The optimum body position as viewed from above to drive the boat upright is around 90 degrees.Let's look at what the legs do first, or rather the part of the legs that are under the bulkhead/straps etc. Ok, we roll the boat with both our legs BUT we only use one at once.


Hip drive: photos 1 to 3:
When we are in the 'set' position our offside leg pulls on our bulkhead/straps to bring our torso towards the surface. There should be no 'active' pressure on our onside knee. (There will be some pressure as we are hanging upside down!)

We then relax the offside leg and drive the boat upright with our onside leg. Almost a spring effect. The boat is driven as far as possible with the head still down. At this point I'm looking back under the hull!

The head and torso UP at the start of the hip flick is almost as important as head and torso DOWN at the end of the hip flick.

Recovery: photos 4 to 7:
This is the point where you usually hear 'keep your head down!' What we should be saying is 'now we are going to look at how to bring the head up'


Sit on your sofa. Now lay your body down towards your paddling side keeping your feet on the ground, relax. You've fallen asleep... a voice stirs you... 'Hey..... HEY!'
You grunt something as you sit up, which part of your body do you lift first? For most people it's their head. Sitting up this way is intuitive, top vertebra first, followed by the next, followed by the next and so on. We need to learn how to sit up from the bottom vertebra first, followed by the next, followed by the next and so on. A sort of whip effect!


Paddle position: photos 1 to 3
For the 'set' position the body is in the same position as in the hip drive practice drill. I usually start with the front of the blade facing down, the blade and body are then moved out to the side together. The blade is then flipped over so that pressure can be applied to the back of the blade.

Blade pressure: photos 4 to 9:
A small amount of pressure is then placed on the blade to initiate the hip drive, this pressure then decreases as the boat is driven upright. Pressure then increases again to assist the recovery.

Timing triggers:
When experimenting with your roll a series of timing triggers can be used to calibrate the individual elements. For example after the set position I 'pat' the surface with the back of the blade, this triggers my hip drive. I then drive until the colour of the hull can be seen, this triggers the recovery. Pat, drive, red, recover. Saying these will act as reminders; changing the rhythm and timing of these will give you feedback on your roll.