Low speed head down 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 / head down with your head close to the center of the tunnel. 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 down carving moves.
Before learning how to carve on your belly aiming to be head down and out-facing, 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 rotating your head down to look below and 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.
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 behind you toward the outside of the tunnel
o This carving technique should be done utilizing the correct body position, with special attention paid to your hips and legs, a long body position when necessary and the correct amount of de-arch at your hips at the appropriate time
o The carve should be performed in both directions in order to be considered mastered
Preparing for this skill entails being comfortable at flying on your belly at a range of different wind speeds and having a wide range of motion with your body position. Having these capabilites will not only make you a better flyer but it will also give you the confidence to place multiple skills together to create a carving momentum and give you comfort when placing yourself in a position that may seem disorienting.
Technique and Drills
In order to be successful with this skill, keep these elements in mind:
- 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
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?
What skill level is next?
Head Up Out Face (HS)
As you become more comfortable belly carving / out-face carving head up at low wind speeds, it will be at this point, you will increase the wind speed in order to develop a more vertical carving position. The fundementals of what you learn at low speed will mostly apply to this more vertical head up carve. With the wind speed being progressively higher, you will need to progress in to the vertical orientation in stages in order to understand how to control the steeper pitch and faster movements.