Pawlata is not a Starter but a Main Dish

I was chatting with a member of the club last night, discussing rolling.

“I can’t roll”

“Well next time we’re in the pool, we can start learning the pawlata”

“Oh I can do a pawlata”

It’s a very misunderstood roll as it’s often the first roll anyone learns.  There is an association with learning so many people just consider it’s ‘just for the pool’.  I have used it a few times in white water where my first or second roll has failed and it’s getting to the point where it is a question of rolling or taking a swim.

Going out on little day trips and doing sea kayak training, we often forget rolling and controlling an empty boat is totally different when you have the hatches packed and your life spread out on your deck. There’s a very good article on the roll, which makes an excellent point.

“There are many different rolls to choose from. Since sea kayaks are larger than whitewater kayaks and definitely heavier, taking advantage of a longer lever makes a lot of sense. I recommend to learn as many rolls as you can. Once you have made the Pawlata roll a reliable one you will find it is one that will serve you well especially when the conditions get rough and your sea kayak is packed for a long trip.”

There are some downsides namely

  • The roll takes longer to do.
  • The end of your roll ends with the paddle in not the greatest position to deal with whatever knocked you over in the first place.

Despite it’s drawbacks you should not be worried about relying on the pawlata as your solid base roll.


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