By popular demand, please find below the outline of ideas discussed in this rolling series:I. The Wisdom of the Bobo Doll:
You can't learn to roll a kayak simply by watching well-executed rolls. Visual information is not enough, conceptual understanding is required
- What makes a roll work is hidden from view under the spray decks in the lower body
- What you readily see when you watch rolling—the motion of the paddle blade and the swinging of the upper body—is misleading. It draws attention away from the core and upper legs where the action is really happening
- The Bobo Doll uses weights on the bottom of its body to rise back up after it's been knocked down. Kayak rollers use their torsos and legs to right the kayaks. Understanding of the principle is needed for the development of a successful and bombproof roll.
'Bo' and 'Bo' in the Bobo Doll is short for 'Boat' and 'Body.' Note how 'Blade' of the ubiquitous 'Body, Boat and Blade' is omitted. The wise doll does not mean to say that the blade is irrelevant—only to underscore that using your body to flip the boat are higher priorities.
- The goal of the kayak roll is to restore the body directly on top of the kayak
- Boat and body need to move towards each other first
Lifting the body on top of the kayak is:
- Secondary to bringing of the boat and body together
- Comes later in the rolling sequence
- Should be done with lifting of the upper body
The primary purpose of the hip flick is to upright the kayak enough so that when body and boat are as close as roller's flexibility allows, the momentum will take the body on top rather than under the boat
Two ubiquitous companions of a failed kayak roll are:
- Raised Head
- Diving Paddle
- Rising head and diving paddle are not two independent events. They are two symptoms of the same action—lifting the upper body and pushing off of the paddle to support the lift
- Rising head and diving paddle do not cause rolls to fail—they are harmless manifestations of attempts to roll by lifting the body as if it were on solid ground
- Mental representation of the roll is to blame for the failed rolls, not RaHeaDiPad
When the roller pulls the boat under the body and draws the upper body towards the boat, raising the head and stabbing with the paddle are almost not possible
- Extending top hand is also frequently blamed for failed rolls
- Punching hand is said to undermine the parallel blade-to-surface angle. It interferes with the lifting of the upper body
- Additionally, top hand extension is said to be dangerous for the shoulder
- Neither efficacy- nor safety-based issues with the punching top hand apply when pulling rather than lifting strategy is used for rolling
Bonus: punching with the top hand is efficient:
- Increases leverage for power transfer from the torso to forward thrust
- Encourages the use of powerful torso muscles to create power for rolling the boat
- Adds top-hand pushing to pulling on the shaft with the bottom hand
- Moves the shaft away from the chest and the paddle blade away from the kayak to create room to maneuver the blade at the end of the roll
Good luck and please share your thoughts and experiences.
Also, if you are looking for more writing on the concepts of rolling, pictures and videos, you may want to check out Low Impact Rolling series. Derek offers a rather different perspective on how you get from upside down to on top of things.