Every beginning kayaker knows the anxiety of being on a river with less than a perfect roll. The buddy roll is the perfect technique to employ in these situations. Whether you flip over by accident or you are intentionally practicing your roll, you can be confident in your ability to roll back up as long as you have a friend nearby.
Time Required: 15 minutes to perfect
- Tuck Close to the Boat: As soon as you are upside down you must bring your head and body as close to the deck of the boat as possible. This is so your body does not hit any rocks while traveling upside down under water. Any rocks that you do come in contact with will push off of your life jacket and the back of your helmet and not your face.
- Reach for the Sky: Once tucked you want to reach both arms up and out of the water. This is so that your friend can see that you are waiting to be rescued. The rescuing boat should paddle as fast as he or she can toward the upside down boat.
- Wave and Look: At this point you want to wave your arms back and forth so as to feel for your friend’s boat who should be coming to rescue you at this point. You also want to be looking toward the surface of the water so that you can see what side of your boat your friend is approaching. The rescuing boat should make contact with the upside down boat as close to the waving hands as possible.
- Grab Your Friend’s Boat: Once you feel your friend’s boat strike your boat or you see your friend’s boat nearby, you need to reach up and grab the bow of your friend’s boat. The grab loop provides a good place to hold if you can feel for it on the bow of the rescuing boat.
- Roll Yourself Up: Firmly holding on to your friend’s boat, begin to pull yourself up using your hips to flip the boat around.
- Find Your Paddle: Your paddle should be near your boat as you roll back up. If it isn’t, send your friend to get it for you. Keep your hands in the water and paddle with them until you get your paddle.
- Practice this in calm water such as a pool or a lake before you try this on a river.
- You can now practice your unassisted role with the confidence of knowing that you can resort to a buddy roll if your unassited roll fails.
- Be sure to warn your friend how many practice attempts you will try on your own before you want to resort to the buddy roll.
- Never intentionally practice your roll if you are approaching a dangerous river feature such as a hole, ledge, or strainer.
What You Need
- Spray Skirt
- PFD- Personal Flotation Device
- Helmet (if on a river)