05 January 2011

Birthday Rolls #46

Starring: Greg Schwarz, Jim, Gnarlydog, Adventuretess
Guest Appearances: Moira, Bruce

12 months since the tradition of
‘birthday rolls’ began, it was time to do it all again. All rollers chose to use Greenland Paddles, including Jim who was using his homemade GP for the first time.
Birthday presents are not exchanged among group members; the act of getting together in this way is considered gift enough. I was therefore taken by surprise when Greg Schwarz handed me a small red fleece bag. What lay inside left me speechless: Greg had made me a Norsaq, a Greenland harpoon throwing tool similar to a Woomera. My Norsaq is a beautiful work of art meticulously made with the same timber used to make my GP. Greg substituted Ash on the tips and trim where traditionally bone would have been used.

I have no experience rolling with a Norsaq so was appreciative that Greg included lessons as part of the gift.
Bday roll46_3
Entering the water, the effect of the recent devastating floods was apparent by the unusually brown water and our discovery of a freshwater catfish eel flopping around on the tide line. This poor fellow must have been washed out of a nearby freshwater creek.
12 months ago aged 45, I had wondered at my ability to perform as many rolls. Today attempting 46, plus 1 for luck, I had no such concerns. The challenge for me on this birthday lay in doing different types of rolls. The groups abilities are at different levels but throughout the session, butterfly, Greenland, hand, offside, speed, forward ending and other types of rolls were successfully performed.
On top of these, Greg decided to do his as hand rolls, all 50 of them, one after the other!
After completing the required number of rolls, we played.
Bday roll46_4
Gnarlydog perfected his skirt-in-place re-enter and roll while Greg turned to his role as mentor, helping Jim achieve his first offside roll, using his new GP then guiding me in the use of the Norsaq.

I've found practicing and playing in my kayak improves both my skills and confidence and I’m fortunate to have many opportunities throughout the year to celebrate my kayaking friend’s birthdays in this way.
Bday roll46_1
Jim & Tess

How do you celebrate your birthday ?


  1. We will have to add rolling to our birthday traditions which usually include rock gardening or surfing on the Mendocino Coast and mountain biking in the redwoods.

    Happy Birthday - and many more!!!

  2. Hi Cate
    What a playground you have! Your birthday activities sound more like an adventure race than a celebration ha ha
    Congratulations on the Hockey Stick Roll http://womanonwater.blogspot.com/2010/10/hockey-stick-roll.html
    Thanks for the good wishes.

  3. Happy birthday, I guess we will have to start that rolling stuff here too, but I dont know if I can do so many rolls in one go. Better to drink champagne

  4. Great idea! I have a BIG birthday this year, so look forward to a long rolling session in August!

    Beautiful norsaq - lucky you and Happy Birthday!

  5. Thanks for the good wishes Mackayak. You'll be able to use your new JO'B paddle. Enjoy playing!