Saturday, 11 January 2014


Mentoring experienced paddlers and coaches is a great opportunity to share some of the skills and drills that help us, and the paddlers we coach, understand how important body position is in any type of roll, Euro or Greenland. I realise that everytime I do this I understand better the differences between the two types of roll. This time I've thought a lot about how paddle design, how and where it is gripped, where the blade travels, feather and so on can influence body position.

From the outset the avataq has been invaluable. It has really allowed folk to good feel for how body position and edging the kayak relate as you open out  from 'cat' to 'cow' in the standard Greenland roll.

With some more pool time, the avataq would be great for playing around with this movement without a paddle, gradually working towards using body movement alone for recovery. 
An avataq is not a piece of equipment that you really need, it can 'sort of' be substituted for with a paddle float or inflated wine bags in a net bag, but it is nice to be able to use and share an understanding of another authentic piece of equipment.


  1. I've used an avataq of sorts to put the pieces of my roll together when I lose my groove. Its an empty plastic container with handle and it allows me to not only lay on the water but also fully capsize and roll using the hip snap. I think it might be more effective than holding on to the side of the pool for beginners.

    1. Hi Tony, sounds good. I'll suggest that. You could put water in it as you wanted to use less buoyancy. I think the avataq works well for getting the hang of the movements in the forward finish roll because you can hold on to it with two hands in the same way as you grasp the paddle before you extend out over the water.

  2. Hello, I'm just starting to learn to roll. I've been kayaking with a club for a year and learned about Greenland paddling through the internet. I've been practicing away from the club and have managed to do the static brace but still holding on to a pdf. I also put the paddle through the pdf and try to do a half capsize and then a butterfly roll. I'm using a Delphin and a Werner cranked Shuna. Still can't do a static brace without holding on to the pdf.

  3. Hi Julie - if you can get a hold of an inflatable paddle float you can gradually let air out of it as you gain confidence. I don't know the Delphin but I have cranked Shunas myself. Try putting them to zero feather for this. Try butterfly rolling and static bracing with your paddle (hand in the middle of the shaft) someone in the water beside you and focus on good body position, shoulders flat to the water. Try to get your hands on a Greenland paddle if you can. Are you wearing a tuiliq? or a PFD (or is it in your hands)? I taught myself how to roll but highly recommend Cheri Perry and Turner Wilson's DVD by Justine Curgenven - This is The Roll.