Learning your second roll – The Shotgun Roll

Now that you can complete the Standard Greenland Roll there are a number of options, my recommendation is to keep it simple and go for the shotgun roll. The shotgun roll is a one armed roll where the paddle acts as an extension to your arm. You set up by placing the left hand end of the paddle against your right pectoral muscle in much the same place you might place a shotgun, your right arm should be fully extended and holding the paddle lightly against your chest by pulling the paddle towards you. This roll is sometimes called the arm pit roll, but don’t be fooled by this name this does not mean you should put the paddle into your arm pit, it should be resting on your pectoral. With your right arm extended rotate your arm and core slightly to bring the paddle across the kayaks bow and down onto the left side. The paddle will naturally be angled downwards to get the tip hooked over the bow. It makes the roll easier if you exaggerate the downwards angle forcing the blade deeper into the water. This has the positive affect of ensuring the paddle blade tip is out of the water when the kayak rolls upside down. During this roll the left hand does nothing in particular I tend to leave it dangling down on the left side of the kayak where it tends to act as a counter balance helping me finish the roll. After setting up roll in leftwards. When inverted and floating upwards feel the paddle and make sure that the far end of the blade is in the air, then rotate the blade in a big arc keeping a gentle pressure against your pectoral with your right arm and keeping the blade tip skimming close to the surface, adjust the angle with your right wrist if the blade starts to dive. Initially you will tend to use to much force to hold the blade against your body, when I learned this roll I ended up with a nice round brown bruise on my chest for several days, over time I have learned that you don’t really need much tension at all as the lift of the blade as it sweeps through the arc keeps it firmly in contact with your arm and chest.
Because the blade is extended so far to the right you will find you have lots of power in the sweeping blade and a simple right knee lift with an arched back and a layback finish will help you upright with ease.
Common mistakes with this roll are to get the blade angle wrong causing it to dive, sweeping the blade too early when it is not yet reached the surface, and the old faithful, trying to raise your head up too early and not keeping it in the water until the last minute.
Remember, take your time, relax and let the kayak and blade help you up; don’t fight with them.

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