Buoyancy Problems

Question: I was working on my Standard Greenland Roll, and an issue came up for me. I am in my skin-on-frame qajaq, wearing a wetsuit, sprayskirt and PFD and am using a Greenland paddle. I have a lot of buoyancy. If I start out my roll set-up moving forward, I’m fine. However, if I just roll over, I have a hard time getting into position to “kiss the deck” because of the buoyancy. Any suggestions or tricks?

Answer: Many skin-on-frame qajaqs can get “stuck” during the capsize. There are a few things that can be done to make the capsize a little easier. First, try removing your PFD or wearing one with less flotation. There are several on the market with CO2 cartridges (I wear a suspender type). Second, during the capsize try “diving” in as opposed to “falling” in. “Dive” with your chin tucked, so that your forehead touches the water first and your body follows. Capsize as close to the qajaq as possible, with very little extension out to the side (I like to think of it as rolling into the water). This will get your head and shoulders under the qajaq. If your qajaq is still not in a flat, upside down position, use your hips to bring it over on top of you. This may require a back and forth rocking action. It will put you directly under the kayak, where you’ll be able to curl up to the surface and finish your roll.

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