-- Last Updated: Jun-13-13 5:42 PM EST --
and if you are a freestyle kayak rodeo competitor you need to be able to roll up on both sides, from the front or rear deck, without a formal set up.
But I have known highly skilled whitewater kayakers who can roll on both sides in calm water who virtually always roll on one side in whitewater. The one possible exception would be stuck in a hole, upside down with their strong side upstream. But these folks really don't give a tinker's damn if other boaters consider them ambidextrous, competent, or highly skilled rollers. They just want a roll that works and theirs almost always does.
Apart from being stuck the wrong way in a hole, in nearly every other circumstance in whitewater it really doesn't make that much difference. As g2d points out, after failing a roll on one side it is easier to set up on the other, but if current or aerated water caused the roll to fail on one side, if you just wait a second or two for the boat to move a boat length down stream and match the speed of the current another try on the same side almost always works.
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