How (Not) to Roll a Kayak

Kayaking this past weekend was fun, but I felt a bit like a failure. Hold up. Let me explain.

I went to the social on Saturday evening and received complements from some of the others there on my relative ease in the boat. I got to practice my T-rescues (both as the rescuer and rescuee) and paddled around the Potomac. When the two-hour session was over, I was thrilled about being back on the water the next day.

Sunday morning was the second class. It was my understanding that we were supposed to learn how to do a roll and while some of my classmates successfully learned, the rest of us (me included) did not.

Part of my problem is that I need to work on my bracing.

It’s hard to do this when (a) you don’t know that you need to work on it until you get in the class that teaches rolls, (b) the class had a student/instructor ratio of 4:1, (c) you get the feeling your instructor is frustrated that you’re not “getting it,” and (d) you wish the bracing instruction from the first class had been clearer.

I have time to work on bracing and learn how to roll. The third class (that I’ve already paid for) is being taught next in mid-August. Unfortunately, I’m not going to be able to go to the social this week since we have dinner reservations at Poste for a roast (more on this on Sunday, 7/25, because this is an adventure too).

The rest of the class was fantastic. We kayaked through three sections of whitewater and I was flipped for the first half of the second one. The instructors started to talk us through it, I flipped and started moving, two instructors chased, one flipped me, the other threw me his paddle, and I ended up in an eddy to wait for the rest of my classmates. We were on the water for about four hours and I was glad for my rash guard as only my hands and nose got a little sunburn.

In summary, I still had fun and can’t wait to get back out on the water.

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