I some fun learning (and relearning) reversals so I thought it might be of some interest to others if I provided my learning path. Turning around in the boat provides some additional options with regard to weighting (and releasing) the stems when doing reverse and cross-reverse moves. How to turn around gracefully and without tipping over is the trick.
I will freely admit that I am not graceful doing these, and I am told that the extra stroke that I put in when not turning the canoe (e.g. running straight) is not correct.
It turns out that what I was shown was apparently a later interpretation of a MacKenzie reversal - I was talking with a mentor this summer (2022) and got some updated information. The original reversal (from Tom MacKenzie) was a quick transition from forward to reverse facing, usually ending in a racing stance without changing the direction of the canoe motion. This reversal would allow for stopping the canoe (forward stroke) or for rear weighting for additional rearward pitch without a seat in the way. What I had been shown originally did involve a turn but there was a paddle placement during the move.
Smoothly and efficiently reverse seating direction in the canoe is the goal. I would recommend starting with a cross axle when first attempting because of onside completion; it is just easier. Use a slippery kneeling pad since it makes moving and sliding knees and feet easier - nylon surface, and pants. I do most of my FS without shoes to avoid catching the mat and I find it more comfortable.
I encourage you to experiment with the above process. Initially start with forward motion, and use a cross axle as part of the transition. After that try an axle, then try out use of Christie or Cross Christie. Although I finished off with forward paddling, with a reversal to reverse paddle, this combination can also be modified as well and is probably more appropriate for continued FS routine as it frees the trailing stem.
When first learning I practised doing an axle and cross-axle with a Transverse high kneel first and then progressed to continuing the reversal. Once I had the reversal successfully completed with a cross-axle I worked on the reversal using an axle.
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June 18, 2019 - updated June 20, 2022.