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HomeTech: Rolls & Rescues

Greenland Technique: Rolling and Rescues

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Rolling is an extremely useful skill, but there is much more to safe Greenland-style kayaking than just rolling. While rolling can become a form of sport in itself, for safe kayaking you will need to work on developing all of your skills, including sound judgment.

The Greenland paddle is so adept at rolling that it's only natural to start looking at the competition rolling list and wondering, where do I start? One logical rolling progression (after one learns basic techniques including bracing, forward strokes, etc) is:

    • Become comfortable in/under water
    • Side sculling (teaches paddle control, finding balance point of kayak and body, and aft leaning hipsnap on recovery).
    • Standard roll (you may wish to scull up initially)
    • Balance brace (logically you could do this right after learning a side scull but most people want to get a roll down as soon as possible)
    • Armpit roll or crook arm roll (for variety and to have a one-handed option)
    • Chest scull (teaches forward leaning hipsnap)
    • Reverse roll (very closely linked to the chest scull)
    • Storm roll (an excellent roll for battle conditions)
    • Other rolls of your choice
    • Norsaq rolls (a good intro to the hand rolls)
    • Hand rolls

The Greenlanders start with the first three items in the order shown. Otherwise follow your interests and keep it fun (and safe).

Technique Tips

According to Maligiaq Padilla, many Greenland kayakers are first taught to paddle with a vertically oriented blade (at the catch), and as they progress, they are later taught the "canted blade stroke" which is considered a more advanced technique. In the canted blade stroke the top edge of the paddle is angled forward, toward the bow. Learning this technique will quickly bury the blade, reduce or eliminate flutter and ventilation, and provide for much more power.

Team Qajaq USA

Qajaq USA is the American Chapter of Qaannat Kattuffiat - the Greenland Kayak Association. We have members world-wide. Qajaq USA is one of only three affiliated "Qajaq" clubs outside of Greenland. Most "Qajaq" clubs are scattered among the small villages of Greenland and are a major impetus in keeping the local kayaking traditions alive.
Meet the team »

Our Mission:

  • Qajaq USA is a nonprofit membership organization that is officially recognized by Qaannat Kattuffiat (The Greenland Kayaking Association).
  • Qajaq USA is committed to supporting Qaannat Kattuffiat and their efforts to preserve, study and promote the traditions and techniques of Greenland kayaking while seeking to further the appreciation and development of Greenland-style kayaking in the United States.