Beginning Kayak Roll - Tacoma - 2017

Sea Kayaking Course

Beginning Kayak Roll

Kayak roll class; one classroom session plus 3 pool sessions.

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers course.

Meeting Time and Place:

Classroom & boat fit: October 22nd, 5:30 – 6:30 pm

Pool sessions: October 29th, November 5th, November 19th 12:00 – 4:00 pm

Leader Notes

Lead Instructor: Gary Peniston, 253-851-8348 or

Enrollment Coordinator:  Don Short, 253-426-8638 or

Being able to roll is very cool. Not only will you be able to get back up in 5 seconds after a capsize, it's fun! Your confidence level in general will soar. You can push the limits on kayak strokes and maneuvers; with your newly-established confidence and skill you know that if you go over, you can come back up without having to wet exit.

Here is what the course entails.

A short classroom session (optional). We’ll watch some excerpts from a very good roll video and stop periodically to elaborate. We’ll teach you some essential stretches to help your flexibility- it really helps if your body can bend. We’ll teach some exercises to do at home to strengthen side muscles that don’t otherwise get used. You can bring your boat so we can check for proper knee engagement- without it, the boat won’t roll! We can help you adjust or add a foam wedge as needed. This session is at the Tacoma Mountaineers Program Center, 2302 North 30th Street, Tacoma.

We’ll hit the pool for our afternoon Roll Class sessions on three Sunday afternoons.  We recommend that students bring their own kayaks. If you do not have a kayak, please let us know. We have a few to loan. Students will be split into two sessions, one from 12:00 – 1:30 pm and one from 2:00 – 3:30 pm.  Each session MAY have some optional pool play time at the end for students who want more practice on their own.  The Roll Class pool sessions are at Peninsula High School Pool, 14015 62nd Ave NW, Gig Harbor. Pool Play sessions, later in the winter, will be a further opportunity to practice and sometimes for further instruction.

Contact the leader or Enrollment Coordinator for permission to sign up and discuss your boat fit. The information packet is on this web page; click on the blue “Course Materials” tab below. It is essential you review these materials well ahead of the course.

We recommend that you consider purchasing the video, "The Kayak Roll" by Mary and Phil DeReimer, directed by Kent Ford.  We will be watching selected segments during the classroom session.  You can purchase it on Amazon for around $30 at, or the Kindle version (just the book, not the video) for $10.

There are no prerequisites for this class. In fact, if you are considering taking the Basic Sea Kayaking Course next spring, you may want to take this class first. If you get a reliable roll, you'll be fearless!

Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Required Equipment

Bring your own properly fitted kayak - if you do not have one, please contact the leader or enrollment coordinator. We can supply one for you.

Normal pool stuff like either goggles and nose plugs or else a dive mask, dive booties or wet shoes (make sure footwear has no straps or laces that could get caught on foot pegs), some pool attire to keep you warm like a wetsuit or shorty wetsuit, plus the usual stuff you would bring to go swimming. We recommend you bring and wear the PFD you would normally paddle with.