The Standard Greenland Roll

Step by Step

A: Set up with the paddle parallel to the boat on the left side, extended towards the front.
Your right hand should be furthest forward.

B: Hold the paddle blade across the palm.
Lean forward, with the forehead towards the left knee and outwards, rotating your body slightly left.
Roll in towards the left.
Allow the boat to fully rotate until the paddle breaks the surface.
Rotate your shoulder slightly so your chest is almost parallel to the boat. Now slowly lean back, arching your back. Push your head away from the air. It won't feel natural, and you will want instinctively to do the opposite. This will start to bring the boat flat.


C: Then start an outward sweep of the paddle.
Keep your left hand touching the left side of your chest.
Sweep the right hand out in a graceful arc.
Rotate your core clockwise towards the back of the boat, keeping your eyes focused on the end of the paddle.
Engage your right knee with the thigh brace (masik) to provide additional righting moment to the boat.

D: Do not heave down on the paddle during this roll. The sweep of the paddle across the water will provide tremendous lift throughout the movement, allowing you to gently right the boat and slide onto the back deck.

The last part of your body to get onto the back deck should be your head. When you finish, your paddle should be at right angles to the boat, resting across your chest.

One common mistake that you may find yourself making is desperately trying to get your head out of the water first. To combat this, concentrate on watching the end of the paddle and thinking, "Boat First; Head Last" as you roll.


Another common mistake is to heave down on the paddle as soon as it surfaces rather than sweeping it out to the side. This is a natural response - your brain may panic and tell you again to desperately try and get to the surface. The best answer to this response is to learn what your hang time is underwater, then work to extend it and force yourself to say, "Relax" when you are underwater, take a pause, and only when relaxed do you start the roll.

Safety note: When rolling it is important to think about protecting your shoulder, keeping your elbows close to your side can prevent you from placing your shoulder in harms way. To make sure this happens ensure your right hand grip is only a chest width away from your left hand. This will cause both of your hands to remain tucked in close to your body and protect your shoulder.

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

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