MacKenzie Reversal - A first try

I don't usually post descriptions about AFS moves but I had a lot of fun learning (and relearning) reversals so I thought it might be of some interest to others if I provided my learning path.


Smoothly and efficiently reverse seating direction in the canoe. I would recommend starting with a cross axle as the initial starting point 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.

Steps (using cross axle to start) to complete a reversal:

  1. Start in a seated wide kneeling position
  2. Lift your on-side knee (slide foot around under body, while raising knee). A wide kneel is important to leave space for this movement.
  3. Slide off side foot under seat and point knee diagonally out to the off-side. Unlike a transverse kneel where you may be further down the boat keep knee close to the seat to leave room for reversal.
  4. Use a straight through on-side stroke, or a slight sweep or stern draw, to initiated offside turn.
  5. Rotate raised knee down to the off side, right next to other knee (pointing sideways) AT THE SAME TIME - pass paddle feathered with power face up across the boat, rotate body, and go into high-transverse cross kneel
  6. Plant the paddle in running draw for a cross axle and hold. You are free to do a cross Christie, or even just level paddling.
  7. Continue cross axle to completion
  8. Rotate body to face stern of canoe, AT THE SAME TIME - slice paddle forward and pass it feathered over canoe (power face down), slide foot to point off-side knee forward, keep offside knee in chine to allow for other foot (later)
  9. Lower body to seat, at the same time lifting the onside knee.
  10. Slide foot of onside (raised knee) under body to go back into a seated wide kneeling position.



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 onside axle, check 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.

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June 18, 2019