01690 720214

The Bombproof Roll

Course Overview

Five days spent developing your roll into something you know you can depend on. Using our indoor heated rolling pool you will develop the fundamental techniques before heading out onto the rivers to test out your skills.
Then over the week you'll spend time at different white water or salt water venues putting it in to practice, then you'll return to the centre to analyse video footage, correct your faults, work on your weaknesses and build on your strengths in our pool.
A week of challenging paddling focused on developing your roll which will send your confidence soaring.

Experience Required

50% effective roll

Scheduled Dates

Detailed Course Notes

You should be 18 years old to attend this course.

Is it for me?

This course is for anyone who would like to develop their roll into something they can depend on anywhere. You need to have a 50% effective roll in a kayak.

Course Content

We'll start the week by assessing your roll and identify your needs so we can coach you as an individual, then we'll look at the fundamental techniques for rolling in our indoor heated pool before heading outside.

The focus of week will be giving you the opportunity to roll outside. We'll spend lots of time paddling at different venues/rivers where you will get the opportunity to practice your roll in different situations, putting your rolling technique and confidence to the test always under the watchful eye of your coach.

Whilst out and about your coach will take video footage, which they will analyse to help improve your roll and make it more dependable by using it to work on any faults and weaknesses. Pool sessions will be included through the week to help work on specific problems and to give you extra practice time.

What's Included In The Price?

Whether you choose to stay with us or you have alternative accommodation nearby, the following items are included in the total cost.

    Free tea, coffee or selected hot drinks for the duration of your visit
    Afternoon tea & homemade cakes
    Kayak or canoe hire
    Secure boat storage (if you choose to bring your own boat)
    Equipment hire
    Free (low-speed) wifi access in the bar & dining room
    In course transport
    Railway station pick up & drop off (please call to arrange)
    Parking with CCTV surveillance
    Free use of climbing wall, gym, MTB skills course & rolling pool

    If you choose to stay with us, these items are also included in the total cost:

    Accommodation the night before your course
    Accommodation during your course
    Breakfast & evening meal
    Bar Lunch/packed lunch

Accommodation For This Course

Plas y Brenin Main House

Your course is based at Plas y Brenin, The National Mountain Sports Centre in Capel Curig, North Wales, LL24 0ET.

If you are staying with us,

If you have chosen to add accommodation onto this course or holiday it is usually in the main house in a comfy en-suite room (normally shared with another guest). Each room has tea and coffee making facilities and all bed linen and towels are provided.

This includes accommodation the night before your first day. Your room will be available from 6pm. On your last day you will need to vacate your room by 10am. It is sometimes possible to arrange to stay an extra night please phone 01690 720214 for availability and cost.

Secure storage facilities, showers and toilets are available for you to use on your departure day once you have checked out of your room should you need them, please ask at reception.

Also included, if you chosen to add accommodation, are all your meals - breakfast, packed lunch, afternoon tea and freshly baked cakes and a three course evening meal. Please bear in mind an evening meal is not provided on the night before your course or on the last day of your course but our bar will be serving meals from 7.00pm until 8.45pm.

If you are are not staying with us but coming in each day,

If you choose to come in daily for your course or holiday you will need to arrive ready for a 9am welcome talk on the first day. For the rest of your course or holiday you will need to be here for 9.15am. We return from a full day of activity, usually in time for tea and cakes at 5pm (included).

There are more activities from 5.30 - 6.30 on some days of your course or holiday, please check on the first day.

For most of our awards and qualification courses there will be further evening sessions on some days which you need to attend, please check on the first day.

There is an 8pm adventure talk by one of our coaches on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday evenings which you are welcome to come to. Find out more about the upcoming talks here.

On the final day you will be finished by 5pm.

For courses based on-site our bar will be serving lunches from 12pm until 2pm or you are welcome to bring a packed lunch.

If your course is based away from the centre then you will need to bring a packed lunch with you. Each evening our bar serves evening meals from 7pm until 8.45pm if you wish to eat here.

You can arrange to have any of the following meals - breakfast, packed lunch and a three course centre dinner, by contacting our customer services team on 01690 720214 or

follow this link for more details

What Equipment Do You Need To Bring?

  • Personal paddling clothing

  • Footwear to cope with bank and boat

  • Swimming costume/trunks

  • Warm clothes for when you get off the water

  • Warm hat, gloves, neck gaiter/buff, sun hat

  • Towel

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers

  • Bouyancy aid

  • Helmet

  • Drinks bottle

  • Flask

  • Lunch bag/box

  • Personal first aid kit

  • High factor sun screen

  • Midge repellant

  • Large kit bag (for wet paddling kit)

  • Notebook and pen

  • Dry bag

  • Boat (it must be very clean both inside and out if you wish to use it in our pool)

  • Paddle

  • Spraydeck

  • Throwline

  • Goggles

  • Noseclip/ear plugs if you use them

The following items are available for you to borrow from our equipment stores free of charge so you don't need to rush out and buy them.

  • Wetsuit

  • Paddling cag

  • Buoyancy aid

  • Helmet

  • Dry bag

  • Large kit bag (for wet paddling kit)

  • Boat

  • Paddle

  • Spraydeck

Our equipment stores stock wetsuits socks, noseclips and ear plugs which you can purchase if you find you need them during your course

Customer Reviews For This Course

Tough going... but worth it :o)


I booked into this course because although I had a roll that got me up on flat water 90% of the time, I had never actually used it in anger because I always automatically pulled the cord without actually attempting to roll - this is what I really wanted to sort out. What I really did not want was for the coach to mess about with my C-to-C, because I had a sneaking suspicion that I would be told I would be much better with a sweep, as a zillion people had told me before. Well, the reason I had learned the C-to-C was that I simply couldn't orientate myself at all when upside down - my friend called me 'kayak dyslexic' - and the C-to-C neatly sidestepped all that.

So naturally, I was hacked off when I realised that yep, this course was indeed going to reteach me my roll. Then I was in denial about the fact that I really was going to spend the next five days unlearning my roll. Then I tried bargaining, telling myself I could get away with C-to-Cing in the meantime, or go back to it later. However, by day two, I had pretty much accepted that I was going to have to get to grips with learning this new roll, which was just as well because by that point I was in the no man's land between losing my C-to-C and getting the roll I needed to get. In fact, I'd pretty much gone through most of the stages of bereavement before things started clicking at the end of day three.

The sheer amount of time spent upside down was excellent, and so (though it pains me to say it) was using the 'remedial paddle' - every time Andy made me use it, it felt like a punishment, but it was really valuable for getting the feeling of where the paddle was meant to be above the water.

It was cracking what I was meant to do with my wrists, at what time, to change the feather of the blade that really made the difference: also realising that what worked with me was having almost a second set-up under the water - four things I had to remember to do while upside down, before I tried to get up, things I had eeked out of the course, which wouldn't necessarily work for everyone, but worked for me.

And I did, indeed, come away with a brand new roll. It's shaky still, not burnt into the physical memory, and I need to practice until it's natural, but I am, cautiously. very very pleased.

I cannot praise Andy Butler highly enough, for consistency, observance, patience, excellent teaching and cheerfulness in the face of major narkiness.

The Bombproof Roll is not a holiday. It's basically boot camp for people who have rolls with issues, and it's physically, mentally and emotionally draining. It's also ridiculously rewarding if you can make it work for you, and even if it doesn't entirely click, you come away knowing exactly what you need to do, and where you need to go. I would recommend it to anyone who feels their roll is in the last chance saloon - just be prepared to let your old roll go!



The Bombproof Roll course was everything I expected and more. Having started the week with a roll that sometimes worked and sometimes didn't, I came away at the end of the course with a solid white water roll and, more importantly I think, an understanding of WHY my original roll wasn't working, with ways to correct this when my technique gets sloppy. We were also given some great ideas for practising our rolls and progressing with our rolling.
The course instructors were friendly, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, supportive and patient: they pushed us when they could see it would do us good, but not so much that we'd get frustrated. The course participants had a range of abilities, but no one ever felt excluded and no one was left behind. Facilities were great, as you'd expect: we spent a few days in the rolling pool at Plas y Brenin and a couple of days on the River Dee at Llangollen, with plenty of different boats and paddles to try if you wanted.
Accommodation and food were fantastic: lovely meals (huge portions if you wanted), clean and comfortable rooms, and a great bar with some nice beers! All the Plas y Brenin staff were very friendly and helpful.
Overall, an absolutely fantastic week - highly recommended!

Excellent Course

Paul Wilson

The course was excellent, couldn't have asked for more. Instructors were good humoured, patient and provided good technical feedback.
Accommodation good.
Food could have been better. Veggie choices at breakfast were very limited.
The dining arrangement with the long benches felt very old fashioned/institutionalized. I was at Glenmore Lodge recently and the round tables there were great for group interaction.
Just being at PYB with it's wonderful setting is a joy.
Paul Wilson

Highly recommended

Sarah Coomber

To nick a line from Guinness 'I'm probably the world's worst roller'! Totally sure there's some poor soul out there having an even harder time learning this but it doesn't help :) Andy was absolutely fantastic. He took us through all the techniques we needed to roll reliably and continue to improve our rolls in the future.
Started in the pool with some fun and games which were really about learning what we could do. Tried a roll which actually ended upright. Then we all got to work taking our rolls apart with the inevitable and sometimes funny results. Some paddle floats, a lot of rescues and a bit of swimming later we got to see ourselves on video.

I am for certain my own worst enemy when rolling so Andy did an amazing job of keeping me positive and moving forward. I can't say I managed a moving water roll but I did manage practice ones outside and only bailed once which is really unusual for me.

Loads to work on but I can roll.

Just the Ticket

Ian Dann

The course probably needs re-naming, this course does not only take you through rolling you Kayak in a moving water environment, but also teaches you about reading the water, and making best use of the conditions to make progress.
Our coach made you at ease in the conditions, making you believe you could achieve the best from your paddling.
also our coach managed to tailor the coaching to each of us in the group
Thanks to Chris our coach, and to my colleagues in paddling for the duration of the course Graham, Pat and Gordon.

A Week of Firsts

Emma Foxley

I was slightly concerned that the course was a geared up to tweak those with a current moving water roll into a bombproof version. A call to PYB prior to booking help clarify the prerequisite.

My group had 4 people with varying aspirations and standards in their rolling success rates, one sided or both etc. That we all got very individualised coaching and guidance was a credit to our instructor, James.

As a slow learner once underwater or stressed by the environment I’ve been looking for help turn a pool set up roll, with some dodgy habits, into something I would be willing to try in unplanned circumstances. It seemed I had no natural inclination to try to roll and the swims as a result were holding my paddling back, bruising me mentally and physically. My initial hope, on booking, was that by the end of 5 days spent in and out of water the course would help me rewire my very strong desire to bail no matter what. If at the end I could come away with an inclination to try and roll it would be a huge step. As it turned out the week delivered so much than that.

We had a solid first day in the pool, then some outdoor play mixed up with smaller sessions in the pool. The mix worked well for me as pool alone I found tiring and then potentially frustrating with no escape when it didn’t go so well. The thought of playing was also a big step as it’s something I generally avoid it as swimming /draining boats has little appeal. Turns out in the right environment it can be fun.

My breakthrough day came on Thursday. That morning we had agreed on a quick hour in the pool with a shorter day outside at Mile End Mill after. In that pool session working with James on some of my underwater confidence areas turned out to be good preparation for the river session. Later, on the Dee was my first ever attempted to roll unplanned. A big moment. That would have been good enough for the week. But two unplanned rolls later that day and Friday, with tries on all the other capsizes just capped everything off. I could not have asked for anything more out of the week.

Since returning home I’ve continued to hit new firsts; playing with the risk of a capsize on some easy water. First ever attempts and successful rolls on Lee Valley Legacy course, previously a nemesis environment I wasn’t keen to return to. I’m aware it’s still a work in progress, with practice required and as ever the head game needing most work. At some point I may learn to dwell upside down long enough for an eskimo rescue or succeed with a high brace. But I’ve come away with new tools to work on what I wanted to, and am also aware I need to employ these in manageable chunks in places that won’t stress me.

I would strongly recommend the course. Having gone on clubmate’s recommendation to me it was everything I thought it would be, and more.

Just keep Rolling along

Neil Jordan

This is the course if you want to consolidate your roll and/or take it to the next level. Expect to spend a couple of days out of the 5 in the pool and the rest of the time out in the rivers or the surf. We combined rolling with great whitewater days on the Llugwy and the Dee.
Chris Evans, our coach, was brilliant helping us individually with our rolls and also our whitewater paddling. He was unfailingly enthusiastic even when standing in the chilly water of the Dee in a leaking drysuit!!
Just a warning that the course is intense and both physically and mentally tiring so anything you can do to ensure you arrive with a good level of fitness and flexibility is going to help you get the most out of your time.

Invaluable and fun!

Paula Bates

This course is excellent, it has taken my paddling to another level giving me the confidence to go into water I would have avoided previously, with the luxury of 2 instructors we all gotplenty of individual instruction. The instructors were, as always at PYB patient and understanding, this course is exhausting and worth every ounce of energy as well as the cost. Thanks Jake, Chris and Pete.

Underwater Kayaking

Andrew Firth

A quick review of ‘The Bombproof Roll’ course
There were five students on the course and throughout the week instruction was shared between Pete, Jake and Chris. All brought something different to the party and provided excellent instruction.
The first day was spent mostly in the pool moving out to the lake in the late afternoon. We had our rolls analysed and were given tips to improve where required.
During the pool sessions our rolls were filmed so we could be shown where we were going wrong and how to improve.
The rest of the week was spent in progressively more challenging environments putting our rolls through their paces, often in anger. This was interspersed with practicing other skills. Venues included The Dee, Four Mile Bridge and The Tryweryn.
The course was varied, fun and I certainly took a lot away from it and cannot wait to return for another instalment.
The accommodation whilst basic is clean and comfortable. The other facilities are excellent particularly the drying rooms. I never once had to put wet kit on in the morning.
We had the use of the rolling pool in the evenings if required although nobody on the course had the surplus energy to take advantage of this.
The catering was varied and appetising and to be fair there was more food than I could eat. Somehow I actually managed to put weight on through the week.
In Summary, do I have a Bombproof Roll?
Probably not, although it is hugely improved. My first instinct now is to attempt to roll before swimming. I also have the confidence to practice my roll away from the pool environment.
I would thoroughly recommend this course.

The course was excellent

Jane Hitchings

Please pass on to our wonderful instructors, Pete Catterall, Jake Holland and Chris Evans, that the course was excellent. It met all of my expectations and more. It has built my confidence so much that I ran the Upper Dart this morning, for the first time this season and I actually slept the night before instead of lying awake worrying and I didn't come out my boat once. In fact I didn't need to roll in anger but played on the waves and practiced rolling. I even ran Euthanasia falls on river left which I have never done before and the smile never left my face. The course has deffinately taken my kayaking up to the next level and I am so grateful. Did Jake get his level 5 coach qualification? And if he did , did he enjoy the champagne? Whenever I do a " stern squeeze" I think of him! The course was varied, interesting, demanding and it delivered. PYB was brilliant, the food the rooms the helpful staff , everything about it. THANK YOU! Jane Hitchings

The proof of the pudding

Andy Waddington

is in the eating. So, though this course was back in May (it's now August), I didn't really expect to have had a big enough sample of real-life capsizes to make an assessment of whether the course had worked for me for a year or so. In fact, the course was something of a last-ditch attempt to boost my self-belief after well over a decade of paddling. A career total (on rivers) of 43 rolls out of 192 capsizes (approx) with a roll which was, on a good day in the last couple of years, up to about 50% success and never with more than two attempts after a capsize. This in advance of a trip to paddle the White Nile in Uganda, which was going to be no fun at all if I kept swimming... The good news, for this review, is that the trip produced 26 capsizes over two weeks in water varying from the bouncy run-out from a chunky playwave (not unlike Stanley), to the middle of big wave trains in huge volume rapids, which is probably an adequate sample size to attach some significance to the result.

Result..., oh, you want results ? OK, 20 rolls out of 26 capsizes, with several rolls on the third attempt. Better than 75% on water I would have been terrified of only a short while ago. Partly I can put this down to a thinner buoyancy aid and lighter clothing (it's warm!) giving me more freedom of movement. Partly I can put it down to making the boat fit better. But mostly it is down to the head - if you believe you can roll, you are going to roll more often, and if you roll more often, you are going to believe you can roll.

This is what the course achieved for me. I'd been on a two-day rolling reconstruction course before, and in the pool I was rolling as well or better than anyone on the course. But we never made it outside onto cold, moving, peat-stained water with rocks and other unknowns. My real-world roll didn't improve detectably on that course. But Chris' bombproof rolling course was different. The pool sessions were there, much of the indoor work was similar (except I didn't bring a sea kayak:), but this was all about doing it in real conditions. In the pool outside the centre, at Four Mile bridge as the tide built, at Stanley embankment with its huge volume and massive array of boils, and on rivers, in between bits of coaching on how not to need to roll in the first place.

It wasn't all success - I never actually rolled up at Stanley because it goes dark under the bridge and I tried to wait until I could see again. I didn't get on well in my river-running Ammo, and got thoroughly demoralised swimming on the Glaslyn. Had I done this review on the last day of the course, I'm not sure I would have been positive at all, even though it had all been fun and good experience. But by the end of the course I was rolling enough, especially in the Flirt I would be taking to Uganda, that the transition in my head had been made. I did five more UK rivers before the trip, had four capsizes and maintained 50% success. But I could see excuses for the failures (testing a tall camera pole on the back of the boat for one, and having the paddle knocked out of my hands for another) and the two successes felt better, and probably in harder water, than I would have expected to roll before.

In Uganda a couple of early swims (two out of the first three capsizes) didn't bode well, but then as I got more relaxed in the big water Chris' teaching kicked in and I rolled eleven times in a row before the next swim. Two swims were down to being dead knackered at the end of a long day, and another from cocking up the line and spending a long time being worked in a huge hole (where I would have pulled my deck instantly a few months ago) before failing to roll after three tries way downstream. Then more successes - six rolls out of seven capsizes on two different runs of Day 2 (rolling in Kalagala twice, Vengeance twice, Hair of the Dog once, and an unnamed playwave once) with the only swim caused by capsizing after rolling up straight into a stopper without getting my breath on Vengeance. A few more rolls below Nile Special finished the trip. Since being back in the UK, the record is 100% (OK, this isn't statistically significant - only 1 roll on 1 river:--).

What I am now finding is that instead of waiting for the water to flatten off before trying to roll, and still often failing on the first go, I was starting to set up and try at once, and sometimes come up. I was managing to grab a breath, and making more tries before giving up, and, above all, I was believing that it was going to happen.

Three months on, and I can definitely give you five stars.

Don't know if I can come back and edit this to post a link to some video, so go to http://www.swaledaleoutdoorclub.org.uk/canoeing/canoeing-previous-river-trips/818-n.html where there will eventually be links to video of the trip and you can be damn sure this will feature me rolling up in big water !!


Challenging but well worth it


Excellent course, you may not be "bombproof" at the end of the week but you'll be a lot more confident and you'll know what you need to do to get there.

Throw yourself into it, Chris will be there if you need him!

Confidence has massively improved

Mary Waddington

This was the course I'd been looking for. Chris was a star, he took us through a progression from rolling in the pool to rolling outside in increasingly challenging places.
My self confidence has massively improved as a result of this course.
Best bit, Stanley...

Rolling in the Real World

Sue Foster

A fantastic course with an excellent instructor.

I participated in the first Bombproof Roll course in May 2012. The instructor, Chris Evans, had come up with the idea for the course and we were his first guinea pigs. But you would never have known it -- the course was as smoothly delivered as if Chris had done it ten times already. As the course description says, the object of the course is to improve your technique and build confidence in your white water roll. In my case, that mean moving from a passable, but flawed, pool roll that usually worked (in a nice, warm, inherently safe pool environment) to something that I could rely on to get right side up on the river. It also meant changing my internal programming from going immediately for the grab loop when I capsized unexpectedly (Aaack! Under water! Rocks! GET OUT NOW!) to going reflexively into my set-up position and trying for a roll.

Throughout the course, Chris provided a steady stream of challenges, always with appropriate consideration for safety, to create a great environment for improving my pool roll and taking it into the real world. He took us through a well-planned progression from pool, to rolling in an eddy, rolling in stronger current, then in really strong swirly current.

Chris broke up our rolling-focused sessions with some fun paddles on local rivers where we worked on general paddling skills and river reading. Those trips gave rise to some unplanned capsizes and a chance for spontaneous rolling work.

My best experience on the course happened on the final afternoon and was completely unplanned. I clipped a rock on a rapid above a drop, capsized, rolled up, and found myself pointing upstream and unable to make my line to the main drop on river left. Worse, I was flushing backwards towards a narrow twisting drop on river right that I had already identified when inspecting the rapid as A BAD PLACE TO BE. I went stern-first down the narrow twisting drop, which was going surprising well until my boat hit a rock near the bottom and I went over again. I set up, swept out, flicked, and found myself upright next to Chris, who was providing safety cover in the pool below the drop. Not too bad for someone who had made only one in three rolls in the rolling pool on the first day of the course -- and a real testament to Chris's excellent coaching and course concept. My rolling technique had improved over the week, but the fundamental change was really in my mind game. I ended the course knowing from experience that I could roll in various conditions -- experience that could have taken me years to build up by happenstance capsizes, but which I had acquired in a week thanks to this course.

The rolling analysis, specific pointers, progression through increasingly difficult moving water, encouragement and, critically, the safety net that Chris had provided for my attempts had left me with a functional roll that was there when I needed it. It’s still not perfect, but I can go off now and re-train to correct my bad habit of letting my pivot arm go up in the air, and I know what I need to do to train my off-side properly.

Will I ever swim again? Of course I will. But mostly, I’ll roll. And I’ll be a lot more relaxed and open to new challenges as I move on with the next phase of my development as a paddler: getting better at staying up in the first place.

Not found what you were looking for?

You can hire one of our coaches instructors or guides from only £250 per day. They'll tailor the day to suit your aims and aspirations perfectly.
You can enjoy one to one coaching for that cost or if you get together as a group, depending on the activity, you can split that cost between up to 6 of you. If you are a group we can run any of our courses on a date that suits you and your friends. Or you could just write your own agenda for a week or weekend and we'll price it up for you - with or without accommodation. What's more, just like out normal course fees, our private instructor hire charge covers all your equipment too. Click on the link below to fill in a request form and one of our coaches will call you back (or e-mail if you'd prefer) to discuss things in detail with you.

Fill in a Callback Form

Other Courses you should consider?

Performance White Water Kayaking

Also consider this

Rolling Clinic

Also consider this

White Water Safety & Rescue

Also consider this

Got A Date Available - Need An Adventure To Match?

Contact our team on 01690 720214 or email - they will be happy to help you find something perfect.

Adventure Sports
Coaching Conference

Adventure Sports Coaching ConferenceOur inaugural Adventure Sports Coaching Conference will seek to explore the role of coach developers in adventure sports performance.


Christmas and New YearOn behalf of all the team at Plas y Brenin, we would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a H....


Scottish Winter Courses 2018Starting January 2018, our Scottish Winter courses are timed to make the most of the incredible wint....


Winter WarmersAs the nights begin to draw in and the temperature starts to drop, Plas y Brenin are pleased to offe....


Peak Performance For Plas y Brenin Paddling TeamWe are delighted to announce that we've launched an exciting new partnership with kayak clothing man....


BMC Women Outdoors Week 5-15 Aug 2017Come and get active for the BMC's Women Outdoors Week here at Plas y Brenin. We have talks, activiti....

What's On In Our bar?

Our friendly and lively bar is open to the public. From talks and lectures to film nights and live music, there's always something going on. Find out what's coming up next here

Adventure Sport
Summer Camps (Age 12-17)

Summmer Camps For Young People Aged 12-17Young climbers, mountaineers, paddlers and mtb riders aged 12-17. Develop your outdoor skills with our top coaches on one of our residential summer camps.

Enhanced Learning Credits

Enhanced Learning CreditsThe Enhanced Learning Credit Administration Service offers funding for armed forces personnel. Plas y Brenin is able to accept ELCAS funding for a few specific non residential courses.

Weather Forecast, Tides and Surf Conditions

Find out what the weather's doing in North Wales over the next five days.

Adventure Map

Working alongside UCLan
to educate
outdoor professionals

University Of Central LancashireFind out how we are working with one of the country's top universities to develop lasting careers in the outdoors.