Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Evolution of a roll

Historically I was a canoe guy.  I liked the freedom of movement in a canoe and I could haul lots of gear.

One day, though, we were paddling on the Missouri River and it was windy.  I was on one side of the river getting blown around and my kayaking friend was hardly impacted by the wind.  At that point I decided I needed a kayak so I bought a Prijon Yukon.

Concerned that I would paddle a kayak the way I paddled a canoe I took a couple of kayak classes and even started working on a roll.  On a good day I could roll maybe 50% of the time. 

In the summer of 2014 Zack and I took a whitewater kayaking class at NOC.  After that I wanted a whitewater kayak, so I sold the Prijon and bought a Jackson Zen in early 2015.

Zack and I attended the Missouri Whitewater Association whitewater clinic in April of 2015, but by the summer of 2015 I had completely lost the ability to roll at all.  In the fall of 2015 I was in Charlotte for AASA meetings.  After we wrapped up I went out to the US National Whitewater Center for a couple of lessons.  By the end of the day I was doing only slightly better on the roll, but at least had a good understanding of where I was messing up.

So in the winter of 2016 it seemed appropriate to join in some pool kayaking to work on the roll.  I started out at 50% success or less.  You can see in the video below that I was bringing my head up too early.

After some practice I was getting the roll about 80% of the time, but if I brought my head up too early it was an epic fail.  Thankfully we caught a successful roll on video.


I had watched folks roll and some would bring their head up over the back deck of their boats.  That seemed awkward to me.  After a guy watched me a few times he mentioned that given my height and torso length I needed to bring my head up over the back deck.

With the help of Zack doing T-rescues I started to get the hang of this method.  After 8 weeks of being in the pool I finally think I've got it.  The last two weeks I didn't have any wet exits and my high brace is better. 

On the last night of pool time I was even rolling twice in a row.


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