Sunday, 19 February 2012

Greenland rolling?

When I started kayaking, back in the 80's, the wing paddle didn't exist, so I learned to paddle in sprint kayaks with euro blades. When I was around 18 the "new" wing paddles got to our club but you had to buy your own and they were expensive, so I kept using the euro blades. When I did my incursion into white water there was no question of what paddle to use (no wings of course).  I hadn't heard about greenland paddles until a few years ago and by then I was very used to the euro blades. I can paddle with a wing or a greenland but you need a different technique with each different paddle to get the most of it so I prefer to stay with the euro as my main and the spare paddle.

I am not into the history of kayaks or tradition of kayaks. I am not interested in making my own paddle or my own kayak. But I am interested in the challenges of rolling and the bio mechanics involved.
I have a confident sweep, backward finish roll on both sides tested in many surfing sessions, so I can now focus on the "luxury" of trying some more extravagant styles of rolling and once mastered enrich my repertoire of "combat" rolls.

this is how I look when practising rolls, like a monster from the deeps,

Actually there are three kind of rolls that I would like to learn or master:
a storm roll (,
a back deck roll (
and a hand roll (

On Saturday, as my wrist was a bit sore, I decided to skip the paddling and take the kayak to the bay and work on my "luxury" rolls. My family came along and after taking my kid for a paddle:

I asked my better half to record me as a way to see what I am doing wrong and try to correct that.
In order to get a hand roll with a flowing motion (as opposed to pushing with the hands and doing a lot of splash) I gathered that you need a balance brace, which came very easy to me when i first tried. What still doesn't come easy is the recover from the balance brace without helping myself with the paddle. Here is a small video showing how I fail at the recovering:

and this is how I "cheat" it with a small splash of the paddle at the moment of moving my torso onto the deck:

Then I tried the full hand roll and this is what I got:

It looks good, doesn't it, but I am in the shallow and a small brush against the bottom was enough thrust to finish it :-(

Then was the time to try a couple of storm rolls, first my strong side:

and then the off side.

Taking into account that this is the first time I try the storm roll, I think it was not that bad, but still needs a lot more working...

I tried a back deck roll but was too awkward and it failed miserably. No video of this as my wife was chasing my kid.

The other good thing about this session is that I stayed close to my family and in some ways they were included.


  1. Hi Fer,

    nice blog. That balance brace is looking pretty comfortable. :) I haven't quite got there yet. I had a little play with it on Saturday morning but my mask strap snapped so perhaps I wasn't quite comfortable enough to really relax into it while my sinuses flooded.

  2. Hey I thought you might find this post useful:
    It captures my advice on getting a static brace to be solid.