Back in the day, I had a bombproof kayak roll. But gradually, I fell out of the habit of practising it. When I first abandoned whitewater and surf paddling in favour of exclusively ocean kayaking I kept it up. But over the years, I persuaded myself it wasn’t really essential for sea kayaking and probably wouldn’t work anyway with my sail on the boat. Besides, my brace worked fine (except when it didn’t.) Somewhere along the line, I convinced myself that age made it unlikely I could recapture my roll.
Displacement Hull Boat? Check. Wood Paddle? Check. Chunky PFD? Check. This must be me, surfin’ the 90s.
But this year, one of my personal and professional goals is to regain my roll. And to do it like a girl.
Life events and some (non life-threatening) medical issues have kept me out of my sea kayak for a couple of months – the longest absence from paddling I’ve had in decades.
Earlier this week I took my hopefully rehabbed body out for some sea trials. My standard voyage is a straight shot from English Bay Beach to the Jericho Sailing Association, about 45 minutes of brisk paddling against the stiff breeze of the afternoon inflow. Since I was testing my recovery, I raised the sail and did a series of paddle-sailing broad tacks up either side of the wind, adding some distance and about twenty minutes to my crossing time, but reducing the load on my body to about half of paddling directly upwind. Continue reading