01 June 2006

Solo Roll

An after work paddle tonight. I paddled to the east through Olcott, Wolf, and on into Little Wolf lake. All the way across to the county park beach, where a wet exit would be less of a hassle. I stowed my hat and sunglasses, and got out my goggles and nose plugs. Then I sat in the boat and tried not to psych myself out. That first solo roll is a real tough one to initiate. After I visualized all of the motions, I took a deep breath and tipped over. The water was warm and pretty clear. My body remembered the correct position, and the first extended paddle roll worked, but it must have looked pretty bad, because I could feel that I had to use my arms way too much to get all the way back up. I took a moment to relax and let the realization sink in, then I made a nervous involuntary laugh. I told myself that I needed to tuck farther in the set up and reach farther in the sweep, and drive harder with my knee in the hip snap, and it will work better. So I set up and tipped over again. The second roll was better. I did six extended paddle rolls, on the first try each time. So why stop there? I thought maybe I should try a sweep roll with my hands in the regular paddling location on the paddle this time. I set up, took a deep breath, and tipped over again. Yeah. It didn't work, I am still relying on too much of the sweep to finish my roll, and without the extended paddle, not enough leverage. So there I was, upside down. I have always been able to keep my cool when inverted in the kayak, and I'm sure that was a huge benefit tonight. I was able to change my hand positions to the extended version, and move the paddle into place, and execute another extended paddle roll to place myself back into the high oxygen environment. OK, stop there? Nope, I just have to push it. So I set up for a sweep roll again, and I got the same results. Oh well. So now I'm pretty comfortable changing hand positions and using an extended paddle roll. It beats a wet exit any day. I just have to keep working on it, I'll get it. I did achieve the main goal tonight anyway. I got my first solo roll under my belt.

7 comments:

Alex said...

congrats! great feeling isn't it? i still remember my first few solo rolls (same thing with the extended paddle and failing on the standard) and how nervous and sloppy i was. it really shows a lot about you that you go out and practice rolling alone. most people seek comfort to roll (pool with spotter) but rolling is all about being comfortable in uncomfortable places. be safe and keep practicing!

Andrew said...

Once you get that one reliable roll (doesn't matter how - just as long as you get up) your learning can really take off! No more time wasted wet exiting, emptying the boat, swimming to shore, climbing back in, then calming yourself down for another attempt. It comes with a great feeling of freedom since you're not dependant on anyone to spot you. When it only takes a few seconds to pop back up, how many rolls can you practice in an hour? Congrats.

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derrick said...

What they said. .

Try just shortening it up a bit each time, slowly working your way to the normal sweep roll. There is a little bit of a position change with a normal hand position because your paddle will start bumping the boat. You'll need to set up a little higher so when you roll the back of the blade goes over the hull. If you shorten the paddle just a little each time and work your way into it, it can seem a bit more intuitive.

Great Job!! You'll get there. .

Wenley said...

Bravo, Richard! By next spring, I foresee you in a tuiliq as some cods hang in a line over a SOF.

Matthew Keller said...

Great job! Solo rolls make me feel like I can conquor the world. As Matt Johnson says...."you'll never be hot in you kayak again"!

Anonymous said...

Try keeping your head and upper body in the water as long as possible and then just slide up when the kayak is turned upright. Sounds like you're forcing your upper body out of the water too early. If you focus on this I guarantee that you will start relying less on your sweep and more on the hip-flick-thing.
A good way to practice this is to hold on to a jetty or practice greenland partner rescues by grabbing a mates bow and using that for leverage. Focus on turning the boat whilst staying in the water and then just slide over the deck and sit up. Otherwise it sound like you're doing fine!!!
Keep it up and keep on practicing!
/Sam