Mary’s New Found Roll

Come here mama….and dig this crazy scene
He’s not too fancy….but his line is pretty clean
He ain’t no drag.
Papa’s got a brand new bag
– james brown

So I know lots of folks who’ve been following along with the “Low Impact Roll” series are not rollers, or at least are not confident rollers.. yet.   Since it’s Friday I want to take a break and share with you a bit of encouragement  by way of example. Normally in the “biz” we’re in the habit of showing you experts and athletes who’ve got rolling down to an art form.  While that can be encouraging it can also be a bit intimidating as well.  So here’s a “real people” example of where we’re going.

Mary who is featured today, is or I should say was, never a confident roller.  Coming from a background that made learning to roll more challenging than for most of us, including an intense fear of water, simply getting a roll at all was quite a feat.  She struggled and was unable learn a standard kayak roll. After switching to a Greenland paddle and a couple years hard work she did learn to do a standard Greenland (or extended paddle roll).   It was never quite 100%. Then she practically stopped rolling for almost 2 years.. until yesterday.

Yesterday she forgot what she didn’t know and subconsciously fell back on what she didn’t know she knew. Follow?

She wanted to see if she remembered how to perform a re-entry roll, which simply put is to get back in your upside-down kayak and roll up.  Back when she could do this maneuver it was always a challenge because she needed time to set up the extended paddle and get everything in position and still have enough air and time to roll.   Well, this time around she jumped in and did it so fast, that she forgot everything she thought she knew about rolling a kayak.  She forgot to worry about the blade being on the surface, she forgot to get the angle just right, she forgot to extend the paddle, she practically forgot to sweep.  She just rolled.  The only thing she seemed to remember was the bit she never really knew she knew…. that bit about rolling the boat up with your body.

After the shock wore off, she rolled and rolled some more.  Her rolls were quickly “sloppy confident”, meaning that when you know what you know, you can cut corners and still be successful. Then I thought, why not try a standard paddle (Something she also could never do before)?!  She did and it was no big shakes.  Just like that Mary found her ‘real’ roll. It had been hiding there all along just waiting for her stop worrying about all the noise, and just roll the boat up.

So watch the video below.  Mary is not a coach, has paddled very little and only pulled off  a couple successful rolls in the last few years.  She’s in my boat not hers, and begins with a Greenland paddle, then switches to a standard paddle.  Her sudden new found roll while not always, “perfect” is confident and performed with more ease than a few coaches I’ve seen. And in the end, that’s what we’re shooting for.  Congrats Mary! (Today you have to get out and repeat it in Your kayak!)

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12 Responses

  1. Wow, impressive. I’m new to kayaking, mostly on lakes. I couldn’t imagine trying to roll a kayak. I’ve mastered falling out of a kayak though! Keep up the good work!

  2. Les

    Mary, thanks for having the skill and courage to prove that an average adult can actually roll a kayak. Most of the videos, ect we see on rolling are done by either kids or young adults who look like professional athletes. For those of us who are not either, THANK YOU!!!