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Team Rolling

Team rolling brings in a different sort of challenge to the rolling competition. During the individual rolling you get two tries for each roll, per side, as you move through all the rolls. In the team rolling, the whole team has to do the same roll, at the same time, on the same side. If one team member misses the roll, the whole team has to do the roll a second time.

Greenlander rolling team - sculling

Greenlander rolling team - behind the head reverse sweep

This time around, the men started first, as the judges didn’t realize the US had both a female and a male team participating. It turned out that we were the only female rolling team, there was no Greenlander rolling team of women! We waited our turn and watched the men rolling.

Greenlander rolling team - brick roll

There was great debate about who would be on the International mens team until Richard decided he’d try rolling as part of the team. They didn’t have much time beforehand to coordinate what rolls they could all do so they were figuring it out on the water, where they made a very colorful team with Richard in the yellow kayak, Marcel in blue, and Dubside in gray.



Unfortunately, by figuring it out on the water they realized a bit late that Richard and Marcel have different “off-side” rolls. While one has a strong roll starting on the left, the other has a strong roll on the right! Since you have to go over on the same side at the same time, it became a challenge when they got to rolls where they could only do a roll on one side. Essentially, they had to skip a number of rolls they could only do on one side since their strong sides were opposites.

In one respect, this was good news for Dubside. He was using a sealskin tuilik for the team competition and he quickly learned that they don’t provide as much insulation as the neoprene tuiliks do. He was apparently freezing and was happy to end the rolling sooner than expected!


After the guys were finished, our female team paddled out for our turn. This team was me, Jenny, and McKinley. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures since I was on the water and the guys were just getting off the water, so I didn’t hand my camera to anyone.

Watching the Greenlander men roll, we saw how they seemed to work with a leader who would yell ap (yes) and then the whole team would go over for the roll. We decided that we’d follow their lead and I’d yell ap for each turn we’d take.

I had my roll list again and used it to communicate with our team as we moved through the roll list and did the ones that all three of us could do. We had a bit of an audience and we got a number of cheers as we progressed to some of the more difficult roles.

Again, this was a different type of challenge working with a team. Occasionally one of us would miss a roll. In doing the second attempt, sometimes a different person on the team missed the roll the second time! Imagine the frustration knowing that you all succeeded in the roll at least once but that you don’t get any points since you didn’t all complete the roll on the same attempt. It was also exhausting having to do extra rolls in the frigid water.

I again was trying my Greenlandic, beyond just using ap for “go,” and I think there were a number of people amused by my pronunciations yet again. It put a smile on my face though. Richard may have some video of us rolling, and potentially my poor pronunciations. If he has it and posts it I'll add a link to share it.

Knowing that McKinley can do more rolls than us we tried to encourage her to do some extra rolls but she wanted to stick with what the team could do. However, in the end, we did get her to demonstrate her kayak swimming: she flips the kayak over on top of her and does a bit of a doggy paddle with her head out of the water to swim a little distance.

I suppose by being the only female team competing in the team rolling we essentially won this event. However, we soon learned that there were no awards for our team. In the past competitions there are usually awards for the international teams. Typically there are a few more countries represented, but our US team essentially made up the entire international category. We still aren’t entirely sure why things were changed, but in the end, no awards were given to any of our team members; instead we were viewed as participants in the competition.

While it would have been cool to get to take home one medal (in the past, they haven’t always let people keep them) I can’t complain about not being given awards. Every day was an amazing cultural experience, and it was tons of fun to watch the kids get their awards.

Mona with awards


And a couple of the women would often do cheers and rolls when their kids won. I think Richard has some video of some of this that I’ll link to when it is up. Here is a photo of two moms rolling together as their kids look on.


This day also included more ropes, but I’m going to save that for another post. For all photos, including many more awards photos (I tried to take a photo of every award presented) go to: http://s331.photobucket.com/albums/l452/kayakgrrl1/Greenland/?albumview=slideshow
And I’ll end with one favorite photo – tuiliks drying at the end of the day:

drying tuiliks