Kayaking Technique Forum

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Re: A Pool Roll is not a Combat Roll

: I have to agree with Woody... ;)

: I was on a whitewater trip on Sunday. I have a "perfect" pool roll,
: but I've learned how difficult rolling in real conditions can be. I didn't
: swim, but I came close twice. They weren't good rolls, they weren't pretty
: rolls, but they worked, and they showed me how much more roll practice I
: need. I'd sure love to hear about "Woody's Deep Trouble" but I
: know a promise is a promise!

: Agreed. I also had one occasion where I brought myself up from a horizontal
: position with a constant sculling high brace.

: I'm not trying to discount the value of a pool roll, and I know you're not
: either, Woody. You've gotta start somewhere. My roll has allowed me
: significant gains in my high brace and leaning skills. When I'm not afraid
: to really lean out on edge, even in flat water, because I know that I have
: a roll to back me up if I go "too far", I've gained a lot from
: having a roll, even if the roll by itself isn't 100% reliable.

: Shawn


Well, here is the dilemma, the choice between a perfect world and the everyday...do you think that students should be advised not to go on any trips until they can reliably roll the boat? If so, than any type of certification course, let's say a standard 2 day basics program similar to that provided by most kayaking schools would have to include rolling. It would be unethical to advise anyone to kayak without a roll if that were our position. No-one who failed to roll properly would be considered safe on the water. So what I am saying is that rolling is the best choice, and it should be reflexive, but is it a realistic goal for the novice/intermediate kayaker who finds themself out of the boat. Again, we cannot predict weather, we only make educated decisions. We have all been caught in unexpected problems.

We already make the assumption that students must learn the T, the paddle float, etc...so that they have some recourse in the event of capsize. Yes, rolling is preferred, but it doesn't seem as quickly mastered as other methods. Do we advise everyone to learn to roll before they go out kayaking? My point is that people can safely kayak without the roll, if they have these other back-up systems. I hate pumping water out of the boat and sponging up a puddle while I brace and paddle. Everyone does. But its not all that hard to do re-entry, most people have it down to less than a minute, with about another minute to pump out, using a high capacity hand held pump. An electric bilge pump is better, but who can really trust the thing to work reliably?

So, question is, for I have rambled somewhat...should rolling be a mandatory requirement for entry level kayakers? If so, what is the best system for learning and the best basic roll to develop? And how quickly can this be achieved in the best and worst case scenarios?

Great comments from everyone...but it sounds like earlier exchanges around rolling covered some of this ground.

Cheers, David