Teach me how to roll

WCU student, Evan Voss, excited about the rolling clinic (taken last fall)

It’s cold out now, but the rivers will be moving soon enough. What better time to hit the warm pool and learn how to roll a kayak, improve technique and have a blast?

Beginner, intermediate, and advanced boaters come to the Reid Pool on the WCU campus to play in the water every other Thursday from 7-9 p.m.

Rolling is a key skill in the advancement of paddling higher-class rivers. Once each step is learned and the roll is performed as one continuous motion, bringing the boat upright will be second nature.

Roll clinic leader and Basecamp employee, Matt Harshman

“It’s a way of progressing in kayaking,” said roll clinic trip leader, Matt Harshman. “If you don’t have a good roll, you can’t run bigger rapids safely.”

Being able to roll a kayak will boost the confidence of beginner paddlers when swimming can be prevented. Not only does a paddler’s mindset change, but also the paddler’s time on the river can increase. It is tiring and dangerous to swim in the current of a river. No matter the demographics of the rapid: a hole, a chute, a ledge, it is always safer to be able to roll instead of wet exiting from the boat.

“Rolling is a self rescue. So when you have to pull your skirt, you’re relying on the people you are with to get you and your gear to side safely,” said Harshman who has been paddling for almost a year.

People who are confident with their roll can improve their technique, help beginners, and socialize with the a paddling community.

“More advanced paddlers can come and get tips on strokes or more advanced rolls like a back-deck or hand roll,” said Harshman. “It’s a good place to experiment.”

What is so great about the clinic is all the gear is provided and there is no fee.  Check out the Base Camp Cullowhee schedule to pencil the rolling clinic in your agenda: http://www.wcu.edu/8986.asp