If you're like me and you couldn't put two boards together to save your life.. (Well, I did build a porch once. . but.. oh, nevermind!) and kit boats and classes just won't save you from your own lack of time or talent, that shouldn't stop you from enjoying the experience of paddling your own hand-made skin-on-frame kayak. The trick of course, is finding someone to build it for you that won't make you feel like a second class citizen for not doing it yourself.
In Greenland rolling an essential technique, and the foundation of a variety of rolls is called the balance brace. This little maneuver is simply the act of floating your upper body without falling over. The challenge is that with your upper body in the water, the kayak wants to follow you in. That means we have to position our bodies in a particular way to "balance" the boat against the weight of our torso to remain on the surface. Yeah, it's tricky. While we're going to talk about the balance brace for at least a couple posts in this series.. I'm here to tell you that you don't need to be successful at it, to have an effortless roll. All we really want here is are elements which will help us roll much more smoothly (Even if we never touch a Greenland paddle or do a balance brace in our lives).