Hadn't logged into the Buzz in a couple of weeks, yet come back here to find.... a post from when I'd been kayaking a whole whopping month or so had been resurrected! LOL
To everyone who's offered advice over the past 8 mos, thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement. For anyone else who's reading or struggling with a roll, stick with it!
You can do it.... I swear! I was one of those remedial rollers who took a while to get it; at the time, I told paddling partners I'd end up one of those folks who paddles for years without a decent roll.
I was convinced it was a lost cause, doomed, I'd be 50/50 on it forever. But that just wasn't so! Not at all!!
What I found that worked, what finally worked for me, was a combination of things:
1) First, I bought the EJ DVD (not as helpful as others had suggested, but worth a view)
2) Checked out Mandy's website ( http://www.creativepursuits.net/kayaking.htm
), and can't say enough good things about it. Yes, it sounds a little hokey, but when you take the water out of the equation, what she says about it being easy vs. being hard (when you're rolling the right way, the boat is easy to get over even on dry land. When your form is off, you look like a flailing idiot and have to try it again.... the right way!
) is right-on. During the winter months, it keeps muscle memory in-check, or builds it in in the first place. You learn your technique, you start putting the pieces together, you have a better sense of where you're going wrong in the pool, and ultimately, your roll evolves.
3) Lots of water time. Pool time. River time. Go to a place where the runout is safe and there's a decent recovery pool. Flip at the bottom of wave trains, figure out how to get yourself back up in a hole. I was terrified of holes, until I figured out they're the easiest place to roll on the whole river-- provided you can get your paddle in the right place to let the hole do all the work!
4) When you flip, if you miss the first roll, stick it out. Find a place amidst the chaos, the current will let up in a second or two. When the push dies down, or you get that half-second "break," be set up and ready to snap. Be patient. Stay calm. If you have to, you can tuck up and ride out the worst of it.... ultimately, that's where and how I ended up firming up my combat roll. It comes easier later, you don't end up having to wait for that same break, once you've figured out that as long as you stay in your boat, flutter that blade, find the spot, you can
come up.... whether it's instantaneous, or you have to wait a moment for the water to work in your favor.
But ultimately, DON'T GIVE UP! Keep paddling, keep pushing yourself, keep enjoying the water. Don't get in too far over your head and let yourself get discouraged. Push your limits, but know them too. Find a good crew who will challenge and watch out for you at the same time. Paddle safely. And know why you're out there in the first place: the only person you have to prove anything to is yourself.
We all learn differently, advance at different rates, have different strengths and weaknesses. Paddling and rolling are no exceptions. At this point, I still couldn't tell anyone "how" I roll-- though my combat roll is extremely solid, if you asked me, I'd tell you, "I don't know how to roll"!
It's become so natural for me, something I don't think about, that while I couldn't explain, it's fallen together so much so now that it "just happens" when I need it.
Keep it fun. Keep your head down. And keep at it.
Trust me: if a rolling retard like myself could FINALLY find her way to a fairly bomber combat roll, so can you.