TYPES OF ROLL
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The Screw Roll is the most commonly used roll of all because it is reliable, easy to learn and works in most circumstances. Most paddlers use a Screw Roll or some variant of it as their standard survival roll.
The sequence of movements is identical to the Pawlata described above except that hands remain in the normal paddling position on the shaft. The hip flick must be more effective than for the Pawlata, since less support is available from the shorter paddle lever, and it is even more important that the back hand is pushed clear of the hull to give the back blade space to move.
Like all rolls that are intended to be used in difficult situations, it should be learned on both sides. It is the basis for a whole family of rolls that can all be performed without moving the hands along the shaft.
Some beginners find it easier to learn the Screw Roll directly rather than pass through the Pawlata sequence.
The Steyr Roll is a reverse Pawlata. The paddle sweeps across the surface from the rear of the boat to the front and, in order to do this, the wind-up is performed differently.
From the Pawlata position the paddle is raised to the vertical; as it continues past the vertical it must be turned outward with the wrists until the position shown above is reached. To capsize, the paddle is pushed down towards the water and the body follows, arched backwards and to the side. The waist and hips act as a universal joint in a similar way to the Pawlata but, in this case, the body rotation is in the opposite direction to that of the boat, because the paddle is carrying out a reverse sculling sweep. The steyr is used as a training roll for the Reverse Screw Roll in the same way that the Pawlata is used for the Screw.
Reverse Screw Roll
The Reverse Screw Roll is used when for any reason the paddler has capsized and been pushed on to the back deck, or the paddle blade is at the back of the boat; typically this occurs if the boat capsizes over the paddle during a bow stroke. The wind-up position is reached in the same way as the wind-up for the Steyr. The roll can be particularly useful as a follow-on to a Screw Roll which does not quite bring the paddler back into balance: the blade position is quickly reversed and a Reverse Screw follows. More commonly, a Screw Roll backs up a Reverse Screw which fails.
Vertical Paddle Roll and C to C Roll
A number of rolls are possible using a vertical instead of a horizontal paddle. The hip flick action in this case pulls the boat underneath the body and the paddle provides the resistance. At first it seems impossible for a vertical paddle to provide the necessary support, but the principle becomes clearer if the boat is thought of as rolling around the hips and under the body. A simple draw or sculling draw action can be used. A combination of put across, screw and vertical paddle roll can be used as a good mobility exercise.
WARNING: The extended arm position shown here is much weaker than one in which the arms stay bent with the paddle parallel and close to the line across the shoulders. Applying excessive force while the arm is extended, especially if the pressure on the arm is also in a rearwards direction has been the cause of many shoulder dislocations among kayakers.
The paddler starts sitting upright in his boat, with his paddle horizontally above his head. For a recovery on the right the right arm is pushed up to full extension and the left arm retracted to the shoulder, until the paddle shaft is almost vertical. The paddler capsizes to the right, holding this position until the blade touches the water. As the blade touches the water a reverse hip flick (pulling the kayak over on top of the paddler) keeps the paddle and upper body near the surface while the boat completes the capsize. The boat is then hip flicked up while, at the same time, the right arm is pulled in towards the hip and the left arm extended to full stretch. There is very little rotation of the waist in this roll; instead the hip flick is generated by a sideways bend at the waist.
The C to C Roll uses a sweep of the paddle out from the bow of the kayak followed by this same pull down movement. Although the initial action of the paddle makes it appear to be a Screw Roll, it is actually more of a Put Across/Vertical Paddle roll.
The storm roll may be performed as a Pawlata or as a Screw roll. The wind-up positions are the same except that in each case the edge of the forward blade is angled in towards rather than away from the boat. After capsize, the blade is pulled in a vertical arc from bow to stern and becomes a long vertical sculling draw rather than a horizontal sculling sweep. The storm roll is to the vertical paddle roll what the pawlata is to the put across. It is impractical on rivers because of the depth needed for the paddle, but a study of film taken in Greenland shows that it is the preferred roll of the Angmassalik Inuit. The observer can recognise a storm roll by the pronounced lift of the bow as the roll begins.
If a good hip flick is developed then the boat can be rolled upright using the hands. In the sequence shown the flick action is important as enough momentum must be given to the boat to lift the body clear after it breaks surface. The top hand is often thrown across to increase the momentum. As with the paddle rolls, the body recovery can be in forward or backward positions. Alternatively, if the position of the body close to the kayak and the buoyancy forces are used to full effect, then a very graceful roll can be achieved with only a small hand movement.
Many paddlers can perform one-handed rolls, with the other hand held inside the spray cover, and stories are even told of rolls performed without any use of the hands at all. The ability to hand roll can be more than a stunt. In Kayak Polo players often lose their paddles and capsize when shooting for goal, and even on the roughest rivers a hand-roll will sometimes buy enough of a respite to enable the bank to be reached, or a dropped paddle to be regained. Training to hand roll is progressive, with less and less buoyant or resistant objects being used as the support for the hip flick until, finally, the hands alone are needed.
The experienced roller uses a variety of techniques and combinations of moves to right the boat. The position and feel of his paddle following capsize and his knowledge of the water conditions tell him what he must do in order to bring himself upright. In general he pulls his body to the surface using the waist, knees and hips and then uses the paddle to prevent the body from sinking during the hip flick. This movement enables the body to be brought back over the boat during the follow through. The rolls listed here are merely some of the separately identifiable types that may be used to achieve this.