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

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