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Rock N Roll??

Posted Sep 08 2006 12:00am



Youve never done this before
But you felt like tryin
Ive done this plenty of times
And i know your lyin
- kid rock


Whenever you get feeling a bit rusty with your rolls it’s often just because you’ve either not been practicing recently (life does do that to us. . .) or maybe you’ve gotten complacent. You & I both know how that goes as well. Thing is, rolling is soooooooo easy once you know how. Well some rolls anyway! LOL!! So it’s really easy to overlook practice time. Especially if you don’t like getting wet. I can’t imagine it, but I’ve met kayakers who don’t really want to get wet!!

Myself I’m a rolling addict. It’s play for me, it’s yoga, it’s my personal connection time. I love rolling. Let me say again, Rolling is NOT paddling, but rolling is a joy unto itself. So I noticed quickly when a couple weeks went by and my hand roll was getting splashy. It was time to break it down. So I started really paying attention to my hand roll. Ahhh, I see. . complacency, thy name is me!! First I was bringing my head up too much and second I’d lost a bit of focus on the twist (or hipsnap if you like). The combination meant that I had to over compensate by really whacking the surface of the water to get up. I’ve added a new "hand roll" clip to the video page (Hand Roll – Sea Kayak) and you can judge how I did at cleaning up the roll. Watch the outside hand. I’m trying to get a calm tap, not a big whack!

To move on to more complex rolls you absolutely have to clean up your twist and, for layback rolls anyway, keep you head on the deck. It only gets harder from here. One thing I’ve been working on recently is just holding one hand on my belly while I stick roll. This is just a bit tougher than a standard norsaq roll where your outside arm acts as a counterweight while you sweep up. Where do you go with this? See Doug Van Doren’s "bowling ball roll" on the clips page. So yesterday I spent a good hour laying tight against my back deck with my left hand gripping the buckle loops of my Reed. Slowly I’d roll over, then reach out with the Norsaq and roll up. I became very aware of how when I first went underwater, my head would fall off the back deck and how my feet would slip a bit from the sides of the hull where I had them braced. So the plan was that I would take on each problem area one at a time. First since I was rolling in a layback position like a lazy otter and not setting up properly, I could feel my body positions much better. I could slide underwater, then lift my head until it bumped the boat, then reach out and roll. Doing it this way you don’t have momentum to assisst. Repeating this process over and over made me much more sensitive to my head position. I could tell I’d been lifting before. Bad monkey me! Just lifting my head a bit from this "dead" rolling posistion and I would fail. I had to "be a log" and keep my head down!! When I felt like I could hold a quarter between my head and my deck I felt I could move on. I sent my brain off to watch my toes for awhile. My toes initiate the roll these days. If I remember to keep them tight into the hull and twist my feet, legs, hips. . my roll is quite powerful. If I’m lazy with my feet, I’m not coming up. Certainly for you Euro guys you can insert "Hipsnap & knee" for "twist & feet". The concepts are the same. What’s amazing is that with just a little focus time I felt like I had improved 100%. After that hour or so I felt much better! So you know what that means?? Time to go hunting for rocks! :) Well, tiny little rocks. I managed some successful rolls with a rock held against my belly. Not even close in my sweep hand. I’m not ready to do Doug’s patented roll yet, but I’ll get there. . . :) It’s much easier to use the rock as the counterweight!! Which I did to the reply of "That’s Cheating!!!" from Mary on the beach. Yeah, but it was fun.See the clip "Rock-n-Roll". As a side note that massive tower of rocks some diver finds just below the surface of Devil’s Lake is not an archeological find, just the spot where I’ve been practicing!

doornick-bb.jpgBut then there’s this guy John Doornick, who takes it to a whole new level! John was kind enough to let me publish a clip of his Bowling Ball roll. This is something pretty special. He’s able to roll with the bowling ball in his sweeping hand. Which takes the "brick" roll a bit further. Really amazing. And he does make it look simple. That’s good. If it LOOKED difficult we’d probably never be inspired to try. :) See His Clip Here. Thanks John, that is amazing.

Oh wait, then there’s the skate board roll. What’s that you say? Why? How hard is it? What skill is involved?? Well, none. If you can Angel roll you can do it with a skate board. The tough part is getting someone to let you take their skateboard out into deep water. It’s just for fun! Again See Clip Here.

Each day we practice. We work. We improve. Some days we can be proud of ourselves. I hope you have others to share in your little victories. We all need them. Sometimes we have to give ourselves credit. Repeat after me. . .

My name is _________________(insert your name).
I’m _____ years old, and MY KUNG FU IS STRONG!!

Have a good weekend!

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