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Friday, July 2, 2010

Rolling, The beginning.

So, I said rolling is easy. It is. Before we can break down the roll to its four steps we need to talk about the high brace again. Remember how we do the high brace? I wrote this several months ago.

With your hands about shoulder width apart, and the paddle parallel to your body, roll your knuckles back so they are facing up to the sky, with the paddle face down. Slap the powerface down onto the water, at the same time that the blade slaps the water, arch your back to the left and push down with the left side of your bottom, and push with your left leg as well. When you are back, upright and stable, straighten your spine back to your neutral position, and commence a forward stroke.

The high brace, with it's hip snap, is part of our roll. Most people practice a hip snap before working on a roll, because without it, the roll wont work.

Many people will practice the hip snap on the side of a pool at a rolling session. I have done this myself, and it is a setup for failure. Why? because the side of the pool is solid and offers no real feed back.

Now if someone was standing in the water next to you, holding your hands, they could tell you if you were using your hip snap, or pushing with your hands. If you don't have someone to hold your hands, you can use a paddle float, or the bow of another kayak. A floating bock is better than a pool because at least you will see it move, but honestly, it's not much better.

So for clarity sake, you are on your side, in the water, in your kayak. You have good solid contact with your kayak through your feet, thighs, and bottom. You are wearing a tight spray skirt. Your body is in the same 'upright' position as it would be in if you were doing the forward stroke, meaning you aren't reclining in the seat. Your torso is at 90ยบ to the keel of your kayak. Your hands are in the hands of a trusted friend. Your head should be right at the water line.

Now is the time to hip snap. Arch your back to the right side of your body, making a C shape with your body. You don't want to do this with your feet, that will push the bow away from your head, moving your back more parallel to the keel. You want to do this at your waist, like your trying to wiggle, or do a hula dance. When you arch your back to the side it will force your head underwater as the kayak slides into a more upright position. You can put a little pressure on your friends hands, but if you push, you will end up relying on your paddle. So have them tell you how hard they have to work to support you. The top and side of your head should end up underwater. Using the hip snap you should be able to keep your head in the water, and get the boat mostly upright. When you reach the limit of how far you can raise the boat, come back, and do it again.

You should be able to do this over and over again, and on each side. This is the hip snap, and is the step 2 of our roll. Practice this, and when you are comfortable with a hip snap, feel free to move on.

Hip Snap from Paddling Otaku on Vimeo.

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