I was getting dizzy and closer to my goal but I didn’t know for sure if I hit my target; I had lost count of my rolls.
It has become customary that when one of the senior paddlers in our group celebrates his/her birthday rolls must be performed.
A tradition started by Adventuretess that has gained popularity and is now religiously observed: one must perform a kayak roll for every year he/she celebrates (plus one for good luck).
Concentrating on keeping my rolls going in the rather nippy water I lost count of how many I still had to do.
I could cheat (nobody was really counting, they were all busy busting out their own rolls) but hey, we are an honest bunch and the Birthday Rolls are a serious matter to us.
So our ever ingenius collective mind, fuelled by friendly banter, suddenly came up with the idea to create a “rollometer”
We need something that will count how many revolutions a kayak makes.
Unaware of the existence of such a gizmo I thought that modifying a “step counter” (device used for walking, favoured by seniors) could work for sea kayaking.
I had a step counter laying around (schwag collected at a trade show) that my engineer promptly disassembled and modified.
The step counter has a spring that holds the contact separated. A relatively firm jolt is needed to create the contact and trigger the counter.
When rolling there is no such jolt (as when walking) and the spring had to be de-tuned and made really “soft”.
We disassembled the step counter, re-soldered the spring/contact and luckily everything fit back together again.
Now the counter adds correctly even when simply inverted, not just when jolted.
A waterproof container with a viewing window was needed so it would be easy to see the progress of the rolls. A small clear dry bag (the ones used for waterproofing a cell phone) is used to keep the roll-counter in sight on the kayak's deck so progress can be monitored.
Now there are no ifs or buts anymore; the counter doesn’t lie. I must do all of my rolls or there is no cake for me later :-)