So friendly that your goal ought to be to make the above he most incredibly relaxing meditation you can imagine.

Unless you're out of the average for any reason, you an get a good handle on all the above in 2-4 hours of pool time. At, sya. $8-$12/ hr.pool time plus the SCUBA time, it is hugely worth it. because no you're ready for the nest step.

Practicing swimming in a river and becoming good at both defensive and offensive swimming. Please work with a qualified kayak or safety teacher on this, an while you're at it get in some rope practice as well. Now you're confidence is so up there your roll will likely become ankiety-free.

Practice being a squid every so often, specially in the off-season. Only downside to squidage is pruneskin. But its worth it. Consider using goggles to keep the chlorine at bay. But not noseplugs or ear plugs, yes, nose plugs in a kayak are a must, IMO, and can help you in the early phases of learning the above, but the goal is to become so aware of your breathing and body/mind, you won't and such a pro that when/if you snort water it's no big deal at all. You might find it interesting to read up on Sinus Reflex and how to control & deal with it. Point is: n a kayak, you're playing in the waterworld so embrace it. More fun that way! And the after-beers taste a lot better,

HTH and roll well.

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