While proper paddle position greatly aids in being able to roll a kayak, the main skill that is employed while rolling a kayak is known as the hip-snap. The hip-snap is the driving force behind being able to flip a kayak back over once it is upside down.
A properly executed hip snap will enable a kayaker to be able to roll his or her kayak back over with the paddle in almost any position, or with no paddle at all. But, like anything else, the hip snap requires practice with the aim of it feeling comfortable and ultimately becoming second nature.
- Fulfill the Prerequisites: This how-to should only be performed by paddlers who are comfortable with being upside down in their kayaks and are easily able to self-rescue, by performing a wet-exit, if needed.
- Decide Where You Will Practice: The best way to practice the hip-snap is to do so in a pool or on a calm body of water with a dock nearby. The water should be deep enough for you to flip over. The dock or pool edge should be within one foot of the surface of the water.
- Grab the Dock of Pool Edge: Using your outside arm, grab hold of the stationary item that you will be using for support. Holding the dock is only for leverage. Try to apply as little pressure to it as possible while allowing the hips to do the work.
- Lean the Kayak Over: Lean your kayak as far toward the dock as you feel comfortable without flipping over. As you begin to tip the kayak keep your head down and toward your shoulder.
- Lean the Kayak Back: Keeping your head on your lower shoulder, bring the kayak back to an upright position. Try to use your hips and midsection to bring the kayak back into position and not your arm or grip.
- Repeat steps 4 and 5: Each time you do step 4, try to lean the kayak further over. Each time you do step 5, try to use more and more hips, abs, and midsecion while using your arm less and less.
- Concentrate on the Hip-Snap: Once you are comfortable with rocking the kayak onto its side and then flipping it back upright, really begin to focus on snapping the kayak back into position using the hips.
- Loosen Your Grip: Once you feel like you are mainly using your hips to bring the kayak back around, loosen your grip on the dock or pool edge. Try to snap the kayak back into position while applying the least amount of pressure that you can to your arm.
- Be sure to keep your head down on your lower shoulder during the hip-snap.
- When leaning to the side, try to get the kayak as far upside down as you can while still maintaining your hand on the dock.
- Once you have perfected the hip-snap on one side, begin practicing on the other.
What You Need
- Spray Skirt
- PFD (life jacket)
- Dock or Pool edge