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Rolling with the Pool

By Hannah Morgan | WVUGo Copywriter and Editor

Kayak Roll session at Mylan Park

Have you ever wanted to kayak but want to be sure to do it safely? Join a roll session.

Here in West Virginia, we have some of the best areas for whitewater in the nation. The Mountain State is filled with countless world-class quality rapids, and the weather is often perfect for water sports. In fact, some would say it’s even a lifestyle for those adventure driven people living in these mountains.

However, going into whitewater can be dangerous, whether in a raft or kayak. So, it’s important to be taught the right way and know the right equipment so anyone can enjoy the water in a fun and safe environment.

Adventure WV knows that whitewater is an exciting thing for many native West Virginians and those coming in from other places around the country, but safety is always a top priority. This is why we host kayak roll sessions, where participants have the opportunity to learn the proper way to roll a kayak if you happen to find yourself upside down in the water. Due to Covid, we were limited to two sessions this semester, but it’s always a full and fun turnout.

Kayak Roll Session at Mylan

Because the sessions are in a pool, both beginners and advanced can join the class and practice in warm, still water instead of hopping right into the swift West Virginia rivers. This also allows participants to get feedback from skilled instructors, and all equipment is provided. So, it’s almost like a “try it before you buy it” experience.

I spoke to Patricia Chan, program coordinator for Adventure WV, about what to expect when participating in a roll session. She told me that if anything, this is just a fun experience for anyone, all while getting to be in a safe environment.

“Nobody comes out of a pool session an expert on whitewater kayaking or totally competent in any whitewater technique, so it’s a great way to try something new and see if you like it,” she said. “while getting to splash around in the pool.”

Kayaker in the Pool

She admits that she believes students are wanting to try something new, be active and be around others all while being safe.

Chan said that these roll sessions are like a “choose your own adventure” learning. Instructors begin by explaining and showing the best equipment and gear for each participant. First, they sit down in the kayak and paddle around the pool, just to get comfortable with how everything feels and works. She explained that there are different skills they can work on while there, so as Chan explained, “students can spend the whole time working on some more basic skills, or if they’re feeling excited or spicy, they can try and progress to some of the more complicated skills involved with rolling a kayak.” For example, learning how to correctly right themselves if they roll upside down.

Kayaker Rolling with Instructor Supervision

So, if you’re someone who would like to learn more about kayaking or even learning more skills, be sure to keep updated to see when the next session will be!

About the Author

Hannah Morgan

Hannah Grace Morgan is a part of the Writing/Editing Team for WVUGo. She is a senior studying journalism and political science. Hannah is from Oceana, West Virginia where the closest stoplight is about an hour drive away. Hannah has written for the Daily Athenaeum, WV News, the Register-Herald and now for WVUGo.