01 June 2006
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.