How to Correctly Roll a Kayak
Whether you are just learning how to kayak Las Vegas or you are a seasoned pro, it’s important that you know how to safely maneuver your boat when you are out on the water. No matter what your experience level is with kayaking, one important skill that you will want to learn is how to roll a kayak. Rolls vary in their level of difficulty, and they are designed for beginners through pros.
Why Learn to Roll a Kayak?
Whether you are planning to boat solo or going out with a group, such as a Colorado River kayaking adventure with Blazin’ Paddles, learning to roll a kayak is an important safety skill. You may already be familiar with the wet exit, which is a means of exiting the boat when you flip. However, rolling a kayak is the next step beyond a wet exit. When you roll a kayak, you stay in the boat rather than exit into the water. While it’s okay to completely exit your kayak when you are boating in flat and calm waters, it is generally safer to stay in your kayak when you are kayaking in rapids and fast-moving rivers. Even if you have not yet ventured out onto swiftly-moving waters, you may find that learning to roll your boat builds confidence as you build your level of kayaking skills.
Types of Kayak Rolls
Now that you know the benefit of learning to roll a Las Vegas kayak, it’s time to learn the types of kayak rolls that you might use. There are four main types of kayak rolls, including:
- C to C Roll
- Screw Roll
- Reverse Sweep
- Hand Roll
The C to C roll is one of the most commonly used rolls among whitewater kayakers. The C to C roll gets its name from the arc-shaped paths that the paddles make during the roll. Although this roll is generally preferred by kayakers who are boating in fast-moving water, it is easy to learn and practice, which also makes it a good roll for beginners to learn. The C to C roll is a fast roll that is one of the more reliable types of rolls used in rough water or on large bodies of water where there may also be wind and choppy waves. The C to C roll can also be performed in tight spaces, which is ideal if you are kayaking through a narrow section of a river. To perform this roll, you will want to start with the paddle right beside the kayak. Hold your paddle with both hands just above the water’s surface so that the front blade is flat near the surface. If you have a concave paddle, the concave curved side should face up. Next, tuck your head so that your chin lies against your chest and lean in the direction that you are holding the paddle. Turn your body towards the paddle and lean until you rotate into the water. Then, swing the paddle 90 degrees towards the kayak, keeping the paddle near the surface as you roll. You should do a hip snap to complete the roll and right the boat.
One of the most frequently used rolls among novice and experienced kayakers alike is the Screw roll, which is also called the Sweep roll. This is one of the most common and popular kayak rolls to learn. It is a popular choice among beginners because it is easy to learn. The Screw roll is slightly more challenging to learn than the C to C roll, so you may want to have at least some kayaking experience under your belt first before you start to learn the Screw roll. While the C to C roll is ideal for narrow and choppy waters, the opposite is true for the Screw roll. The best place to learn (and use) the Screw roll is open, calm, and flat waters. To perform the Screw roll, you’ll want to make a quick sweeping stroke from the front of the kayak to the boat after the boat has rolled. When you reach the midway point of the Screw roll, you should use the stability and momentum of the paddle to bring your body back up towards the surface of the water. As with the C to C roll, you will use the hip snap to complete the roll and return to an upright position.
If you are ever kayaking in a situation where you need to roll quickly, the Reverse Sweep, which is also called the Back Deck roll, is one of your best bets. The Reverse Sweep is also ideal if you are leaning backwards in your kayak and need to safely roll. The Reverse Sweep is very similar to the traditional Screw roll, except that it is performed in reverse. The Reverse Sweep is generally recommended for more experienced kayakers, as it is a bit more difficult to learn than the previous rolls. The Reverse Sweep also makes it more challenging to stay connected with the boat, which can become problematic if you are out kayaking in rapids or faster-moving bodies of water.
The fourth main roll that kayakers use is called the Hand roll. The Hand roll, as you may have already guessed, is a roll that is performed without a paddle. Since you can easily lose your paddle if you are out kayaking on rough or choppy water, learning the Hand roll as a backup roll can come in handy. The secret to success with the Hand roll is the hip snap, which is a staple maneuver that you will learn in your other kayak rolls, too. The Hand roll is the most advanced of the four common kayaking rolls. It can take some time, patience, and practice to learn, but once you get the hang of it, the roll becomes much easier to do. It can also be a neat trick to show off to your friends. To perform the Hand roll, you will want to start off by locking your thumbs when you are under water. This creates a large “flipper” with your arms that makes it easier to turn yourself and your boat right-side up. At the same time that you are creating the flipper with your thumbs, you’ll use the momentum of a hip snap to turn the boat right-side up. This roll is sometimes called the “White Whale” as well.
Where Should Novice Kayakers Learn to Roll?
If you are new to the sport of kayaking, you are probably wondering “where can I learn to roll a kayak near me?” The ideal place to learn to roll your boat is on calm, flat waters, which is also where you will want to learn how to kayak in the first place. You should aim to avoid strong currents, obstacles, and large open bodies of water, which can all make learning to roll your boat more challenging. Clear, calm waters, and even a swimming pool, are better options for learning to successfully roll your kayak. As a rule of thumb, experts recommend rolling your boat at least 100 times in calm water before moving out to choppy waters or rapids.
Once you’ve mastered the kayak roll, you’ll be ready for Las Vegas kayak tours with Blazin’ Paddles. Contact the experts for more information on the great kayaking adventures available, such as kayaking the Colorado River or going on a Black Canyon kayaking tour.