The sequence of movements is identical to the Pawlata described earlier
except that hands remain in the normal paddling position on the shaft. The
hip flick must be more effective than for the Pawlata, since less support is
available from the shorter paddle lever, and it is even more important that
the back hand is pushed clear of the hull to give the back blade space to
Like all rolls that are intended to be used in difficult situations, it
should be learned on both sides. It is the basis for a whole family of rolls
that can all be performed without moving the hands along the shaft.
Some beginners find it easier to learn the Screw Roll directly rather
than pass through the Pawlata sequence.
Sea Kayak Rolling - The Steyr Roll
|The Steyr Roll is a reverse Pawlata. The paddle sweeps across the
surface from the rear of the boat to the front and, in order to do
this, the wind-up is performed differently. From the Pawlata
position the paddle is raised to the vertical; as it continues past
the vertical it must be turned outward with the wrists until the
position shown above is reached. To capsize, the paddle is
pushed down towards the water and the body follows, arched backwards
and to the side. The waist and hips act as a universal joint in a
similar way to the Pawlata but, in this case, the body rotation is
in the opposite direction to that of the boat, because the paddle is
carrying out a reverse sculling sweep. The Steyr is used as a
training roll for the Reverse Screw Roll in the same way that the
Pawlata is used for the Screw.
Sea Kayak Rolling - The Reverse Screw Roll
The Reverse Screw Roll is used when for any reason the paddler
has capsized and been pushed on to the back deck, or the paddle blade is at
the back of the boat; typically this occurs if the boat capsizes over the
paddle during a bow stroke. The wind-up position is reached in the same way
as the wind-up for the Steyr. The roll can be particularly useful as a
follow-on to a Screw Roll which does not quite bring the paddler back into
balance: the blade position is quickly reversed and a Reverse Screw follows.
More commonly, a Screw Roll backs up a Reverse Screw which fails.
Sea Kayak Rolling - The Vertical Paddle & C to C Roll
A number of rolls are possible using a vertical instead of a
horizontal paddle. The hip flick action in this case pulls the boat
underneath the body and the paddle provides the resistance. At first it
seems impossible for a vertical paddle to provide the necessary support, but
the principle becomes clearer if the boat is thought of as rolling around
the hips and under the body. A simple draw or sculling draw action can be
used. A combination of put across, screw and vertical paddle roll can
be used as a good mobility exercise.
|WARNING: The extended arm position shown here
is much weaker than one in which the arms stay bent with the paddle
parallel and close to the line across the shoulders. Applying
excessive force while the arm is extended, especially if the
pressure on the arm is also in a rearwards direction has been the
cause of many shoulder dislocations among kayakers.
The paddler starts sitting upright in his boat, with his paddle
horizontally above his head. For a recovery on the right the right
arm is pushed up to full extension and the left arm retracted to the
shoulder, until the paddle shaft is almost vertical. The paddler
capsizes to the right, holding this position until the blade touches
the water. As the blade touches the water a reverse hip flick
(pulling the kayak over on top of the paddler) keeps the paddle and
upper body near the surface while the boat completes the capsize.
The boat is then hip flicked up while, at the same time, the right
arm is pulled in towards the hip and the left arm extended to full
stretch. There is very little rotation of the waist in this
roll; instead the hip flick is generated by a sideways bend at the
The C to C Roll uses a sweep of the paddle out from the
bow of the kayak followed by this same pull down movement. Although
the initial action of the paddle makes it appear to be a Screw Roll,
it is actually more of a Put Across/Vertical Paddle roll.
Kayak Rolling - The Storm Roll
The storm roll may be performed as a Pawlata
or as a Screw
roll. The wind-up positions are the same except that in each case the
edge of the forward blade is angled in towards rather than away from the
boat. After capsize, the blade is pulled in a vertical arc from bow to stern
and becomes a long vertical sculling draw rather than a horizontal sculling
sweep. The storm roll is to the vertical paddle roll what the Pawlata is to
the put across. It is impractical on rivers because of the depth needed for
the paddle, but a study of film taken in Greenland shows that it is the
preferred roll of the Angmassalik Inuit. The observer can recognize a storm
roll by the pronounced lift of the bow as the roll begins.
Kayak Rolling - The Hand Roll
If a good hip flick is developed then the boat can
be rolled upright using the hands. In the sequence shown the flick
action is important as enough momentum must be given to the boat to
lift the body clear after it breaks surface. The top hand is often
thrown across to increase the momentum. As with the paddle rolls,
the body recovery can be in forward or backward positions. Alternatively,
if the position of the body close to the kayak and the buoyancy
forces are used to full effect, then a very graceful roll can be
achieved with only a small hand movement.
Many paddlers can perform one-handed rolls, with the
other hand held inside the spray cover, and stories are even told of
rolls performed without any use of the hands at all. The ability to
hand roll can be more than a stunt. In Kayak Polo players
often lose their paddles and capsize when shooting for goal, and
even on the roughest rivers a hand-roll will sometimes buy enough of
a respite to enable the bank to be reached, or a dropped paddle to
be regained. Training to hand roll is progressive, with less
and less buoyant or resistant objects being used as the support for
the hip flick until, finally, the hands alone are needed.
Kayak Rolling - Other Rolls, Special
Circumstances and Conclusion
The experienced roller uses a variety of techniques and combinations of
moves to right the boat. The position and feel of his paddle following
capsize and his knowledge of the water conditions tell him what he must do
in order to bring himself upright. In general he pulls his body to the
surface using the waist, knees and hips and then uses the paddle to prevent
the body from sinking during the hip flick. This movement enables the body
to be brought back over the boat during the follow through. The rolls listed
here are merely some of the separately identifiable types that may be used
to achieve this.
In certain circumstances the information given in the preceding
paragraphs may need to be modified. The possibilities for rolling situations
are infinite but a few are readily identifiable.
Kayak Rolling in Stoppers (Holes) and Breaking Waves
In stoppers or when 'bongo-sliding' in surf, there is so
much turbulence and power in the water that normal techniques are
impossible. Instead the body is braced with the paddle in such a position
that the drive of the water turns the boat upright, and the body position is
then adjusted to ensure stability.
Rolling in Shallow Water
In shallow water, especially if it is relatively slow moving, pushing off
the bottom with a vertical paddle can be very effective. A good hip flick is
important, and care must be taken to ensure that the shaft is truly vertical
before the roll is attempted. Aligning the paddle blade with the water flow
will reduce the pressure on the blade, and will sometimes allow for a roll
to be completed even in very fast water. In very shallow water it may
be impossible to find clearance to do a normal roll and levering against the
bottom may be the only option. In shallow, rough water rivers any use of the
paddle to roll may be impossible, and a hand roll off the bottom or a
passing rock is worth attempting. Aggressively moving into the roll
wind-up position will remove the head and face from the most direct impact
with rocks, and speed and success will save the paddler from bruises and
scrapes as he tries to eject.
Kayak Re-Entry and Roll
There may be occasions, particularly when sea paddling, that an attempt
at rolling fails and the paddler finds himself in the water alongside his
boat but a long way from any safe landing. It may not be possible for his
colleagues to come and rescue him, so he is on his own. One option he has is
the re-entry and roll. He comes alongside his kayak which has hopefully
remained upside-down and is not too full of water, turns himself upside
down, gets in and rolls up. Once clear of immediate danger the boat can be
emptied by pump or conventional rescue techniques.
Kayak Stunt Rolls
These rolls are used for entertainment and building water confidence.
The paddle acts as the hand of a clock. Wind-up is as for a Pawlata roll
but turn the wrists outward as for the Steyr. During capsize sweep the
paddle over the head to the Steyr start position. Roll up using the Steyr.
For a clockwise clock the sequence must be performed left-handed.
Repeat as often as desired.
The boat capsizes. The paddle remains under water, parallel to the
surface. It is extended so that the near blade is held horizontally while
the far blade is vertical. An action similar to the sweep stroke will cause
the boat to spin round and round on the surface. The paddler rolls up when
he runs out of breath.
Top Hat Roll
This can be performed with any prop, but a top hat is traditional. The
paddler must be able to roll one-handed. For a right-handed roll he removes
the top hat from his head with his right hand and capsizes to the left. As
the boat settles upside-down the still-dry hat is placed on the upturned
hull with the right hand. It is retrieved with the left hand as the roll is
completed with the right hand and placed, still dry, back on the head.
Cross Bow Roll
Wind up and capsize is as for a normal screw roll. Under water the paddle
is crossed over the bow and swept out in the opposite direction. The paddle
finishes under the boat, so it must be released as the roll finishes. Many
variations are possible.
This list of rolls is not complete, and many other ways can be found of
bringing boats upright. It is fun to experiment, and to see what can be
achieved. In the end, it is not what the roll is called that matters, but
whether it works in difficult situations. Newcomers to rolling should
realise that there is a world of difference between a simple screw roll in a
swimming pool and a complex recovery stroke performed on the weak side in
cold rough water when they are tired and frightened. Only practice in
realistic situations can make rolling better and more consistent.
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