Sunday 26 September 2021
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The Hand Roll

It is possible to roll a kayak without using a paddle. This is called a Hand Roll. This is a great skill to learn as you can use it on those emergency occasions where for some reason you find yourself ‘up the creek without a paddle!’ 

There is also a lot to be learnt from using your hands or hand paddles instead of a paddle out on the water. This is much easier to experiment with and learn if you can hand roll and know how to get your self back upright if you flip.

How to hand roll

Similar to bracing and learning how to hip snap it works well to learn with the help of a friend.

1. Flip upside down and whilst underwater focus on reaching your head, body and hands up to the surface.

This get you in the perfect position ready to wind up your hip snap.

2. Place your hands on the surface with both palms facing down

3. Push a little on your hands as you use a strong hip snap to roll the boat to completly flat. Your hands will go up, over and down across your body. You can push on both hands together or use a one, two motion. Pushing off one hand and then the next to give you a slightly longer power phase. The key part here though is the strong hip snap.

4. Similar to a paddle roll look at your hands and keep you head low towards the water.

5. As your boat levels upright focus on rolling your shoulders square over the boat.

6. You can swing one arm over the boat as you finish the roll. This will leave you with an arm on each side of the boat which will give you balance.

7. Once you are balanced over the back of your boat. Sit upright and celebrate your first hand roll 🙂


Top Tips

Learn with a friend as we did with the T rescue and hip snap. That way if it doesn’t work that can Hand Of God you back upright and you can discuss what happened and try again.

At first you can use a pool float to give you slightly more support as you get used to the hip snap and movement. The key thing though is to only use a small amount of power from your hands. This roll should be driven by a good hip snap. If you are using a float to help progress try holding it with only 1 or 2 fingers to minimise over powering from your arms before progressing to your hands.

You want to make sure you have your head, body and hands as close to the waters surface as possible before you start your hand roll and then leave your head in the water right until the very end.