On and offside roll learning

Clearly outside of the luxury of the practice session you cannot predict which side of the kayak you will end up rolling in on or up on. So if you are learning rolls as a practical rescue and recovery technique you will need to learn to roll on both sides of the kayak.
If you are right handed then rolling up on the right side of the kayak will probably be your strongest side, usually called your onside roll due to your stronger (right) arm doing most of the work. Rolling up on the left will be called your offside roll.
Whatever side you first learn to roll on I can guarantee that when you try the other side you will feel strange at first and you may like me fail miserably. I found this a time when goggles really helped me as I was able to slow down under water and really examine what was going on and think about the correct motion I needed to make. My muscle memory was no use as it was telling me to raise the wrong knee and all sorts of things were going wrong. Prior to rolling I find it useful to close my eyes and imagine the movement of my arms and core and back, seeing myself perform the movements. I then use the paddle out of the water and rehearse the movement, reinforcing the muscle memory. Then finally I roll in and try it out for real. One of the hardest things to get right is the blade angle on the water’s surface. A good way to help to get the blade setup up right is to relax your grip and allow it to float on the surface for a moment, this will cause the blade to float flat, then try a small amount of wrist rotation and then sweep the blade. The other challenge is teaching your arm to sweep out rather than just heaving downwards on the paddle, this should all sound very familiar, it really is exactly the same challenges as the Standard Greenland Roll all over again, it just now feels really weird, complicated and much harder.
In Dubside’s rolling video he suggests practicing your onside roll three times successfully then trying once on your offside, if you fail to roll then go back and repeat the onside three times, keep cycling this way until you are getting the same rate of success on both sides.
I learned over a dozen different rolls before I focused on my offside. I know some people who will not learn a new roll until they have got all their existing rolls working on both sides. It really is up to you how to learn. I would recommend as a minimum to get at least your Standard Greenland Roll working on both sides as it may save you wet exiting during rolling practice when you are running short of air and your paddle is set up on the wrong side for your onside roll.

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