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Kayaking Fundamentals: Mastering the C-to-C Kayak Roll

The c-to-c kayak roll is a great technique to have in your kayak roll quiver. It breaks the roll setup into two distinct steps—the paddle sweep and the paddle down-thrust. This rhythm leads instinctively into your hip snap for a smooth rolling action. In this video from our Kayaking Fundamentals series, expert kayaking instructor Ken Whiting leads you through the mastery of this excellent safety technique.

To practice the c-to-c roll, start out with your paddle alongside the kayak. The front blade will be power-face up, and your head and body tucked forward and leaning toward your paddle.

After flipping upside down you’ll push your paddle out to the side and lean out to get your head and body as close to the surface of the water as possible. It should feel like if you didn’t have a good grip on the thigh hooks with your legs, you’d be pulling yourself right out of the kayak.

Your other forearm will stay pressed against the side of the kayak and act as a pivot, while the outer arm swings the blade out 90 degrees from the kayak, keeping the blade as close to the surface as possible. Your upper body rotates as you do this. You’ll then pull down with your paddle blade and immediately begin your hip snap. The hip snap involves pulling up with the knee on the paddle side to roll the kayak upright.

You’ll continue to watch your blade and keep your head down until your hip snap has brought the lower edge of the cockpit coaming in contact with your lower side. At that point you’ll know that your hip snap can’t do anything more for you and you’ll swing your body slightly backward and on top of your kayak. You’ll be watching your blade the whole time, so your head stays low.

When you’ve mastered the c-to-c kayak roll, your paddling confidence will grow, and your boating will be much safer, and more fun!