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Old 06-12-2006   #41
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 5
kayak breathing tube

here is an idea worthwhile for learning to roll. get a snorkle with an accordian mouthpiece. cut off most of the stiff part of the tube and attach a 2ft 1"diameter flexible e.g. tygon tubing. position mouthpiece next to mouth and tube running under spray skirt. put on a scuba mask. try this out in a pool rolling session. you should be able to breathe out of your hull and see under water with the mask, allowing a relative sense of calm to perfect your roll. miss a couple. no problem, just get a couple of breaths and try again. some have said the mouthpiece jerks your teeth when you attempt a roll.

this kayak emergency breathing tube could also be used for a rescue of a pinned/broached boater, either self or other wise.

also using one for whitewater runs, you can pop the mouthpiece in your mouth before difficult runs or holes and if you do flip you have the option/confidence that you may still be able to breathe perhaps contributing to a more confident roll.

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Old 06-12-2006   #42
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 140
I must admit, I didn't read all of the posts, but I read BSOE of course!!! I totally and completely agree with the EJ video. I actually learned the sweep from another video, The Kayak Roll, but it was EJs mental teachings and drills that perfected my roll. One thing he says that I always keep in mind is "focus on the task at hand". I have no other thoughts in my head but setting up and rolling. I used to think about what was coming next....not good. I was the same as you, I didn't fall much and I boated for 3 years without a reliable roll, pool or river.

Again, I like that BSOE guy. Practice, practice, practice. The playpark is awesome. Being an old athlete, I tend to break down the bio-mechanics of everything I do. Using EJs drills, I've done that with each type of roll I use. That has helped as well, as I can diagnose problems easier now.

I have a friend that's been yaking for years. I wish I had her experience and guts, but I'm glad I don't have her roll. She didn't come to the pool all winter long. She seemed almost proud that she didn't need the pool. Guess who swam first this year? Guess who has little confidence in her roll right now? The way I see it, I can never practice too much. Thank's to EJ, I love to roll, its just another stroke. (I do believe that we're all between swims though.)

And that thing about women being better at rolling, brute strength vs. finesse? Its all true, ......good luck Newbie.


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Old 06-12-2006   #43
ActionJackson's Avatar
Edge o' the Dust Bowl, Oklahoma
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 195
Lots of good advice here, but haven't heard Newby say much about what's happening to her roll. Is your paddle diving? Are you getting most of the way up, then falling back over? Something else? Without that info, I'll go ahead and ask some questions:

1) Does your boat fit well? Even the slightest movement of your hips should also move the boat.

2) Are you bringing your head out early? That's the natural instinct and mainly what makes the roll counterintuitive. I tell people to end up with their ear on their shoulder. If they don't, I rap 'em on the helmet and push 'em back under :-O.

3) Are you keeping your arm straight during the sweep? Natural tendency is to "go fetal" and pull your elbow in close to your body. Usually causes the paddle to dive more than sweep. Work on keeping your elbow straight; your arm and paddle should be extensions of your torso. I like the reference to the golf swing someone made earlier; similar concept.

4) Have you seen Kent Ford's video? Very good. My 14-year-old son watched it one time. We then went straight to the pool, and he rolled - first time - unassisted. Then he didn't miss any rolls when we went to the river that weekend, either, though it was pretty gentle current. I hear good things about EJ's video, but am a little skeptical of the back-deck finish. Just personal preference.

5) Do you have access to a good tutor? Good idea to use one, so you don't burn in any bad habits. What really helped me was to have someone pushing my boat around while trying to roll; or I'd flip over and he'd hand me the paddle so I'd have to set up and orient the sweep blade, etc.

6) Finally, and maybe most importantly, are you staying relaxed?!? Like anything else, practice helps with this, too.

Good luck - you can do it!
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Old 06-12-2006   #44
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1
The key to a good roll is head low and back and a strong hip snap.As EJ says the hip snap is the roll.Hip snap Baby that is key!!
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Old 06-12-2006   #45
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 400
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I think I have a pretty good roll, but let me tell you I almost swam on Saturday morning in some boogey water on Filter Plant for cryiing out loud. I attempted it the first time and literally didn't move On the second try and stepped deeper into no-mans-land. At this point I actually caught myself dropping the paddle and said, "You have some air, stick with it, go for another try". This time it was a little different. Instead of just trying to rip out of the water I sat for a second on my setup, started my sweep and snappped the old hips and shazam I was up.

If I have any advice to give.... stick with the boat. Calm down, take a few seconds. Stop worrying about what you're going to hit and get your roll on the third try if you have to. Your hipsnap is key and that's what I've been teaching for years. That and your head, don't lift it.... bad ju-ju.

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Old 06-12-2006   #46
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 19
Hi there, I'm a girl paddler (using my boyfriend's screen name) and I have also struggled with a river roll too. The thing about practicing in the river is right on. I know that it can feel silly or embarassing to go to a playpark and work on your roll, but it's the safest way to go. I had the help of an instructor and it still took me many many hours in the pool to get a roll, let alone be able to hit one on the water. I was in the same boat (no pun intended) in terms of not getting flipped very often at all and as a consequence not having a combat roll. If your practice in a pool gave you a pool roll, your practice in moving water will give you a combat roll. As you practice, so shall you roll. Get out into moving water and start rolling. It really helped me to have friends there who were willing to T-rescue so I didn't have to spend time chasing my gear, so you might try that. Also, check out if you need class II-III boaters to go out with. Good luck!
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Old 06-13-2006   #47
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 75
Roll diagnostics

In The Kayak Roll DVD we have underwater footage of what it looks like underwater, as well as drills that help you avoid finding resistance, lifting your head, and snapping the wrong knee. You can also find tips at our online eschool.
Our roll video is guaranteed!
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Old 06-15-2006   #48
Front Range, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 274
Hey guys,
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 ( ), 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 and will 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.
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Old 06-15-2006   #49
CUkayakGirl's Avatar
303, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 301
Last season I learned to roll and I was in the same place as you are. I tried to look on the bright side. If I had a 50/50 chance of rolling up, the more times I missed my roll the better the chances I would make my next one.

Things that helped me:
1. The best thing to do is find someone you trust and have them ready to t-rescue you in the river. I would paddle into the hole and when I window-shaded I had a buddy (jmak) waiting to t-rescue me if I didn't roll back up. I never had to swim and 99% of the time I could roll because I was not worried about making it up.

2.Take your time, always wait a second longer then you think you need to, when i missed my rolls it was either because I rushed and my paddle was not on the surface and would slice too fast or I would freak out and bring my head up.

3. Don't think too much under water, make it muscle memory. When I flip, I think: set up(tuck way forward), wait, snap. When I think too much under water I get scared and I forget what to do.

It sounds like you are doing awesome, hope we are all helping ya out
Have fun out there!
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Old 06-15-2006   #50
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 76
"The only difference in going from the pool to moving water is the sound of rushing water and the temperature."

I disagree. My problem with the combat rolls in holes and rapids is I have trouble pushing my hands up over the current to set up, and the current then will knock my boat back down. I don't have an offside and I get my roll if I'm flushed out - but I usually go over when I'm in the wrong spot on the river and I get tripped up by a big pourover or crazy eddie.

Any advise for those situations?

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