I attended Portland Kayak‘s Rolling Class last Sunday (the 28th). Thankfully, it was held in the heated pool the same as with the Rescue Class from a couple of weekends prior… since Oregon weather this time of year tends to be cold and rainy.
This is a fairly short class, at only two hours. But it’s one instructor for two students, so you get plenty of attention and practice! Our instructor this time was Mike, who is apparently quite the accomplished roller of kayaks. He makes it look so easy… and really, once you learn from him, it actually is.
Mike starts out by getting into one of the kayaks and breaking the roll down for us. He first leans over and backward, with his paddle outward. He uses a paddle float on the end to assist with bracing so he can concentrate on describing what’s going on as he does it.
After doing this a few times, he goes all the way over, and just as seamlessly, rolls back upright. It’s amazing to watch from our un-initiated point of view!
Now it’s our turn. He holds the kayak and tips us slowly while describing what he wants us to do, how to position our paddle and our bodies, etc. After a few of these, we go all the way over and start learning how to find our starting position and properly do the sweep with our bodies and paddles that results in the kayak rolling back upright.
We each take turns doing this for a while, and then Mike starts tipping us over in “less than ideal” positions to force us to learn how to find our starting position when we weren’t already there in the first place. Of course, he’s always an arm’s length away if we need him.
By the way, nose plugs are strongly recommended! I would also recommend ear plugs if you have any trouble with getting water in your ears. I wish I had had some; I ended up nauseous about 2/3 of the way through and had to get out and just watch. I will re-take the class after the first of the year and have earplugs this time. I’ll also make a point of not eating lunch so close to class time.
Once again, it was a great class! I strongly recommend this class and also the Rescue Class to be properly prepared when you’re out kayaking.