Why You Need to Practice the Eskimo Roll

24 January 2017
 Categories: Recreation & Sports, Blog


If you want to take up the sport of kayaking, you need to learn some basic techniques first. In particular, you need to know exactly what to do instinctively if you happen to capsize. What is involved with the procedure known as the Eskimo roll?

Why You Need to Learn This

Let's face it, if you're going to have some great kayaking adventures you're going to capsize sooner or later. It's not much fun to be wrestling with your situation when you're underwater and it's even less fun to spend the next 20 or 30 minutes trying to figure out how to get all the water out of your craft.

There are a lot of different ways to perform the famous Eskimo roll, but you don't need to know all of them. You should focus on one particular strategy and become a master at this first.

Getting Ready

In order to practice this, first of all you need to grip the paddle normally in front of you and then rotate the body to the left and place the paddle on that side. The blade on the right-hand side of the paddle should be facing up, so that the edge that is closer to the vessel is elevated. This is important, as when you are inverted the blade will be able to work with you and create an uplifting force instead of the opposite.

Attempting the Technique

Next, lean forwards and place the paddle ahead of you. Brace yourself against the inside of the kayak, so that your knees are touching the upper part and your heels are firmly planted on the bottom. Now, lean to the left and the craft will capsize.

You must be calm in this situation and don't be tempted to panic, as this just causes additional difficulties. From your already forward position, push even further until the nose touches the deck of the craft. Push the paddle forward and away from the craft and this should bring both hands above the surface of the water.

Now, attempt to roll into recovery. Bring the paddle against the surface of the water in a big sweeping arc from the front to the back. Use the strength of your upper body to do this. As you do so, straighten the upper body and turn the blade in such a way that it creates an upward angle against the water. By doing this, you will create sufficient force to turn sideways. As you continue to straighten your body, the kayak should right itself to the surface. To complete the manoeuvre, twist your waist and "flick" the craft further upright by pushing against the deck with your right knee.

Being Patient

This may take some time to perfect, but you should persevere. Always have somebody with you when you try this, so that if you do get into difficulty you can easily be rescued. Don't be tempted to just try this a couple of times and give up, as you never know when you'll need this recovery technique in the future.