Author Archive

Have a question?

Get in touch with Helen at info@greenlandorbust.org.

She looks forward to any questions and hopes you enjoy reading the answers.

Rolling a Qajaq Versus a Kayak

Question: I have been pretty successful in learning rolls in my 17-foot touring kayak. I have eight rolls, and while I need to work on flexibility, I am pleased with my progress. I now have a norsaq roll! I built a 17-foot skin-on-frame, which keeps my legs much straighter than in the touring boat. I do have some lateral hip space. I am struggling to even do a Standard Greenland Roll. I feel like I have lost my hip snap in my skin-on-frame. Do you have any suggestions? P.S. Your video progression from the Butterfly to Norsaq to Hand Roll is what got me to the norsaq roll!

Answer: Rolling a skin-on-frame qajaq can feel very different than rolling a touring kayak. With a touring kayak your contact points are on your inner thighs. In being so, the leg motion that rotates the kayak is an inward one, meaning that the thigh lifts up and in, controlled by the hip. It can help to think of this movement as pressure, instead of a “snap.” With a skin-on-frame qajaq, the contact point is on the upper thighs, and the leg motion is more of an upward lift than an inward one. Once again, thinking of this as pressure (instead of a snap) often helps in understanding what needs to occur. It’s also worth checking the outfitting in your skin-on-frame qajaq. Lateral space is good, because it gives your hips the room to move for both paddling and rolling. Since the pressure point in this type of kayak is on the top of your thighs (at the masik), you shouldn’t have too much space between your thighs and the masik. That said, make sure that you can exit the kayak safely in case of a capsize. – Helen

Storm Gathering USA 2017 – Event Video

Storm Gathering USA – Trinidad, California – March 3, 4 and 5, 2017

Storm Gathering USA 2017 – Event Video.

Produced by Helen Wilson

Storm Gathering events are sea kayak symposiums designed for those wanting to take their skills to the next level. The UK SGS and the SGS USA events are presented by GreenlandorBust.org.

The symposium featured in this video took place in Trinidad, California from March 3 to 5, 2017. The next UK event takes place next March 2018 in Pembrokeshire, Wales. The next USA event takes place March 8 to 10, 2019 in Trinidad, California.

Get in touch if you want more information about either event – info@greenlandorbust.org

3 Sea Kayaking Destinations That Should Be On Your Radar

This Blog can be found on Outdoor Research’s Verticulture site. Click HERE for the link. Thanks for reading! – Helen

PFDs, Clothing and Tuiliks

Question: My roll has greatly improved thanks to you and your tips. I can roll with a norsaq now! I am thinking of buying a tuilik and wonder if you use a PFD on top or underneath. What do you wear under it in winter and freezing temps?

Answer: Congrats on your norsaq roll! I wear a PFD over my Reed tuilik and under my Brooks tuilik (the Brooks tuilik is too bulky to wear it on top). I typically wear my drysuit under my tuilik. Under the drysuit, I dress according to air/water temperature, wearing either just an inner core layer, just an outer core layer or both. And for the feet, SmartWool socks. – Helen

Stalled Roll

Question: I have a solid Balance Brace, but when I set up and go over for my standard roll, my momentum seems to stall out while I am in the upside down position, making it super difficult (impossible) for me to come around to set up and finish my roll. What’s going on here? Do I need to be more aggressive going over? It’s like my boat likes to hang out in the upside down position, but I sure don’t! Help.

Answer: It sounds like your kayak might not be fully capsizing. This is a fairly common problem. There are a few things that you can do to make it easier. First, when capsizing, try to enter the water forehead first (as if you were doing a dive and not a belly flop). A diving position (with a rounded spine) will help you to get deeper into the water. Once you reach a certain point, the kayak will automatically capsize completely. If you do get stuck, try jiggling your hips to bring the kayak over. Another thing you can try is holding the paddle next to the kayak and on edge (instead of flat on the surface) to create less buoyancy during the initial capsize. Make sure to hold it close to the kayak instead of allowing it to drift away from it. Flatten the paddle again for the recovery. Finally, make sure that in your underwater set-up position, you’re fully tucked and as close to the surface as possible. – Helen

Question: Could you explain a bit more about the underwater set up and keeping fully tucked and as close to the surface as possible?

Answer: In the underwater set-up position, It’s important to tuck so that you’re as close to the surface as possible. See how close you can get your face to the surface, while keeping your shoulders square to the surface (the kayak should be upside down during this tuck). What this does is it gives you “opening power.” The more tucked you are, the more energy you’ll be able to exert as you open your body (which is when you put your eyebrows underwater, engage the knee and slide onto the back deck). Without this tuck the body hangs below the kayak, and therefore, there’s no unwinding action, and no energy to tap into. – Helen

What You Need to Know Before Your First Multi-Day Kayak Trip

This Blog can be found on Outdoor Research’s Verticulture site. Click HERE for the link. Thanks for reading! – Helen

The Cross Armed Roll

Question: During the Cross Armed Roll, do the arms cross the same or the opposite way as the Butterfly Roll?

Answer: For the Cross Armed Roll, the back arm goes over the front, so it’s the opposite of the way that they are crossed during the Butterfly Roll.

– Helen

Shoulder Position during the Storm Roll

Question: I have a question about the Storm Roll. While I am in the water I have the paddle in both hands and my right knee is up. What should I do with the right shoulder in relation to the right knee?

Answer: When you square your shoulders, you want to essentially think about the position that you’re in when you float on your stomach. If you float on your stomach in a swimming pool, then your shoulders are parallel to the ground. This is the position that you want to get your shoulders in when doing the Storm Roll. When your shoulders are squared this way, you’re using the surface area of your torso as leverage to recover from the roll.

By lifting your knee, you are righting the kayak. So if your shoulders are in the correct position, your knee rights the kayak while your torso acts as a lever.

Try not to over think the paddle. Remember, the paddle doesn’t actually move during the recovery.

Remember the three steps to the Storm Roll:

Sweep (this puts the paddle in place)

Stop (this is when you can check to make sure that your paddle is in the correct position)

Come Up (this is when you engage your knee – remember to square your shoulders as you’re coming up)

– Helen

The Straightjacket Roll

Question: I can do an elbow roll easily, even slowly, but I am having trouble with the Straightjacket Roll. I can usually do a “double elbow roll,” and also roll with my fingers interlaced in front of my chest. Any suggestions are welcome.

Answer: Often when first attempting the Straightjacket Roll, the paddler tries to “sweep” onto the back deck, and essentially bumps into it. They can hang out there all day (breathing), but not actually get onto the deck. Does this sound familiar? In this description, the “sweep” is the problem. This “sweep” usually works with a hand roll, fist roll, brick roll and sometimes even the Elbow Roll, but it will not work with the Straightjacket Roll. For the Straightjacket Roll, you need to think of your upper body as a lever, and instead of trying to “sweep” onto the back deck, push your upper body toward the ground, which will give you the leverage to fully recover. Following are the steps to a successful Straightjacket Roll (described with a right-side recovery):

– Place your arms against your chest with your fingers and thumbs under your armpits.

– Capsize to the left with your shoulders parallel to the side of the kayak and your forehead down (this will give you a rounded spine).

– RELAX until your body gets to the highest position possible on the right side of the kayak (your shoulders should be parallel to the surface).

– Throw your upper body toward the ground, using your back as a lever and keeping your shoulders parallel to the surface. Simultaneously, drive hard with the right knee.

– Slide up onto the back deck (your head may hit the side of the kayak during the recovery).

– Helen

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