Sunday, 5 December 2010

One Hundred (Unsuccessful) Handrolls

Today Mackayak booked the pool for a sea boat session.  Before we could get in the warm water, there was a small ice issue to deal with.  I didn’t fancy sitting on that in my pool clothes!


For some reason I decided that I was going to spend my time in the pool trying to hand roll my Avocet.  I must have tried at least 50 times, each of them unsuccessful.  That’s about 28p per attempt.  I tried to use video analysis on myself but didn’t really get the camera in a good place.  It would be good to have some in water coaches or helpers next time.

Everyone seems to have gone a bit hand roll mad round here.  I think it’s partly because we need to use handrolls in polo but also it presents a new skill and new challenge to master.  The others master much quicker than me and sometimes I wonder if there is any point continuing.  I’m definitely a theorist and although I have taken in and understood what I am supposed to do, I seem to find it very hard to translate that into body actions.  More than once recently I have considered giving up and going back to knitting.

Mackayak, as ever, was demonstrating to us how things can be done with grace and not force.  I will have to get her to teach me the butterfly roll soon, maybe in the pool after Xmas when we are participants and not coaches.  She does a lovely static brace in her boat and I was trying to claim this was because she has an Isel with chines as opposed to my Avocet with a round hull but then I found this video of a lovely static brace in an Avocet LV.  Another skill to master then…..  

Later on in the day we were coaching the new paddlers in the pool again.  Tonight we recapped sweep strokes and talked about moving sideways and backwards.  As ever there are lots of different things to think about when doing each stroke.


In the deep end, lots of different rolls and handrolls were being tried.  The sight of Hairyaker paddling a polo boat with a Greenland paddle illustrates just how many aspects of kayaking there are.  Even more to master!


Now, where did I put all my knitting needles?  Anyone want to buy a boat?


  1. You are too hard on yourself!!!
    (Next time we will have a Hairyaker to give feedback on hand rolls).
    After Christmas we'll nail those static braces...

  2. I see myself! :)
    For static bracing, try to relax and create as much surface area with your body as possible. This means that your shoulders are (ideally) flat on the water. Place two inflatable paddlefloats on each end of the paddle so that you can get used to the position (or you can have someone hold the paddle). Try not to pull down on the paddle, you will sink... instead try to push the paddle to the surface. Concentrate on lifting the knee that is in the water and holding that. Your nose should be up, and your eyebrows should be in the water. Arch your back, and you can drop your far leg so that it isn't hooked in the thigh brace (although be carefull that you don't fall out of the boat). Once this position becomes familiar, start to deflate the paddle floats until they are no longer needed.

    Hope it works!