Say this with me, rolling is not difficult. In fact, rolling is easy. This is the second biggest hurdle to rolling, the mythos. I have mentioned before that I went to the East Coast Kayak festival earlier in the year with a friend who is a white water paddler. We went to see Ben Lowry tech a dryland rolling class. Having a friend who is a whitewater paddler was and is a tremendous advantage when it comes to rolling. He offers a very different perspective. In whitewater kayaking, everyone rolls. You just do it. You have to do it. And since everyone does it, no one is afraid of it. I am no amazing physical specimen. If I can roll a kayak, you can roll a kayak.
The other part of the 'rolling is hard' mythos is this. 'my kayak doesn't roll easy'. If your paddling a touring kayak, it rolls easily. And if you have seen Dubside do a rolling presentation, then like me you have seen him roll a very wide recreation kayak, and do a Greenland roll no less. In fact Dubside hands out a brochure called something like 'Don't blame your kayak'.
So if it is easy, and it's not your kayaks fault, whose fault is it? It's ours. We get it so built up in our heads that it is difficult, added to the fact that we are upside down in water, and it doesn't happen. If you think you are going to fail, you are going to fail. That lesson isn't even Buddhism, or Martial Arts, it's basic psychology.
Rolling should be, and is fun. You should be having fun with rolling, like any other part of kayaking. But as soon as it becomes a chore, or a challenge we lose that perspective.
So we were at the East coast kayak festival, looking around the tent that Ben Lawry was teaching in, and I elbowed my friend. I said, look around. We were surrounded by middle aged paddlers who had decided that rolling was hard, and subsequently they had a hard time doing it. Ben made rolling look easy. Earlier in the day Dubside made rolling look easy. You know why? Because rolling your kayak is easy. And should be fun, like this.