Troubleshooting the Roll: It’s the Hip Snap!

The most talked about skill in whitewater kayaking and potentially the most stigmatic. Everyone has suffered through the learning curve of the roll, and for some, have suffered there whole paddling career leading them to a nervous energy on the river. Truth is, this skill will never become fluid until there is a level of comfort achieved. That means you might bang your head, hands, paddle and who else knows off of rocks on the river bottom.  You have to be ok with that! In fact if you follow the simple steps that you are taught with the roll to no abandon, the technique will keep you protected. Once underwater comfort is achieved, then the next step of body orientation can be choreographed. Once the orientation is understood the execution is demonstrated through the timing and sequence. Any time I teach the roll, these are the focal points I stress time and time again. Trust me, it works!

Speaking on trust, it is imperative for you to find an instructor you not only trust but one that speaks your language. They have to communicate to you the proper execution of the skill with the added challenge of not being able to communicate with you while you are under water, in a stressful environment. Again, your instructor should follow the progression of; comfort, orientation, timing and sequence. If they do not understand this language or cannot keep their explanations simple, it may be time to move on to the next instructor.

2 thoughts on “Troubleshooting the Roll: It’s the Hip Snap!”

  1. Pingback: Some Thoughts on Teaching the Roll | KCCNY Member Blog

  2. This is terrific and I really like the sequence concept as presented. For my own roll, I also see the need for a strong focus on the initial setup, as I am 55 and not 25. Thanks.

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