Full Back Layout


A Full Back Layout is the result of the combination of two transitions: a back-to-belly backflip, followed by a belly-to-back backflip and using the entire width of the tunnel to complete the each piece of the move.


A Full Back Layout is the result of the combination of two transitions: a back-to-belly backflip, followed by a belly-to-back backflip. Therefore, being comfortable flying these two transitions is required to learn this skill. The transitions are to be performed while covering the entire tunnel, which entails for the first portion, a brief moment in a head-down orientation. For this reason, being comfortable flying any head-down maneuvers is of course very helpful.


Your objectives in mastering this skill should be the following:

o   Perform a smooth belly-to-back transition over your head, flown across the entire width of the tunnel, while avoiding any sudden, erratic movements (what instructors refer to as “hooking it” or “throwing it”). Flying this maneuver across the entire width of the tunnel means you will find yourself in a head-down orientation for a brief period of time before returning to your belly.

o   Use the momentum of the descent to your belly from the first transition to fly across the tunnel, and begin your transition back to your back. Once again, this is to cover the entire tunnel. Avoid pushing on the wind with your arms to induce the transition. Pushing on the wind does not provide any lift.


When first learning full back layouts, you will begin at a low wind speed while back-flying close to the wall of the tunnel and facing the opposite side. Your instructor could initially be holding on to you to ensure your safety, so make sure you wait for the “thumbs up” before you begin the maneuver. At this point, you will begin to back-fly to the opposite wall while slightly gaining altitude. As you are about to reach the wall, you will perform the transition. A proper layout will require the coordination of multiple body parts: your head, arms, chest, hips, and legs. For this reason this is one of the more difficult moves to master, but then again, nothing worthwhile is ever easy.

Once you find yourself descending back to your belly, use the built-up momentum to fly across the tunnel and begin your transition back to your back. Remember to bring your arms out in front of you for additional lift, rather than relying on the incorrect, instinctual “pushing” on the wind. 

Technique and Drills


There are a few concepts to understand when it comes to back layouts:

o   Your hips control your level during the initial phase while you back-fly across the tunnel. Begin to bring out your hips out to increase the altitude before performing the transition.

o   Your legs control the rotation. Extending your legs will rotate your body to the head-down orientation of the transition. This however, needs to take place in conjunction with proper chest and arm positioning to avoid any unwanted, head-down forward drive.

o   Your arms are your “brakes.” You should aim to have your arms straight in front of you at the level of your belly while you adopt the head-down orientation. As you approach the opposite wall while head-down, start letting go of the brakes, while looking at the net to begin your descent back to your belly. Having your arms out not only act as your brakes, but ensure your chest is not open, or “popped out,” something you don’t want when first learning back layouts.

o   Your chest plays a major role on forward drive as you transition to head-down. If your chest is completely open, usually meaning your arms are further out to your sides, you will have a strong, undesirable forward drive. Be sure to “cup,” or sink in your chest at first.

o   Once you begin the transition, start looking at the net by bringing your chin up, without popping your chest and ensuring your arms stay out in front of you.

o   For the second portion of the Full Back Layout, keep the following in mind:

  • Keep your chin up as you descend from the initial layout, and use the built-up speed to fly across the tunnel.
  • Once you’re about to reach the wall, bring your arms out in front of you, slightly cup your chest and keep you head down to induce the lift necessary for the transition back to your back. As stated before, avoid pushing on the wind with your arms and hands. 

Post-flight questions / suggestions

·      Did you perform the layout while covering the entire width of the tunnel?

·      Were you able to control the layout in a smooth manner, avoiding any sporadic movements?

·      Can you control the speed and level at which you approach the opposite wall in either orientation?

·      What part of your body’s surface area do you think you need to work on? Head? Arms? Chest? Hips? Legs?

·      Can you use the momentum of the descent from the back layout and fly across the entire width of the tunnel on your belly before performing the second transition?

·      Ask your instructor what drills would be most appropriate given your skill level.


As you begin to truly master this skill, you will understand the reason it is such a favorite move. It is just so much fun! You will then start to learn front layouts, and subsequently, how to enter and exit these maneuvers from different positions and situations.

What skill level is next?

Head Up In Face Carve

Head Up In Face carving moves will incorporate each of the individual head up flying skills that you have learned and encompass them all together as one skill set. Carving will be a skill that you often use throughout the dynamic flight progression. The techniques described here will provide you with the information you need to complete this move successfully.