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Kayak Roll Training Techniques

Techniques to improve forward finishing rolls. Practicing with a paddle.

The Chest Scull is probably the best method that I found for continuing to improve my ability to recover onto the front deck.

Get your shoulders square. Keep the paddle close to the water's surface. Once underwater, arch your back upwards and get your head to the surface. Then push it down. And finally swing your body low and across the front of the boat. Viewed from a stern, you can clearly see again, the position where you get your head to the surface. Then push it down and then swing across the front deck.

To learn how to use your lower body and your abs to rock the boat, go into the Chest Scull and then try numerous times to move the boat as much as you can before you finally recover.

Another great way to train yourself is to slowly become less dependent on the paddle. Let it float. Then reposition the paddle and recover. As you get brave enough, you can finally let go of the paddle completely, proving to yourself that you can float without a paddle. Then take hold of the paddle again and recover.

Of course, put all this into practice and make sure you keep performing your rolls, your Reverse Sweep, and any Storm Rolls that you can do.

Putting a paddle behind your head is a great way to prove how little you actually need to use the paddle, because your neck is a lot less stronger than when you're holding the paddle in it's normal position.

Norsaq Practice

Practicing with a norsaq [rolling stick/hand paddle]. That same chest sculling that you achieved with a paddle, you can do with a norsaq. This allows you to understand how little force you actually need. All of the same body motions are important. Shoulders flat. Arms swinging down. Head plunging downwards and onto the boat at the last possible moment.

Then move on to doing a Reverse Sweep with the norsap.

Just Your Hands

Once you've finished with the norsap, move onto just using your hand. Practice Chest Sculling with a hand. Again, the same recovery. Head high, head low, keep it in the water, and swing it onto the deck at the last moment. Head high, head low, sweep your hand, swing onto the boat. Then when you've got that licked, try a Reverse Sweep.

Christopher Crowhurst (kayaker)   |  Boat: Tahe Marine Greenland kayak   |  Blade: Novorca

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