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Re-entry upside down and roll.

Apr 29, 2012
As i just started learning how to re-enter my kayak, and havent mastered it yet i have been staying very close to shore and being safe.

I have also just started rolling, have onley done about 4-5 rolls yet. mainley becouse i was just having fun, and partley to avoid swimming to shore i tried a re-entry and roll. Surprisingley it worked very well, after a couple atempts getting in the boat . :oops:
came up quick and easy. helped that i had a swim mask strapped to my front deck to wear.

I think i will work on this as i learn to roll. As a big guy, 6'3" 260 lbs i found it very easy to get in under water then trying to get on the deck and straddle the boat. as a very inexperienced paddler i think this is a skill more people should learn from the start of there kayaking carear. If you can roll and are comfortable in the water it is not hard to re-enter the boat while upside down. You can even start with the boat on its side but i found it easier to do it from in under.

Any input? sugestions? criticisms? Again i am a beginner and im not giving advice i am looking for it
Good going Newfie!! Very cool!
Re-enter and roll is advanced version of self rescue. Although I can roll my boats, because I don't have good hang time, scooting in and setting up before feeling air running out is hard for me. Once there rest is not hard.

If, you found it is difficult to do sometimes, look for the cause. If you have too much air in your suit, it will prevent you from fully go upside down to do good sset up. Although I've seen some instructors skip that good setup for this. If your butt is not totally on the seat, that is another cause. Grab the coaming and scoot yourself well into the cockpit and thighs and feet firmly on the braces.
Extendid paddle grip helps it.

One more thought is that, where the water is turbulent enough to capsize you, it is too hard to pump out the water from cockpit or maybe you have to get out of dangerouse place ( like fast current, near rocks, or breaking waves.) quickly. So after you do re-enter and roll, do practice paddling with cockpit full of water.

I have to go re-enter & roll practice on my full size camping kayak!!
newfie in Alberta said:
You can even start with the boat on its side but i found it easier to do it from in under.
Good stuff. Starting with the boat on its side is helpful if your drysuit is very buoyant. If you prefer to roll "right-handed" having the boat with the starboard side underwater and then holding the paddle in your left hand on the port cockpit rim (up and out of the water, parallel to the boat) will have the paddle pretty much ready to execute the roll as soon as you slip your legs in, and you don't have to hold your breath as long since you are at the surface for most of the maneuver. If you put a paddle float on the forward blade makes this all dead simple as you don't even have to worry about the sweeping blade's angle.
Thanks for the tips and advice . I think doing the re-entry and roll may have a lot to do with being relaxed underwater. although i am a beginer kayaker i did a lot of swimming as a kid and i spent a lot of time underwater with a mask on so it seems natural to me.
I think your time underwater will increase with practice. Im not in the best of shape so i dont have any advantage there.

I also saw some videos on you tube where you get your head up and grab some air if your roll/setup isnt going so well and then try again.
newfie says:

"I also saw some videos on you tube where you get your head up and grab some air if your roll/setup isnt going so well and then try again."

Another option is doing a static brace. Sometimes when I blow a roll, I can go into a static brace, get air, relax and try again. It works the other way around too; doing a static brace and not getting back up, but then rolling back up.

Learn the static brace. It feels good too.

I also like wet re-entry and rolls. I haven't tried wet static braces though.
In my experience the #1 killer of an effective roll is going for air. If you lift your head at all with the intention of getting air, your roll has a decent likelihood of failing. If you can separate in your mind and in your rolling reflex the actions of going for air from the actual roll, then it's probably ok to grab a lung-full. If however, going for air is going to become part of your rolling muscle-memory, I would recommend against it. Sculling to the surface and doing a static brace or a sculling brace while you gather your thoughts is great, but personally I would not want to 'contaminate' my rolling reflexes with lifting my head out of the water early in the motion for fear of this becoming some sort of habit. YMMV. :)

One technique to try is imagine that you can breath through your butt. There is tons of air in the kayak so you are set with oxygen for quite a while. That should be a relaxing thought. :D
Thanks every one for the input. I will add static braces and sculling to the sufface to the list of things i need to add to my practice sessions. And trying to lift my head for some air between rolls is probably a bad idea and a bad habit to get into thanks again for the input.
any one who has some tips or advice feel free to speak up!!!
The one piece of advice I can give is try practicing your roll without setting up/planning to roll. If the only time you roll is when you set up or plan to roll you don't get in the habit of rolling after an unexpected capsize. So, try low bracing, high bracing as agressively as possible. Try and get the brace. When it fails because you've pushed it to hard you'll be underwater in an unexpected/uncomfortable position. From there try and move your body and paddle around into the set up position and then roll upright.

Same thing with practicing sculling for support and rolling on your offside. When it fails, try setting up on your good side and rolling up. This is how I improved my roll when I first got it. I still ended up swimming a lot when practicing, but slowly I developped a roll that was more reliable in unexpected capsizes.
NIA, I practise the re-entry roll as part of my rolling drill. It is part of my plan B and I believe very use full especially with a loaded kayak. I have done it for years now.

Four parts to my practice are gettting into the boat further while its on its side. another is to take a few extra seconds and get into good safe contact with the boat and a third is to slow the extended roll down so there is no body parts injury.The fourth part is just doing another roll with the skirt askew or off just for that practise.

It does not take long before you do not need the goggles or you can close your eyes within them. It takes between 50 to 70 pump strokes with my Explorer to empty the boat which does warm you up. Interesting also that its absolutely the easiest way to get into my Icekap which has a very tight partially enclosed cockpit.

I have recently added a back wards stretch move to it to gain flexibility and to remind myself that I have lots of breath holding capability.So after I am securely into the boat I take the added time to do a slow yoga type stretch before I roll up. Lots of fun.

Sometimes I add a drop my main paddle and grab my storm off the deck while underwater and roll up with it. I have to admit somtimes that amount of time has me gasping a little. Still fun though. :wink:
you've had so much advice, with much of it covering so much ground that maybe it would be helpful if you organize it into acclimatization drills, helpful related practice, and some direct rolling techniques.

So all acclimatization stuff is great, all related practice is great, but the direct rolling advice that I would firstly give to a 260# guy in a wide delta is to keep very, very good paddling box posture - as you especially can be liable to shoulder injury with uncoached forceful movement with extended and rotated arms.
Secondly I would demand that you practice equally on your weak side as your strong (about 70% of pple that I help, roll on their weak side first - plus you automatically end up with 2x as many rescue possibilies). I can't force you, so make yourself do this - I know it's hard and annoying and you can do it later, but do not as it actually will help you now.
And thirdly, pretend that your nose and eyes are tied to your paddle blade with a 20"(500mm) strings (like very short) - as it keeps your head down and almost automatically makes you hip flick.

practice 4 or 5 whatever on one side, then switch and the same on the other side.


[and for fun, I will mention something controversial as I have read 2 or 3 people speaking directly against it:
When I was by myself firstly practicing in a lake or pool, I found it a little annoying to have to bail out of and bail out my kayak every time that I screwed up. So as I was using a beater paddle that I had also made, I just started pushing off the bottom. Viola! it uses the same hipflick as real hip flick practice and the same basic posture as a roll - head down, body up! And the bonus was that it was quick as a roll and not tiring and time consuming as reentering and rolling and bailing or bailing out, dragging to shore, dewatering, getting back in and skirting up. You just need shallow water (say 3 1/2'), a beater or strong paddle and need to keep the paddle absolutely vertical at first.
The reasons given that others speaking against it give is that 1) it enforces or allows bad technique - which is opposite of what it actually provides 2)if you use it in dire conditions that one's paddle can get stuck in the bottom - which is ok by me as I don't need to use it in those conditions from all the practice it allowed ( heh heh) or if I did: now I'm breathing & upright, and either now pull it out or grab my spare.
In any case, it'll never be de rigueur.]