Belly carving, is a mix of skills that pull from everything that you have learned as a competent belly flyer, combining them together carefully to create a balanced and smooth circular motion around the tunnel. For this skill to be considered complete, you will learn and become competent at carving, while belly flying with your head close to the center and also with your head close to the tunnel wall. These skills will be the core abilities that you will need for when you wish to begin dynamic flying at slightly higher wind speeds and learning head up and head down carving moves.
Before learning how to belly carve, you will first need to be sure that you are a very comfortable at belly flying, ensuring that you can confidently move in every direction comfortably, without any concern. It will also be helpful to have comfort in flying on your belly while being able to fully rotate your head from one side to the other from a neutral position and then also rotating your head from a neutral, looking forward position, to looking down and slightly behind you all while maintaining the same position within the flight chamber and not drifting toward the tunnel wall. Being confident at moving your head from side to side and back and forth and understanding how to control yourself will help in overall control while learning to carve.
Finally for the head up or out facing belly carving maneuver, it will be very useful that you have some experience either knee flying and that you are confident flying the belly to back, back flip transition.
Your objectives in mastering this skill should be the following:
o To carve on your belly in a consistent circle around the tunnel with your head toward the center of the tunnel, looking down and behind you.
o To also carve on your belly in a constant circle around the tunnel with your head away from the center, close to the tunnel wall and your knees close to the center.
o Both carving techniques should be done utilizing the correct body positions, with special attention paid to your legs, a long body position when necessary and the correct amount of de-arch in your chest at the appropriate time.
o The carves should be performed in both directions in order to be considered mastered.
Technique and Drills
In order to be successful with this skill, keep these elements in mind:
Carving with head close to the center:
- Begin in a belly flying orientation and start a rotation and slowly work your position as to slightly raise your body from a horizontal orientation.
- In the beginning, your Instructor may support you or act as a reference point to help you throughout the maneuver.
- Aim to master the understanding of how to control the speed of the rotation and building correct body position habits.
- Monitor the position of your hips, raising them (slight de-arch) as the rotation begins to pick up speed and then lowering them as you slow to stop.
- When you come to a stop, plan to remain the same distance from the center and still facing the center to either begin again in the same direction or start a rotation in the opposite direction.
Carving with head close to the wall:
- Begin in a belly flying orientation and start a rotation and slowly work your position as to slightly raise your body from a horizontal orientation (head high)
- Initially your position will be mainly flat and focusing on learning the technique with your upper body to create the majority of the drive for the rotation around your knees.
- As you become comfortable controlling a flat rotation, you will begin to increase the speed of the rotation along with the pitch of your body closer to a knee flying position.
- Continue to manage the position of your body in order to balance the correct inputs to create a smooth, controlled carving motion.
- When you come to a stop, plan to remain the same distance from the center, still with your head close to the wall to either begin again in the same direction or start a rotation in the opposite direction.
Post-flight questions / suggestions
· Were you able to maintain the correct body position?
· Did you maintain a consistent level and shape of the carve?
· Are you comfortable carving in both directions at the appropriate wind speed?
Now that you are comfortable on your belly carving at slow to moderate wind speeds, with a confident understanding of both belly carving techniques, you will next, if you haven’t begun already begin to learn the same low speed skill, back carving. If you have already learning these two skills simultaneously, then you may begin to learn high wind speed head up carving both in-face and out-face prior to learning head down high wind speed carves.
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.