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5 Ways to Become A Kayak Roll Guru

By 829 Dev

5 Ways to Become a Kayak Roll Guru

Rolling is one of the biggest steps in taking your kayaking to the next level. Although it may be difficult to master, and even more difficult to pinpoint exactly where you might be going wrong in the process, there are several ways to become a true master of the roll. 

Whether you’re on the teaching side or the receiving end of instruction, it’s always good to have some tricks up your sleeve to push through any ruts you might get into in your rolling career. Here are five essentials to get you started.

Keep it cool

The kayak roll is a skill that encompasses the whole body, but often the mind is the biggest obstacle. The biggest challenge that most apprentice rollers face is not keeping a relaxed mind. It’s totally fine to not enjoy being upside-down, in fact, it’s normal! But don’t let yourself fall into that metal block to keep yourself from absorbing valuable information and getting your roll on.

Feel the Zen

Yes, it may seem like the kayak roll takes a great deal of strength or some secret arm muscle that only some people have. But in reality, kayaking is all about harmony in your body movements. Muscle-ing your way through it is a very common mistake. But the simple fix for that is to stay ‘Zen’ and let the physics of your body and the boat do the work. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

Learning what not to do is almost more helpful than getting one tip on what you have to do. That’s why failing is almost always a better teacher. Whether it’s a couple swims, or being righted by your rolling instructor more than a few times, don’t be discouraged! Rolling takes a long time to master, and there’s no shame in needing a little extra practice or instruction. Your friends will be just as happy as you to see you nail your roll for the first time, regardless of how long it might take!

Be Your Own Compass

Being underwater can be a very disorienting experience. Sometimes the water may be dark or scar, or you might just be uncomfortable with your head under the surface. When you’re learning to roll, it’s really important to learn where your body goes once you’re underwater. That might mean being in a pool when you roll for the first time, or even wearing goggles if you have to. But the ultimate goal to have a solid kayak roll is to have good orienteering once you go under.

Questions, Questions, Questions!

Never be afraid to ask questions. You never know if that one question that you never asked would be the one thing that makes it click in your mind to get you to that first unassisted roll. Your instructor will love you for being a curious learner and questioning everything. If it doesn’t seem right, ask a question! 

These five tips are just building blocks for mastering the kayak roll, but they’re pivotal. If you keep these things in mind, you’re sure to become the next roll guru on the river, or in the pool.

Happy Rolling!


Katelyn Green


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