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Submitted: 09-23-2008 by Karovaldas

This is a very well filmed instructional video with a very reasonable approach to teaching a roll. I believe one can learn to roll just by studying this film. EJ breaks down the roll into five skills one needs to develop to have a competent roll: brace, supported hip snap without and with a paddle, 'home-base' position, and finally a combat roll or finding your 'home-base' under field conditions. I found this sequence of skills that increase in complexity with each step and rely on skill developed in earlier steps very helpful in making sense out of this counter-intuitive kayaking skill.

EJ is a very competent narrator who keeps the language colloquial while at the same time covering the topic in great detail and touching on very subtle aspects of the skill. He also covers the mental part of rolling very well.

Advanced bracing and rolling sections of the DVD as well as the part for those who want to teach the roll were extremely helpful. Don't skip them even if you have no intention of doing advanced rolling/bracing or teaching. Throughout, EJ covers the common mistakes people make when learning the roll. I've developed my own roll after only a brief introduction by someone qualified to teach it. In 10 minutes of this DVD I was able to see my own mistakes that took me days to discover. They were covered in simple and easy-to-understand language.

The previous reviewer points out that insufficient time is spent on bracing. I disagree. First, as EJ points out, brace and roll are one and the same. They are not two different things. Brace is just a final stage of a complete roll sequence or a roll without the boat being inverted on the paddler. I thought EJ covered the brace extensively in the fist segment. As mentioned, there is also a separate segment on advanced bracing which covers sustained brace and skulling brace.

While there are no sea kayaks in the video, I don't know what would be gained by substituting one for a river kayak. There were also no red kayaks in the video or wooden ones... In other words, brace/roll is NOT kayak specific and EJ spends a couple of minutes talking about rolling different kayaks. His message is clear, the differences between kayak designs are so minor compared to the gross differences between kayakers' abilities that they are not worth considering as long as adequate bracing is installed in a craft.

The one point that I deducted is for an assumption that the kayak has low aft decks. What EJ presents is a lean-back roll. In my kayak I have limited ability to lean back because of a relatively high cockpit behind my back that prevents me from leaning back. I also have somewhat sensitive lower back --a common problem among kayakers that I've encountered-- which will present problems with this particular technique. This video will not show you how to adapt your roll to these circumstances. I hate C-to-C roll but in my case it presents one solution. The presented technique could probably be adapted to learning a lean-forward roll but that's a stretch.

In summary, if you have a reasonably low rear deck and no problems with with your lower back that prevent you from leaning back, this DVD is a winner! If you are handicapped by these two, you can still learn a whole lot about bracing/rolling from this video but will need to make somewhat major adjustments that are not covered here at all. Knowing the basics of C-to-C and lean forward roll will help a lot.

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