Kayak roll made easy!

I find that this is an easy roll to teach to beginners.

The kayak roll that I'm discussing and demonstrating on this page is probably the easiest kayak roll to learn; I call it the Lever Roll.

It is somewhat of a variation of the Palata Roll, but this roll's
principles are different and I believe easier to learn and apply.

This is a fun skill to practice!

No sweep, no hip flick, just find the pressure point of the blade in the water,

and lift your lower knee.

Overview of the Lever Kayak Roll:

(1) You are going to use the paddle to make a fixed point in the water,

(2) Now that the paddle is a fixed point, you are going to hold on to that fixed point and lift your knee (this brings the boat up), and

(3) simultaneously with lifting the knee - lower your head to your knee (or in other words, lower your head to your forward deck).


Vigorously lifting the knee while simultaneously lowering the head, is the hip flick. However, with this roll a vigorous hip flick is not needed.

Here is how to make the paddle a fixed point in the water...

A lever is a rigid bar with a fulcrum point; a force is exerted on one end to lift something on the other end. With the paddle, your right hand will be the fulcrum point (although rather than remain stationary it will pull on the paddle shaft), your left hand will push on the left blade, and the right blade will lever against the water trying in effect to push the water. Since pushing the water "ain't going to happen", the paddle will become a fixed bar or point in the water.

How to learn the Lever Kayak Roll:

Begin learning this roll by only partially capsizing.

(1) With your left hand on the end of the left blade and your right hand on the shaft left of center, tip the kayak over on the right side, and reach straight out with the right blade. Unlike the high brace the right blade is not catching the surface, let it be submerged somewhere just below the surface to about 45 degrees below the horizontal surface...

(2) As your body enters the water, make the paddle a fixed point in the water, simultaneously push with the left hand and pull with the right hand, and simultaneously (while your are pushing and pulling with the hands) lift your right knee. Note: You can lift the right knee quite easily because the paddle has become a fixed bar in the water and you are simply lifting your knee up while your are essentially holding onto a fixed point...

(3) Just as you initiate the pushing and pulling on the paddle, look to your forward deck. What you want to do is watch the kayak right itself because of your knee lift; so, as you push and pull on the paddle, concentrate on the knee lift and watch the deck roll up as you lower your head...

(4) Continue pushing and pulling on the paddle while you lift your head out of the water.

You can do this Lever Roll / Kayak Roll...

Paddle set up...Lever...Watch your forward deck...Lift your knee...Lower your head...Continue levering...and Bring your head up last.


Make sure you are skilled with the wet exit while wearing a spray skirt. Make sure you are skilled with the wet entry. Make sure you are confident in your kayak while you are in an upside down orientation.

How to practice the Kayak Roll...

Watch the videos over and over....go out and try it a few times...come back and watch the videos some more...practice in shallow water so that you can (huh, huh I can't believe I am going to say this...push off the bottom if you have to). Just don't get into the habit of pushing off the bottom! It is also helpful to have a training partner standing in the shallow water to help you roll up until you get the hang of it.

First practice over and over the partial roll; fall over to the right and recover. When this feels totally comfortable then capsize fully and practice.

As you get good at this roll:

Eventually, you will be able to do it with a normal hand grip on the paddle shaft. But, having the left hand on the left blade gives you an enormous amount of leverage.

Always practice...

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