For anyone interested in traditional Greenland-style kayaking, especially the rolling and bracing skills, University of Sea Kayaking (USK) has come out with a new DVD featuring two of the best Greenland rollers on the planet, Maligiaq Padilla and Dubside.
I watched the first a 2-part series of DVD’s on Greenland kayaking technique, “Greenland Rolling With Maligiaq & Dubside – Part 1”. This first DVD covers the basics of Greenland rolling along with safety issues and then goes into demonstrations and explanations of 14 of the 35 rolls that are currently required to be performed in the the Greenlandic National Championships. Part 2 covers the remaining 21 competition rolls in a separate DVD which I will review in the future.
As is the case with all USK DVD’s, there is a helpful printed outline included so that you can easily find a section that you may wish to watch instead of having to scan through the whole video to find the information you need. Demonstrations of the rolls are performed by several different paddlers, although the bulk of the demonstrations appear to be done by Maligiaq. Most of the narration and instructional portions of the video are handled by Dubside who has a clear and pleasant speaking voice and nice pace in the presentation making the audio easy on the ear.
While the bulk of the skills are performed in traditional skin-on-frame kayaks with Greenland paddles, there are discussions of how these skills can be performed in the more commonl hard-shell sea kayaks and Euroblade paddles that most of us typically use.
While I have always been quite impressed with the instructional videos put out by USK, my one complaint has been that the narration and verbal instruction is usually non-stop. The information being given is always very useful and informative so I don’t want to miss any of it, but I found it difficult to watch the skill demonstration and focus on what was being said at the same time. I longed for a pause by the speaker so I could just ‘watch’ the demonstrations and digest the information. I was thrilled to see that Wayne Horodowich has rectified this one deficiency in his most recent video. Each roll is shown several times, usually from four different camera angles, with no speaking or narration going on in the background. Key points are reinforced with on-screen captions after the demonstrations have been performed.
The DVD covers sculling and the balance brace first as a precursor to the layback rolls as is also the case in Helen Wilson’s video on Greenland rolling which I have previously reviewed on this blog. After covering several of the more basic layback rolls, Dubside shares a progression for learning the forward ending rolls. I am anxious to try this progression as I have always struggled with the forward ending rolls. The DVD recommends moving on to the forward ending rolls soon after learning a layback roll so that the layback position does not become too strongly ingrained making it more difficult to learn the forward ending position. I suspect that this is my problem as I had been doing layback rolls for over 10 years before trying the forward rolls.
For those of us who are familiar with Dubside having seen his demonstrations in person or watched his previous rolling video, he is a strong advocate for using the traditional Greenlandic names for each of the rolls. A nice touch in this DVD for those interested in following suit, the traditional Greenlandic name of each roll is shown on-screen along with the English name. The traditional name is pronounced, followed by the English name, and then the traditional name is repeated once more. The traditional names are also written down in the outline that is included with the DVD. Personally, I still found it hard to imitate the pronunciation of the traditional names as the words are long and the sounds are rather subtle. I would suggest including a phonetic spelling in the outline along with the traditional written names of each roll for those who really want to learn to pronounce them correctly.
Although I don’t use a Greenland paddle for paddling, I do enjoy using one for rolling. As an instructor I have frequently recommended that students learn to roll with a Greenland paddle first and then transition to a Euroblade paddle afterward. This is often a more successful method for older paddlers who may lack the flexibility and abdominal strength needed to perform the C-to-C roll commonly taught in many rolling classes.
If like me you have family members asking you to provide a “wish list” for Christmas, I would highly recommend this DVD as being a worthwhile addition to your video library. For those of you hoping to learn how to roll in the coming year, watching this new USK DVD along with “Simplifying the Roll With Helen Wilson” would be a good way to get started. While I always recommend personal instruction from a qualified instructor as the best way to learn how to roll, visualization is a helpful tool in learning any physical skill. Watching these videos will help an aspiring roller to visualize the movements that they want to perform.