Monday, January 31, 2011


Rolling is the art of recovering from a capsize. It involves 'rolling' yourself back upright after a capsize, using the paddle and upper body as a lever, and twisting the lower body to bring the boat back upright.

When I started paddling, I considered rolling a bit of a show-off move. After more paddling in surf and swell, I am now convinced that it is an essential skill for open-water paddling. So I have been applying myself to learning how to roll. My first attempts, paddling my sea kayak in the Latrobe pool, were dismal. I then changed to a canoe polo boat, much smaller and easier to roll. A couple of sessions in the pool with the polo boat made me believe I had the rudimentary technique to roll my sea kayak.

However, transferring these skills to a sea kayak in the sea has proven difficult. But I can now roll. Sometimes. In calm water. 

In order to analyse the many flaws in my technique, I asked my better half to record my rolling attempts. While I was successful on some occasions, I can see at least two flaws in my technique: letting the paddle dive, and sitting up prematurely.

Not all of my attempts were successful. Where the first attempt failed, subsequent attempts rarely succeeded. In this case, after three attempts, I was spared an undignified swim by a timely rescue.

Much more practise is needed...


  1. This is too scary for me to watch.

  2. At worst, it is like swimming. At best, an athletic triumph. Nothing to be afraid of...