Kayaking Technique Forum

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Practice Conditions for Rolling

I am interested in the variety of sea conditions that people practice rolling in.I have found that I can roll fairly consistently in mild sea conditions, but in harsher conditions I have failed. I must admit that I have practiced wet exits and reentering under larger seas more often than rolls.

To be honest most of the Kayakers I have been with on Lake Michigan practice their rolls in protected areas. To some degree I think that people are fooling themselves. The most likely situation that one will need to roll in is under high seas, 4ft and over with winds above 10-15 knots. I think part of the problem is that practicing rolls in higher seas is risky, and we all want to avoid the risk.

If people practice in higher seas I would be interested in how assistance is provided. My experience is that bringing a kayak to assist another kayak in high seas is difficult and can result in impacts. Once the kayaker is in the water even in higher seas I have been able to provide some assistance, but helping someone who appears to be having trouble exiting in high seas is to be honest well beyond my skill level and at age 47 probably beyond my physical ability. Maybe what I am discussing could be called an advance rolling class, it seems to me that if kayakers cannot roll under more extreme conditions 20 or 30 rolls in calm conditions do not seem worth very much.

Rod