DVD review - This Is The Roll. Or is it?

If there’s one kayak technique we’d all like to improve, it’s our roll.  
So combine Justine Curgenven’s skills as a film maker, with the Greenland teaching skills of Cheri Perry and Turner Wilson, and you have a DVD which is going to sell very well.  

Real rolls you can use in real situations is the idea behind this DVD – so does it deliver?

Priced £19.99 and $29.99 the DVD is available from Cackle TV.

Cheri and Turner are renowned Greenland paddlers.  I’ve watched them work at a symposium on the Isle of Skye and recorded Podcasts with each where they explain their approach to rolling.  

This DVD is like having advanced, personal rolling tuition from Cheri and Turner.  It accurately captures the way they teach rolling, so it’s clear they are much more than presenters and have been involved throughout the shoot, scripting and edit. 

Whatever kayak you own, whatever paddle you use, the teaching method used by Cheri and Turner is Greenlandic.  Most pupils start in a tuliq with (eventually) a Greenland stick in their hands, so that’s what we see in the DVD.  Now, this might be an issue for some people, so I’ll come back to it later.

When I was struggling to learn to roll I went on a weekend course at Glenmore Lodge (that didn’t work for me) and watched C2C rolling DVDs (they didn’t work either).  If you’ve been down that route, then you’ll find this Greenlandic approach quite different.

Turner and Cheri emphasise what matters most is what your body is doing, not what you’re wearing or the type of paddle you have in your hand.  Get the roll Greenland style, and the technique will transfer, they say.

Of course, it’s impossible to learn a skill from just watching a DVD.  

So a good kayak coaching DVD has to give you the right amount of information, in the right format and sequence, for you to remember enough of what you've seen when you get on the water.  

When you need to progress, or review the material because something isn’t working as it should, come back and watch the DVD again.  

The producers should anticipate what you’ll need before you know you need it.

Sensibly, this production (aimed at beginners to more advanced rollers) doesn’t divert into the more esoteric of the 35 rolls in the Greenland competition, although Cheri hints we might see those in a “second DVD”.  

Instead, it concentrates on three rolls; the Standard Greenland Roll, Reverse Sweep, and Storm Roll.  (As an aside - a lot of people who’re interested in the more advanced rolls would benefit from watching this DVD because, if they can improve their body motion, then they'll find the esoteric rolls easier).

Each roll is broken down into a series of learning points that ought to be mastered before progressing.  

Turner and Cheri show each in action, talk us through the learning process step by step, then introduce students so we can see non-experts getting to grips with the process.  

After that, there’s a ‘Troubleshooting’ section where common (and less common) mistakes are identified and remedies suggested.  

It’s all filmed from every conceivable angle; shore, on the water, under the water and even in a back garden where Cheri uses a skin-less kayak so you can see how her legs are working underneath the deck.  

Freeze frames with graphics emphasise key points, and there are subtitles in French, Spanish and Italian.  So you could learn a language too.

The underwater pictures really stand out.  Justine shot some of these using scuba gear and she told me it was tricky, “not being used to it and with a strong-ish current that kept dragging me along the bottom away from where I wanted to stand ... kicking up dirt etc.” 

At other times the air tanks were abandoned for a simpler system.  

“The underwater shots of Turner in the brown tuliq with the brown boat were done with a mask and a tow belt filled with rocks in a clear, cold lake on Vancouver island. I'd take a deep breath, sink, point the camera and T would perform.”

But please - don’t try to watch the whole thing in one sitting.  

There’s just too much information and your head will explode.  

It is probably best watched in pairs, so you can study a section together then immediately practice what you’ve seen.  As well as keeping you safe, your partner will be better placed to identify what any mistakes you’re making, so you can return to the DVD to study the Troubleshooting sections.  I suspect each copy of this DVD will be watched many, many times.

The strength of this Greenland teaching technique presents a slight difficulty for the DVD viewer who only uses a Euro-blade.  

They’re required to do some mental gymnastics; they must watch people in tuliqs with Greenland sticks, then ‘translate’ the teaching they’ve seen to something that will work with the equipment they use.

Because in a DVD which runs for more than 2hours 30 minutes, barely 13 minutes are devoted to teaching with Euro-blades, and most of that is just voice-over not actual to-camera teaching.  

Some viewers won’t like this, because they don’t have a Greenland stick and can’t immediately put into practice exactly what they’ve seen on screen.  

Yet that misses the point of this Greenlandic approach which is more about your body and less about what’s in your hands.

For those who have a good basic roll but want to be able to roll in trickier sea conditions, the Storm Roll and Reverse Sweep sections make excellent viewing. 
“We are marketing the DVD as showing people rolls that they can use in real situations to prevent a swim”, says Justine. 

So just be clear - This is not just the roll - This Is The Roll as taught by two world renowned Greenland paddlers, Cheri and Turner.  It clearly says on the cover “Greenland Rolling”, and that is exactly what you get in spades.  It will surely sell well.


paddlingOTAKU said...

As I have been looking for a Greenland roll teacher - and cant find one where I live - this may be as close as I will get. I'll give it a try.


Anonymous said...

I bought the digital version of this DVD and love it. I have also watched several rolling DVDs and had only limited success rolling. This really helped a lot, especially identifying body motion issues. The way they teach is great. I started by using a dry duffel (since AI don't have an avataq) and that really makes it much easier to learn. This step by step approach where you learn each part separately is by far the best rolling video instruction I have seen.

Tony P said...

Is the digital download version HD, ie. 720p or 1080i, or is it just 720x480 as on the dvd?

Simon Willis said...

Sorry Tony- no idea

Tony P said...

I found out it's 720p from googling!