your paddlesports destination

How to Rock Spin a Whitewater Kayak

The Rock Spin is a foundational trick, a building block to be used to get into more advanced tricks (like the splat wheel).

Choose rock wisely

 The first thing you want to do is pick out a good rock that's flat on top, so that you can spin. It should be low enough to the water that you can shift your weight up onto it, but not so low in the water that you wash over the top of it before you can complete your spin. You'll notice with the rock that I've chosen here, that I spin about a foot from the left end of the rock where the water pillows up the highest, allowing me to get all the way up on top of the rock before I spin.


 So here's how you do it; come in with some speed, and edge your boat slightly away from the rock. Just before you get to the rock, lean forward and plan a stroke to drive yourself up on top. You should lean back slightly to un-weight the boat as you slide up and turn the end of your stroke into a bit of a stern draw to initiate your spin.

As your hull slides up onto the rock, rotate your body sharply in the direction that you want to spin and plan a big reverse sweep stroke right next to your stern. Pivot your head around so that your eyes are looking at where you're planning your stroke.

This stroke has two purposes:

  1. Use the power of the stroke to push your weight back over your boat which is now centered on top of the rock.
  2. Most of the power for your spin comes from untwisting your torso as you take this big back sweep.

Finally, as your back sweep ends, rotate your head around to look in the direction that you are spinning.

This video brought to you by: The River Gypsies

Related Articles & Resources

Wet Exit and Confidence in Whitewater

In my opinion, the wet exit is the important overlooked skill in kayaking because it can really help people …

Tags: Video, kayaking, wet exit, technique, whitewater

Picking A Line

If you've been whitewater paddling for any length of time, then there's a good chance that you'll have sp…

Tags: Kayak, whitewater, technique

Hamstring Stretches for Paddlers

Many kayakers believe that forward folding to stretch the hamstrings is a good way to protect their low backs …

Tags: exercises, kayaking, Health