Upside down, and round and round

Balance bracePool sessions have been very beneficial in reviving our Greenland rolling skills after a winter break but – even better – we have also been practising those skills outside again. This makes us happy! The weather threw a complete wobbly (of the good kind) last week and we were hurtled straight into summer – in March.  It was actually a bit strange and disorienting but, all troubling thoughts of climate change and weather modification aside, we decided to make the most of it. I should add that, before everyone gets too weirded out, it’s now snowing and blowing a gale.

As soon as the temperature edges above, say, 12°C in Scotland and the sun comes out, everyone is dressed in their shorts and tee-shirts (and the glare off of white skin can be seen from space). So, at 20°C, it did seem a bit odd to be layering up for immersion, but the water temperature confirmed that this was quite necessary. After a couple of standard Greenland rolls, it became apparent that the layering system was effective and that the water’s iciness was not penetrating much at all. I moved on to butterfly, then norsaq then hand rolls and realised that the contrast with the zero buoyancy at the pool was huge. It almost felt like cheating – so much so, that I took my BA off and have now consigned it to the “not required while rolling” gear bag. This is progress and has made the struggling in the pool worthwhile. It’s true that failure is a stepping stone to success.

We’ve started working on forward finishing rolls and have made some inroads. After watching Maligiaq and Dubside’s DVD, we are going through the “progression” steps and Alan is off and running on his own, whilst I need someone to hold my hand/paddle as I fumble about trying to get my head around this whole new technique. If ever there was a roll that would benefit from yoga (paschimottanasana in particular), it’s this one. Working our way through all of the official Greenland rolls is going to take a while, but we’ve been working on a few more now, including the elbow crook, shotgun and paddle-behind-the-head (presently aka stuck-under-the-kayak) roll.

It’s interesting to note that we both feel real improvement in our Euro rolls. The nuances of blade angle are less important and now it feels like we have a big blade surface to help (versus impede) us.

As we count down towards our much anticipated training with Kayak Ways, we are not short of resources to help us learn. Any day now, 2 DVDs will be released:  as already mentioned, Justine Curgenven (of the excellent “This Is the Sea” series) has produced “This Is The Roll“, featuring none other than Kayak Ways’ Cheri Perry and Turner Wilson. Christopher Crowhurst (of “Qajaq Rolls” fame) has produced a “Rolling With Sticks” DVD to accompany his very handy book of the same name. We are getting spoiled!

For the past several days, it so happens that I’ve had a tab open in my browser window directed to the “Buy now” page for a Brooks tuilik. I’m not sure how that happened – I mean, I am coping without a tuilik. Although, I do feel a little restricted when rotating. And maybe it would allow me to ditch a fleece or two. And I don’t mind whatsoever being compared to a seal (in fact, I’d be flattered). I don’t want to be impulsive … but I am open to persuasion.


  1. Steen Slot-Nielsen says:

    A tuiliq is pure doping for your rolls – and has no zippers to malfunction due to ice buildup in winter.
    Go for it!

  2. pamf says:

    Steen – Thank you so much. That is an incredibly persuasive argument. I might have to click that “Buy” button 🙂

  3. Hi Pam, You might want to compare the Reed tuilik with the Brooks one in May. I would like both of course! I think the Reed one is handy for when you have finished practising rolls you can easily sling on a BA on top and paddle off on a journey but the Brooks one keeps you really warm, albeit with a bit of jamming in the drysuit here and there. There is the Akuilisaq of course – I am quite tempted by this instead of a Reed tuilik, just to wear with the dry suit in summer (hood optional in July!)I have recently borrowed a lomo neo deck for the Tahe and it does restrict movement in an unacceptable way for anything other than going forwards in a straight line. Ooops sorry – too much information?

  4. Frode says:

    I use a Brooks tuiliq on my Greenland T and I like it a lot! Just press enter and send the order:)

  5. pamf says:

    Thanks, Frode. Another compelling argument! I also need to accessorise my NL paddle – a very important consideration 😉

  6. pamf says:

    Lesley – choices, choices! My priority is warmth and increased freedom of movement. I think I’d plan around rolling versus journeying, keeping the tuilik for extended rolling practice versus any plans for trips. I was so cold most of last summer, my priority is warmth without necessarily having to wear 4 layers under my drysuit! The Reed tuilik certainly has its appeal for the scenario you describe, esp those balmy days over 12C, say 🙂

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