Last night I taught the second half of an introductory kayaking clinic at Erindale Lake (a local suburban pond). After the class I decided to spend a little time out playing on the water. I went through some of the exercises described in the book Sea Kayak Strokes by Doug Alderson (I have access to an online version through the library at my workplace). These exercises had me progressively building the motions to perform a kayak roll, with a paddle float on my paddle throughout. Initially I was in a high brace, then laid on the back deck while in the high brace, then moving my body out beside the kayak, then eventually tipped right over and moving back to the upright high brace position. This progression of movements worked very well for me and allowed me to work toward building these motions into my muscle memory, so that they can hopefully become automatic. The next step was to be completely upside down, then using the paddle (with paddle float) to get back to that upright high brace position, rolling the kayak underneath me using my hips and trying to keep my centre of gravity low and remembering to bring my head up last. Rolling up from completely submerged proved quite easy when done this way, however I was still reliant on the paddle float so was cheating.
I'll be heading out to practice again soon - this time I'll be focussing on reducing the amount of pressure that I'm putting on the paddle float. Hopefully Jay can come out with me and we can work through some of the exercises together. With any luck, after a couple of sessions we'll be rolling our kayaks without the cheat of using the paddle float.
If you have any tips or tricks, please leave me a comment!
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