The kayak is the most sea worthy craft in the world because when it capsizes it is still sea worthy. The occupant may not think so, at that very moment, but their craft is still water tight (assuming they are wearing their spray skirt). If the paddler can right their kayak they will also be as sea worthy as their kayak and then can continue on their merry way. A roll is the quickest and most efficient capsize recovery method available.
While rolling is a valuable skill it is only one of many skills one must have in order to venture onto the water in a kayak. If you perfect your ability to brace you may never need to roll. Derek Hutchinson once told me, "rolling up is a sign of success, but having to roll is a sign of failure." In addition, sooner or later everyone misses their roll. Therefore, knowing other methods of capsize recovery is important.
There are many different forms of rolling. The basic premise of most rolls is to right the kayak and the body will follow. In order to do so, one needs some form of support from a brace (paddle, hands, foreign object, etc) so they can get their kayak upright. There are numerous rolls that have developed over the history of kayaking. Currently there is an annual National Championship in Greenland where dozens of different rolls are performed in competitions. If you want instructional videos on rolling visit the USK Store and check out the DVD section.
USK has produced two superb Greenland rolling videos featuring Maligiaq Padilla & Dubside. Maligiaq has won the Greenland National Championships 8 times. Dubside is internationally known for his rolling skills. If you want a successful learning progression for learning to roll a sea kayak, then we recommend getting "Greenland Rolling with Maligiaq & Dubside Part 1". In that video we have added a special bonus chapter showing the learning to roll progression. In addition, the Greenland rolling techniques shown in the video will help any beginner when they are trying to learn their first roll.
Different methods of rolling and related articles:
Extended Paddle Roll (Pawlata Roll)
"Rolling My Kayak" by Warren Williamson (Commitment to rolling)
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