Kayaks for Rolling

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by Kermode, Jun 19, 2009.

  1. Kermode

    Kermode Paddler

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    Query for all the “rolling experts” out there. I’m guessing that any kayak can be rolled by an expert. But what about beginners? There are I'm sure kayaks that are more difficult to roll than others, & that would therefore make the task of learning more difficult, there may even be some that one would effectively be wasting their time (as a beginner) trying to roll?
    My question is prompted by a recent outing when there were many differing design kayaks on the beach, differing shapes & sizes. My own kayak (Delta 15.5) looked quite "wide & chunky” amongst some of the sleeker looking models. (Not knocking the Delta at all, imho it’s a great boat) but with all those designs out there with varying degrees of primary & secondary stability it was just something I wondered about.
    I guess the end question is... “is it possible (read practical) to learn how to roll in any kayak?”
     
  2. sushiy

    sushiy Paddler

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    This is a fun topic!

    I am not an expart roller, but because I struggled learning how to roll, I can say I am "semi-expart rolling learner".

    With harder roller, you need to have stronger determination to get there. Once you get there, other kayaks are so easy to do. So if you can stay focus on it I think it is a good one.

    With easy roller, you will gain confidence quickly and will have a lot of more fun sooner. BUT you always should tune up your finness and try other boats to see where your weak points are, otherwise you can roll only that boat ( and easier ones) on the condition you are used to rolling in.

    I made it through harder pass, and I don't have any regret for that. I would not say it was just fun learning to roll. What kept me going was that determination and just having good emotional support from my paddling friends, and I wanted to keep up with them.

    I can see I would have whole a lot more fun if I made it with easy pass and all I had to do was keeping fine tuning my technique to be a better roller.

    I would suggest to use easy one to learn first, and make sure you practice with harder one, and in the increasingly harder condition, and to take clinics by expart to evaluate your technique.

    I just took a couple of clinics and found a few points to work on. Another step toward bombproof roller.
     
  3. nootka

    nootka Paddler

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    The easiest boat to learn in will be an old-style whitewater boat (one of the cigar-shaped ones like a Perception Pirouette S) You should be able to pick up this style of boat inexpensively as they are way out of vogue. In a boat like this, rolling is easy enough that you can concentrate on improving your technique. Once rolling becomes too easy in this boat, you can move on to norsaq and hand rolls. The other advantage to a WW boat: easier to transport to the pool.
     
  4. rider

    rider Paddler

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    Some things will make it harder to roll, like boat being too wide, having a flat boxy deck that ' hangs up' or likes sitting upside down.Biggest hindrance is a cockpit you can't get any real grip on. High rigid seat backs don't help,but with a C to C don't hinder you THAT much,with other types of roll it's also a major hindrance.
     
  5. explorermike

    explorermike Paddler

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    In simple terms, I think there are two "shape" things that make a boat easy or hard to roll:
    1 - logs roll really easy because they are round, and in the same way, as a kayak hull gets more oval, it can be harder to both capsize and to roll back up
    2 - overall boat volume - in a high volume boat, you and the boat don't sink into the water as much as in a low volume boat - so in a higher volume boat, you need to "lift" yourself further up from the surface of the water when you go from upside down to upside right.

    Greenland hulls built for rolling are a good example of the volume thing - as they are so small that the back deck is pretty much at water level when the paddler is in the boat.

    My first kayak was a solstice gt hv, which has a pretty large oval shape to the hull. That boat was hard to tip, but it was also stable upside down, and I had to learn a big hip snap to make the roll work. Also, I can "feel" with my current lower volume boat that I'm not having to bring myself up as far from the surface of the water to get back on center. That means less power, and more tolerance for paddle errors when rolling a lower volume boat.

    Also Rider's comment about fit is important, because in a loose fitting boat gravity will make it hard to stay in position as you go upside down. And that's a distraction, in a situation that's disorienting to begin with. In a really loose fitting boat, you may not be able keep yourself in place, which can make rolling really hard. If your butt isn't in the seat, and your thighs in solid contact with the hull when you start trying to pry yourself back up out of the water, the chances of success can get slim.

    Having said all that, I know that there are a lot of ways to make a roll work, and what I've said isn't the last word. There are so many ways to make a roll work, and so many people nowadays that are taking great enjoyment from puzzling them out. But I think the above are big factors, for any hull that you want to roll in.

    That's all I know...

    Mike
     
  6. lance_randy

    lance_randy Paddler

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    I agree with nootka. That's how I learned to roll, and it was easy. Once you hit a couple rolls, it's much easier to remember what your body was doing, and then apply that to the boat you paddle.

    The biggest factors for rolling, imho, are cockpit fit, and rear deck height. A low rear deck is really the key here, especially for Greenland layback rolls. You can always make it work with a high rear deck, you just have to scootch out of the seat a bit, and sacrifice a bit of form, for a bit more power.

    As far as hull shape and rolling goes, I think that narrower is better than wider, all other things being equal. Round hulls like the Nordkapp are very easy to roll, no resistance, but harder to balance brace and skull. Hard chine boats seem to have a little resistance, you have to get past the tipping point, when you give it with the hips. But, they take much less effort to keep on edge.

    My favorite rolling boat is the Tiderace Xcite. (it's a even a better roller than the Anas Acuta) It has a very flat bottom, and a soft chine in the cockpit area. It also has a very low rear deck. I find that hull to be the best of both worlds. It sits on edge, just as easy as a hardchine boat, but when you roll it, there is no resistance, like a round hull.

    A good place to start, is by foaming out your cockpit so that you have really good contact, especially in the knee/thigh area. I actually don't like to have the hips all padded out like a lot of people do. I tend to really twist my butt sideways, for balance brace, and certain rolls, and the hip pads get in the way of this.
     
  7. Triddles

    Triddles New Member

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    Hi , I have a 15.5 Delta as well and I found her harder to learn in than a smaller ww boat. I still have some trouble with my Delta as sometimes my rudder pedal falls off which means having to get my other half to fix for me. Also unless I am wedged in good and tight I tend to fall out of her when I am under water which means I am really good and climbing back in while in the water. :doh:
     
  8. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Get some minicell foam blocks and cut them to fit the sides of your cockpit -- it will greatly increase your ability to stay in the boat (I had the same problem of falling out of the Delta's).

    Overall, I've found all of the Delta kayaks to be quite easy to roll.

    *****
     
  9. Doug

    Doug Paddler

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    I'm curious, is the Pygmy Tern 14 considered to be easy, moderate or difficult to roll?
     
  10. blondie

    blondie Paddler

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    I was told that it was moderate to difficult to roll.
     
  11. Mark_Schilling

    Mark_Schilling Paddler

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    Damn near impossible. :lol: That's why I let Blondie paddle it - she can roll it much better than I can.
     
  12. inpayne

    inpayne Paddler

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    That's it. Any kayak can be rolled, so start with as inexpensive boat as necessary to more easily provide a foundation for such skills. Unless there is a desire for show over practicality, I have little understanding for purchasing a far more expensive sea kayak to LEARN how to roll. That said, if one has asperations to a higher skillset then do purchase boats that are not cockpit barges and provide a good and tight fit for your figure.

    Get the basics. Borrow white water boats for pool or lake sessions as a perfect start. Learn to roll a small kayak that provides an easy layback and then move on to properly outfitting your personal sea kayak so that the fit turns the boat into a part of you -- snug contact with the inner and outer knees plus hipbone.
     
  13. inpayne

    inpayne Paddler

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    I forgot to add -- fit triumphs hull design when making a roll. Unlike old Perceptions (now equating to only creek boats), more modern white water boats typically have fairly beamy and flat surfing hulls plus relatively awkward looking decks. These are hardly impositions to providing the necessary momentum to roll the boat if your body fits and is fairly locked into the boat with strong contact to the hips and knees.

    So no, looking for a rolling learning boat that more resembles a log won't necessarily help one roll. Fitting well is tops to roll anything.
     
  14. inpayne

    inpayne Paddler

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    ...since I can't edit a post... here's #3:

    Want to be a better kayaker? White water!
     
  15. Doug

    Doug Paddler

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    Ahh, so much to learn Padawan! Quick post on first paddle and roll. But perhaps it will be difficult for my wife to learn in!
     
  16. sushiy

    sushiy Paddler

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    Today, I had achance to roll Delta 15.5.
    It is a beamy, roomy, chunky boat. After moving seat forward, and moving the foot brace all the way back, I still could not touch the foot brace and connect knees to the deck very well. So I had to use the end of foot brace railing as foot support. And this boat was so roomy that I could not tip this kayak over to try rolling. I end up going backward falling onto my back to capsize. I was thinking noway I can roll this thing.
    BUT surprizingly, I was able to come up rolling, and felt that "POP" at a certain moment to help me finish which I've never had on Tern 14. This kayak has more V bottom than my Tern14, I wonder if this deeper V helps rolling.

    Kermode, I don't think this boat is difficult to learn rolling if it fits well to you.

    Doug, yes, and yes Tern 14 is moderate to difficult to roll. But I made it with the help of good thigh brace to lock me in there. So your wife can make it, I believe. Changing the back rest to something like SnapDragon backband to maximize the layback-ability helps and you'll need to install the thigh brace, and send her to a good instructor.
     
  17. Kermode

    Kermode Paddler

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    Sushiy... thank you so much for taking the time to try that experiment :clap: yes my Delta is a very roomy boat, one reason I got it. I have the seat back & the pegs are about 2/3 down, I'm 6' tall & 230lbs (yes I know :oops: gotta lose some weight!) so it fits me pretty well (I think) no doubt some hip padding would help. BUT not being able to roll (yet) I worry a bit about being wedged in, but I appreciate being wedged helps the roll. Catch 22. At least I know now it is "rollable".
    Robin thanks for the comments, I'd love to ww but I dont think my back & shoulders could take the abuse, they're already pretty well screwed. :roll:
     
  18. lance_randy

    lance_randy Paddler

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    Don't worry about being wedged in. If you want out of that cockpit, you will get out, believe me. I've seen people leap from the cockpit, mid-capsize, without even pulling the spray skirt loop.

    A few years back, I hurt my rotator cuff while rolling. I kept trying to roll up on the same side, but my arm just wouldn't work at all, and there was sharp pain. I was in an 80's Nordkapp, which has a tiny ocean cockpit, but with my last bit of air, I had no problem kicking my way free. It was the first and only time I have actually had to wet exit, for real. My legs were all bruised up for days, but when it really came down to it, I had no trouble escaping, I didn't even think about it.
     
  19. rider

    rider Paddler

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    The idea is not to be wedged in to the point you can't move. At least that's not what would work for most people in a touring boat(ok, I know people who outfit their surf boats in a way that allows very little movement at all).To me a good fit just means good positive grip between your thighs/knees and the deck when you want it(have footpegs adjusted right but not too close), and hip pads shaped so your butt doesn't slide around from side to side. That way you have good grip for rolling,comfort for long days in the boat, and ease of entry/exit.
     
  20. Day_Sailer

    Day_Sailer Paddler

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    Here is what Dubside has to say and SHOW about rolling different styles of kayak......sorry if this has been seen before.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5M0X3I4B6nw

    Anyone else practice rolling a Sit on top?