Rolling your kayak: Onside/offside/righty/lefty/directional/switching…

Question: Why do we think that onside should be called the righty roll, and offside a lefty roll?

How about this for an answer: The baggage that an “offside” roll carries is almost so weighty that many do not even try using their “offside roll”-sometimes let alone even learning their “offside” roll.  The irony is that typically the second roll you learn is often the better roll. Why?

  • there is not the left over “learning curve” of figuring out what in the world it is to set up, sweep, hip snap, finish
  • it takes a bit to realize it is just switching from one set of muscle memory to the other
  • more importantly–there is not the realization that the roll happens after going upside down!

Question:  So why directional rolling/switching when you roll?

Answer: our friend Todd had a great answer: “So you asked for a report on the progress on the offside. After a week and practicing it [switching]  Tuesday & Thursday night and then again today I am happy to report we have only switched to the onside 4 times out of about 40 or so offside rolls. All practice has been on the river. Thank you again.”

Clarification; Todd now does not really have an “on side” or an “off side.” He is now rolling in the direction he happens to fall (directional rolling) AND if he misses on one side, he switches to the other (switching).

Way to go Todd!!

Read more on directional rolling…