Here goes! I'm starting to practice the Balance Brace without a spotter. Even though I'm not perfect, I'm making progress.
I had to make a choice between camera man or spotter because the camera man is sometimes also my spotter. So most of the time, I choose to have a spotter since I haven't learned to roll yet. It's easy to fall over and go upside-down when you start learning the Balance Brace. I find it isn't very forgiving for mistakes.
I like having someone to spot me, coach me, and also have someone to film each practice session. It's a great way to learn and progress. It takes a village! But we don't always have a village around to help us.
I'm a big fan of Helen Wilson's video, (from Greenlandorbust.org) "Simplifying the Roll", a multi-level guide to rolling a kayak where you learn the basics in simple terms and can move on from there. She also demonstrates how to troubleshoot common problems with the roll (I have all of them), and she shows you how to progress through the ancient Greenland technique of rolling a kayak.
I especially like her demonstrations and explanations of how you can practice on your own or with a helper.
Thanks to awesome Senjaroller, Frode Wiggen in Norway for recommending this video. It has already helped me a lot. And thanks to Frode for encouraging me from afar, not to give up on trying to learn how to roll. I was ready to give up last year.
Since going directly to learning how to do a full roll just didn't work for me, I'm taking another approach.
I'm going to learn how to Balance Brace first. It's considered a fundamental maneuver or principle for Greenland style. I think of it as a pose I go into with my kayak. This works for me as a fan of Yoga. And my yoga practice helps with flexibility.
I actually enjoy the Balance Brace (when I don't tip over). It's very relaxing, and it's easier for me to learn than rolling. From there, I plan to move on to collapsing the kayak onto myself, and tucking myself into a half roll position and learn the half roll.
It's great to have a simple plan to follow and a guide I can understand and relate to. It gives me confidence and hope. I even look forward to practice now instead of dreading it. Helen Wilson's video, "Simplifying the Roll" has become my rolling guide. It motivates me and makes me believe I can do it too. It also helps my paddling partner and I learn how to help each other at practice sessions. This video also improved my paddling partner's basic roll by 50% after watching the video, then going to the lake to practice rolling and balance brace. He found his roll almost effortless.
It looks like I'm a Greenlander now too. I like the style, mentality, and teaching methods. And I already have two Greenland paddles and two Greenland style kayaks.
Happy Balance Brace practice and learning how to roll a kayak!
(Video shot in the summer at Lac Monroe, Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada)