Yesterday I practised rolling in a pool for the first time in over two years. Its the first time for a long while I get some good rolling practise. My focus has been elsewhere, on touring in Sardinia, setting up a business in Venice, getting to know people and places in Venice, in general with emphasis on other skills than rolling a kayak.
My previous pool sessions were in late 2006, when I did two rolling courses to learn to roll in the first place. i did manage to learn a rudimentary C-to-C roll, but it was never reliable and I didn’t do much practice over the winter.
During a symposium in Spain in March 2007 I had a short lesson with Freya Hoffmeister, and she taught me a sweep roll and said the magic words: torso movement. She told me to lean forwards, sideways and backwards in a 1-2-3 movement and to me that made all the difference. Since then that’s what’s playing in my head when I need to roll: forwards, sideways, backwards, 1-2-3, and I usually come up (unless I rush it and skip one of the steps).
The C-to-C roll, and the butterfly roll Freya also taught me, were lost due to lack of practice. I only did the sweep roll and single-mindedly focused on getting it reliable and steady on both sides. Not that I practiced a lot. I would sometimes do a few rolls after a paddle or when I tried a new boat, or for showing off in Venice, but never really got into the “101 most essential rolls” game many others spent a lot of time playing. Until yesterday I only had one working roll in my repertoire.
Yesterday’s pool session wasn’t a course. We were a group of seven who had simply rented a public swimming pool for some hours to get some practice done and have a bit of fun. We all had some degree of rolling skills, and helped each other improve. As such it wasn’t very structured, but even without any coaching I still managed to get something working.
The C-to-C roll quickly returned, once I managed to suppress the habit of bending backwards I learned with the sweep roll.
To my surprise I managed to do a sculling roll easily, even though I’ve never even tried before. I also tried to see if I could scull the kayak the full 180° around, but that didn’t work out.
I’ve only done a re-entry and roll a few times before, but that was quite easy too.
I tried but butterfly roll a few times, but it didn’t work for me. I’m going to need a coach to teach me that again.
I also tried a reverse sweep roll, based on what I’ve seen people do, but it didn’t work. I didn’t even manage to get the set up position correct, I think. I’ll probably need somebody to coach me there too.
I do know how to scull with my head and shoulders in the water, but I need more practise. I have a reluctance to staying there and move up again really quickly. It’s probably some psychological I need to work with.
One of the others showed me how to do the static or balanced brace, and it did work for me once, so that’s another thing I need to work with.
While I was hard at work getting better, the others just fooled around in the children’s part of the pool
Valentina made some short videos of my efforts.
Standard sweep roll filmed under water:
Sculling roll (I think):
Re-entry and roll: