How to Roll a Kayak?

Kayaking is not just an adventurous sport, but also an excellent recreation. From kids to adults, everyone loves kayaking. All alone, with the family, pets, depends on individual desire. Who doesn’t love to roam around the serene nature; amidst water and greeneries on a watercraft? That too one as comfy and cozy as a kayak. No matter what their skill level is, kayakers need to know some techniques for their own safety. And that should not only be limited to how to paddle or get on a kayak at all. One also needs to know how to save oneself in adverse situations.

A Capsized Sit-In Kayak

One such common situation is the sudden flipping of a kayak. You are paddling a kayak on calm whitewater with a few waves here and there. However, suddenly you find yourself in the water due to overturning or capsizing of the kayak. Keep in mind, when a kayak flips, you are in it. Because most efficient, well-made kayaks are sit-in kayaks. So when the kayak overturns upside down, you are underwater, thus need to instantly right it. To get out of the mess and right it, pronto, you will have to know all the techniques of how to roll a kayak. Safely, of course.

Kayak Roll

Kayak roll, aka Eskimo roll, is the technique a kayaker applies to righting the kayak from its upside-down position, being in the kayak himself due to the capsizing. It’s a legit technique and needs to be practiced right before starting the journey as a kayaker. Rolling of the kayak is one common skill with variations in methods. To be precise, you will have to roll over the kayak, no matter how you do it. And that process you applied and got successful will be called a kayak roll.

How to Roll a Kayak?
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In the past, many expert kayakers and curious minds had rolled their capsized kayaks using different techniques. And all of them have been compiled into the many types of kayak roll. Some kayakers might like to apply some and some the rest. Its preference and which one you practiced and honed to a T.

Explaining Screw Roll and C-To-C Roll

However, here, we will explain the very common, very easy, effortless, and most kayaker’s preference to roll over a capsized kayak. We are talking about two techniques; the Screw Roll, aka Sweep Roll, and the C-to-C Roll.

The former is great to apply in more favorable water conditions where you have space and the latter when the water is comparatively rougher. Also, the latter is actually easier than the former. So let’s start with the latter first.

C-to-C Roll – Step by Step

  • To roll the kayak, first, hold the kayak paddle with a firm grip. Just when the kayak capsizes, swing the front blade into the water until it comes to a 90-degree angle.
  • Keep a close eye on the blade moving in the water, cutting through it, and continue swaying your body along the blade. This will help to keep the motion intact.
  • Here you will have to use your forearm. If you have paddled on the left side, obviously, you will use your left forearm.
  • While your front blade is moving through the water and reaches a 90-degree, make a move. Push the side edge of the kayak with the forearm immediately
  • Push the edge with your forearm and simultaneously push the paddle downward in the water.
  • The push will make the shaft reach far, and it might be submerged till its midpoint. And with that push, you will sense the strength. The more it goes in the water, you feel the strength.
  • Use that strength to move your hip and get your kayak back upright on the water. Make sure all this time your kayak paddle is close to the kayak, not at a distance.
  • It’s all about the right amount of push and correct timing. Much practice will make this technique your most favorite and most used skill during kayak roll.

The above statement actually applies to all kayak roll techniques. Including the screw roll, we are going to discuss right below.

Screw Roll – Step by Step

  • It all depends on your hips and the paddle once again. So, you haven’t lost the paddles and are not in a narrow space. Rather you have a lot of space around. The water condition is not rough, either. It is calm and flat.
  • When you are underwater, hold the paddle parallel to the capsized kayak over water. You might have to bend a little in the water. You will need a firm grip on the paddle and stretch your arms fully.
  • Now, you have to attempt the motion as if you are paddling the kayak without getting wet. The difference is you paddle on a kayak keeping the front blade closer to it. But here, you have to swing the front blade to a little distance, not too distant, though, and get it through the water to get the strength to snap up the hip.
  • Keep in mind that the blade will go through the water with 2-3 inches of the shaft; that’s it. Make sure not to take the paddle too deep.
  • Swing the blade through the water until the paddle is at a 90-degree angle. This is when you will have the strength to move your hip on the kayak and give that much-needed push to it so that it is again upright on the water.

A Bonus – Hand Roll – Step by Step

  • If you have lost your paddle and have nothing to use to cut through the water and get the strength, you need to use your hands.
  • When the boat capsizes, bend backward and come near to the water surface. Your head is near the water surface, and your hands should be too. They must be closer to your face.
  • Now push your hands down in the water, and with that little force, just hip snap up. If one push doesn’t feel right, push down, bring it back, and push the hands down again.
  • The continuous hand motion will give the hip the strength to snap up the kayak upright without a paddle.

Everyone has a technique to kayak rolling depending on the water condition, you have the paddle or lost it in the water, what type of kayak you have, and a lot more. These techniques have different names. Some we have already explained. Knowing all the methods will keep you safe in any water condition and any grave situation. And these are easy but need time to hone. But unless you strop the skill, you are at risk, which is unacceptable. So even if they take time, all kayakers must practice, learn, and hone all of these kayak roll skills.

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