Eskimo roll

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The Eskimo roll (also known as capsizing roll ) is a method to get a capsized kayak or some Canadians back up quickly and without having to get out of the car. The practice of this method is called rolling or eskimo .

Refreshment roll
Eskimo roll: The first attempt with too much momentum causes the paddler to tip over on the opposite side (to the foreground), the second attempt succeeds
Training the capsizing role in the swimming pool

Basic technique

The paddle is placed parallel to the kayak lying upside down, the front paddle blade lying flat on the surface of the water. Then this sheet is drawn outwards in a sweeping arc. This movement gives the paddle a lift at a slight angle of attack, so it absorbs supporting force. During this movement, the boat (sdeck) is turned upwards from the hip (by bending the hip, around its longitudinal axis). This raises the center of gravity of the hip. While the arm and the moving paddle blade still support the long lever, the upper body and arms are also lifted out of the water in a kind of progressing wave after the hips.

In a modified form, but always starting with the boat's turn, there are also the reverse roll (rear paddle blade is used), short roll (without a bow), long roll (paddle held on the paddle blade stretched away from the boat), hand roll (without paddle) and other variants possible. In canoeing, specifically for the role played by Canadians, in which paddles are only paddled on one side, Peter Ningelgen invented the backward role for driving with Canadians in the 1980s. The background was that when sailing on white water rivers or at racing events, in some places overturning was only possible or useful on one side. If the paddle is led on the other side, it used to be that people grip under water, which required skill and time and often led to the loss of the paddle. This problem was solved with the reverse technique.

Even Canadians particular design, in particular the closed and whitewater Canadians can sit up by Eskimo roll. This is usually not possible with open Canadians, as they are full of water when they capsize. Experienced canoeists can, however, use a skilful procedure to empty flooded boats from the water even on open waters and continue to use the canoe.

Forms of Eskimo Roll

There are many different methods of erecting a kayak, and mostly mixed forms of different methods are used in practice, depending on the position of the paddler in relation to the current, the form of the current, the position of the paddle when capsizing, etc. Nevertheless, some pure technical forms can be distinguished.

Role in template

The role in template is a modern role in which the upper body remains in the best possible template during the entire movement. First, the paddle blade is moved from the starting position, in which the paddle is parallel to the kayak (i.e. the boat's longitudinal axis) on the water surface, to 90 ° to the boat's longitudinal axis. With this arc of the paddle blade on the surface of the water, the paddle blade should not sink but also not necessarily generate buoyancy (compare bow impact roller). From this optimal 90 ° position with the greatest possible lever, the actual rolling movement starts by rolling up the kayak with the hips, at the very end the upper body, then finally the head, still in the best possible body position, slides out of the water. Roles in which the upper body is moved or thrown backwards are still widespread (e.g. the archery roll). The clearly better variant is the forward roll because, on the one hand, a correct hip swing is only possible with an upright, bent upper body. On the other hand, the risk of injury is lower, because you hold the action arm protectively in front of your head during the entire underwater phase, you have less depth and do not stretch your face and neck towards possible obstacles, but rather the back of your head (helmet) and back. Thirdly, after unsuccessful attempts to roll, you are much more fixed in the starting position for a new attempt. And in the end, the person who ends his role in the upper body position is back in the paddling position faster than the person who first has to bring the paddle and upper body back to the front.

End of the bow roller: The canoe comes forward from the supine position.

Archery roll

The archery roll is a backward motion roll. The righting force is generated by an arc of 180 °, with the upper body following the paddle blade backwards. Although this role is easy to learn, it has the disadvantage that it ends in an unfavorable position of the upper body (supine position).

Slope roll

With the slope roll, the paddle is brought into a 90 ° position over the water surface, the impulse is given by the paddle blade on the water surface and the kayak is raised with a swing of the hip. The movement of the paddle blade does not go down, but stays on the surface. This role is also considered easy to learn, but requires a certain degree of agility and a clean paddling movement to be effective.

Sweep roll

The sweep roll combines a bow and slope roll. It begins with an arching movement, starting with an upright movement, and changes the paddle movement downwards from the 90 ° position. This shape also combines the advantages of the bow and slope roll and provides a quick way to get the kayak upright.

Roll backwards

When rolling backwards, the paddle is pulled from the back to the front, so it performs an arc in the opposite direction. As with the sweep roll, the righting movement is started and, as soon as the 90 ° position is reached, a paddling movement downwards follows. This form of the role is particularly suitable if you capsize in the supine position. This shape, also known as the reverse roll, is the only way for Canadians to cheer up on the "opposite" side without having to grip the paddle underwater.

Steyr Roll

The Steyr Roll is the typical roll used to erect Canadian boats. It can be carried out with a single paddle , but is also possible with a double paddle as a "long roll". The paddle is grasped at one end and the other end is lifted out of the water in the 90 ° position. With this lever the boat is erected, supported by a hip movement.

Hand roll

The hand roll is a name for any Eskimo roll that is performed without a paddle. At the beginning the upper body is swung to the side and then the kayak is straightened up by an impulsive swing of the hips, while at the same time slapping the hands downwards. The hand roller knows different variants, z. B. the double-stroke hand roll or the hand roll in the supine position, as well as combinations similar to the above-mentioned roles with paddles.


Attachment to the Greenland
reel Siukkut tunusummillugu (standard reel with paddle behind the head)

The Eskimos could not swim - mainly because of the extremely cold Arctic Ocean . For her, this technique was vital to survival after capsizing.

The Eskimo roll was known from Fridtjof Nansen's expedition reports in Europe, but it was not until July 30, 1927 that the Austrian Edi Hans Pawlata succeeded in learning the “ability to straighten up”. In 1928 he published a textbook on the Eskimo roll entitled “Kipp, Kipp, Hurra! In a thoroughbred kayak ”, in which he describes his technique.

The technical sophistication and diversity of the Eskimos' capsizing maneuvers is still unmatched by the techniques commonly used in Europe and the USA. To take part in the Greenland kayak championships, you have to master around 30 different kayaking maneuvers. In preparation for the capsizing maneuver in arctic waters, rope aerobics is practiced as a dry exercise , which is also part of the national kayak championships in Greenland.

See also


  • Jens Reinhold: Eskimo roll made easy. The book about the kayak and canoe role, for beginners and "old hands". 2nd Edition. Pollner Verlag, Oberschleißheim 2004, ISBN 3-89961-031-8 .
  • Paul Dutky: Eskimo safely - play boating and canoeing odeo. Translation by Waltraud Felsl. Pollner Verlag, Oberschleißheim 1998, ISBN 3-925660-70-4 .

Web links

Commons : Eskimo Scroll  - Collection of Images