1. a ducky should be in his future to paddle with your crew. orrrrrrr....
Like glenn and nessy said, the dedication level needs to change drastically. roll every spot you can, playboat for the skill of getting tossed every which way, etc.... ej has good drills in his videos, endless braces leading to tipping over with paddle completely askew to learn to set up underwater. (i totally relied on the 'momentum roll' for a long time. setting up under water is still challenging.)
2.this is totally obvious...but kayaking is definitely not for everyone. you have to really,really want it to get past the learning curve. a healthy appreciation for your mortality is helpful, instead of a cavalier attitude... but not so much that it paralyzes your ability to function under duress.
3. to do water sports(surfing, kayaking,underwater basketweaving etc...) a person has to be able to do tasks while working on anaerobic metabolism.(i.e. holding your breath,depleting O2 already in your bloodstream,generating lots of lactic acid...)
breath holding exercises are useful for all of us and mandatory for some.... (cue the music and carry some boulders underwater like in the surfing movies.....
its actually a deadly serious commitment to surf big waves, or paddle class III whitewater....)
if he really wants to learn...ask him to 'hold' underwater for a couple seconds in the pool. and spread each step out individually.. not just a big sweeping flail. flip.tuck forward..paddle out the water. sweep. etcc.... if he cant hold upside down you are getting to the root of the problem. (promise a T rescue or 'hand of god' rescue as motivation to stay underwater longer.)
some people do not have that mindset/ or stubborness as an innate skill. some people are just 'fish'. the rest of us have worked out some combination of stubbornness,skill and fitness. or lack thereof.
4. goggles at the pool can be really useful. and a professional lesson.
5. booty beers.
6. i have swam a lot.and it took me a full season and many a pool session with no professional help to learn. some people take lessons and learn in half an hour. and i still freaking swim. everyone does. i still need to learn to hand roll. and not swim in class IV.