Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Rolling with Sticks

I now have a copy of Christopher Crowhurst's 'Rolling with Sticks' which works well both in sea water and pool water. The problem with learning new rolls is a DVD and laptop have to stay dry, whereas 'Rolling with Sticks' can come with you.

Saturday - Sticks at Scapa
 The combination of illustration and concise text is enough to help recall a video sequence and the main points to attend to. The presentation is clear and easy to follow.
I recommend using it in conjunction with video clips, such as Christopher's own Qajaq Rolls
Pam over at 'Kayak across the Water' has reviewed 'Rolling with Sticks' in her usual eloquent and entertaining style  here.

Sunday - steamy Sticks at the Pool
 The book makes it tempting to try a series of new rolls one after the other!

Hot work.
Having started out with hand rolls, then a norsaq and after that a paddle, I often find that the paddle just gets in the way. The rolls that finish on the back deck are do-able if the paddle is held in front of you, but, if there is any behind the back or neck paddle placement I find it extremely difficult to finish. Similarly forward finish rolls like the reverse sweep roll and the storm roll remind me of learning to roll all over again. I feel like I'll have to do thousands before they are reliable. If they are all I do for a session of about an hour or so, by the end I am pleased with them. If a week goes by before I have practiced them again the success rate is unpredictable. 

As for the forward/forward norsaq roll, I have left that for another day, hopefully one spent with a mentor.
Until there is a projector and giant screen at the pool with a web-cam/video-conferencing link with an expert, I will be using all the help I can get!
(Come to think of it, that's not such a bad idea...)


  1. Very enlightening to read of your rolling experience. Your videos belie any struggles! I know that feeling of needing a few thousand attempts! I was also surprised at the step back that resulted from going for too long without practice. And now it's cold out there (NE wind is biting today). If we don't secure a pool soon, my roll will be a shambles by Spring :(

  2. One thing I found very helpful was to practice my hang time. To build the confidence that I can stay underwater for 60 seconds now. This has allowed me to not have to rush... when I take my time and actually "think" during the rolls them become powerful and graceful. Then when I work on weird rolls, and lets face it a reverse sweep roll is really weird at first, I have time to get my body (and mind) in the right place and things just click.