McNasty tutorial

Bryan Kirk, freestyle champion, teaches how to perform a McNasty in a hole. The McNasty is a variation of the loop like the Space Godzilla and the Phonix Monkey.

Created by Bryan Kirk

These days the loop, or front flip, is the most popular trick in the book for the current crop of playboats. There are a few variations of the loop, such as the Space Godzilla, Phonix Monkey(360-Flip), and the Mcnasty. Dan Gavere called the Mcnasty a 180-Flip while announcing at the Reno Whitewater Fest a few years back - and I thought that described the move perfectly. 

A Mcnasty is a loop initiated from a back surf, or in a steeper hole, a back blast. It is one of the highest-scoring moves in competitions these days, and is a stepping stone for the even-more-advanced Phonix Monkey, which is a cross-bow initiated 360 into a loop.

As is the case for every successful freestyle move, a good setup and initiation is key to have any hope of the move being completed. For the Mcnasty to happen in a hole, the first step is to initiate a back blast with your bow under the foam pile. First, get into a side surf, keep your elbows at 90 degrees(as with most tricks) and wind up your torso so that your paddle is next to and parallel with the downstream sidewall of your boat. Use your core strength to unwind into a back sweep, lean forward, and push your bow under the foam pile. You'll end up in a back blast with your hull at the same angle as the incoming green water. Practice establishing a back blast a few times until you're consistent at it.

In the back blast, quickly switch from a push stroke to a pulling stroke next to your bow:

McNasty tutorial, first step

As soon as you've established a back blast, immediately switch paddle blades and place your pulling stroke next to(touching) your bow. You will continue to pull on this stroke until you're facing upstream and jump into the loop. Here is the tricky part - the edging: in this example I am pulling with my left blade next to my bow while staying forward and dropping my right bow edge. This allows the bow to slice slightly underwater and rotate upstream and into the loop initiation.

Keep pulling, stay forward, and slightly drop your right bow edge:

McNasty tutorial, second step

Keep pulling as your bow rotates upstream. Don't drop too much edge. You want your bow to stay just barely under the green water to get good pop(this example shows slightly too much edge dropped):

McNasty tutorial, third step

When you're almost facing upstream you and feel your bow load, lift your paddle out and jump for the loop:

McNasty tutorial, forth step

Focus on jumping straight upstream to keep the loop straight:

McNasty tutorial, fifth step

Kick your legs down, and give a finishing stroke to keep the boat straight. In this loop I needed a left stroke to finish the Mcnasty as straight as possible:

McNasty tutorial, sixth step

Kick your legs down hard and come up paddling to keep the trick retentive:

McNasty tutorial, seventh step

This example was done in the Lawson Hole in Colorado a few summers ago. Thanks to Kelsey Thompson for taking the shots.


If you feel like you're falling on your head or your loops are crooked, you are giving too much edge while rotating into the loop. This causes your bow to go too deep too early and the move ends abruptly with a front flop. Pull as long as possible, keep your bow barely under the green water, and don't lift your paddle out to jump too early! This trick took me a while to get consistent at, so don't get discouraged if you don't get perfect Mcnasties for a while. Keep at it, remember these tips, and practice makes perfect!