A recent letter we received:
Hi, I enjoy watching The Kayak Roll video that I purchased from you. I can roll, but lacking confidence and being consistant. I have seen paddle floats used in sea kayaks to aid in rolling. In your expert opinion, is the paddle float an aid that can initially help in learning to roll a white water kayak? I have never seen anyone use one...perhaps fora good reason? IE: too much reliance on something that won'tbe there when out on the river. Thanks for your advice. Sincerely, Dennis
My reply: A paddle float creates incentive and dependence on trying to pull down on the paddle, so while it works to get the boat upright, it is counter to what you want to learn in a successful roll. That would be my primary reason for recommending against using them for rolling practice.
This is one of the odd attributes of learning to roll. The motion is counterintuitive. Kayak instructors are faced with this frequently, because moving the student's paddle shaft through the rolling motion provides a positive muscle memory but also provides the negative input of allowing the student to pull the paddle down to get rightside up. This works with an instructor guiding the paddle, but not so well underwater on thier own.
We go into this in some detail in "The Kayak Roll Download Part 2- Diagnose problems and teach the Kayak Roll", which currently is available for under $5.