Learn how to back deck roll in your kayak

So you’ve gone through the sessions on the water, training your body to be strong enough to paddle in most conditions and now you want to take the fun levels up a notch by learning a trick or two.  Well how about we show you how to learn a back deck roll?



The back deck roll is known for being the quickest way to get yourself back into an upright position in the boat whenever you find yourself upside down or falling as a result of leaning back in your kayak. If you are ever in these situations you can easily get yourself out of them with this technique, which can also be used as a cool trick to show your paddle buddies!

How do I do a back deck roll?

For the process of this explanation we’re going to describe how to execute the back deck roll for the right-handed paddler, so if you are left-handed when it comes to paddling then you can carry out the actions on the opposite side. Start on the left side of the boat and finish rolling up on the right blade if you are a right-hander, because the feather of your paddles will help to make the move lots easier. Everything we explain in will become clear in the video at the bottom of the page.

1. You need to lie all the way back and look over your left shoulder.

2. Place the paddle parallel to your kayak on the left side of the boat.

3. Roll back your wrists so that the power face (the face that comes back towards you as you paddle) of both blades is positioned to face straight down into the water.

4. Go ahead and fall over nice and slowly. As you do, make sure you’re leaning back with the back of your head touching the deck.

6. When you are upside down. Put your paddle completely vertical towards you and make sure it’s right in front of your face and that your wrists are rocked back. At this point in the process you will be looking straight back behind you.

7. Next, you will need to look left and reach your head, body and paddle over to the left of your kayak.

8. Once you’ve done this, reach the right blade out, at which point your head will be on the surface.

9. You’re nearly there! Just do a small but strong hip snap to kick yourself round. Ensure you don’t pull the blades down as it’ll cause the paddle to sink and then you’ll have added but needless strain on the shoulders.

10. You’re back up on the surface! Finish your roll by lying back on the deck at the same time as looking at the blade you were working with, on the right.

What else should you remember when doing a back deck roll?

Be sure to rock your wrists right back (as you’ll see in the video). This will open the angle on the edge on your leading paddle blade right out and aid the gliding process across the water and eradicate any sinking.

Get your hip snap working well, if not you might hurt your shoulders. If you do it and the shoulders are sore, go back to practicing your hip snap and making sure it’s nice and solid for future rolls.

Watch the video on how to do a back deck roll, here:

For more guides like this, information on kayaking, as well as kayaks for sale and accessories such as kayak paddles for sale at competitive prices, visit Canoe and Kayak Direct.

Video & image courtesy of Stephen Wright/YouTube.

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