After years of bopping around on our bellies, Lara and I decided it was time to visit the dark side and check out what the fuss is all about. Knowing that we are not exactly naturals at free flying (proven by a couple of short experiments in the sky), we figured it was probably best to get ourselves a coach. And that is how we found ourselves on a random Monday night in June in front of iFly Orlando. Suits in hand, we met up with coach Tom Baker, signed waivers and got to work. On the menu was starting with the basics – back flying. As Tom explained, having a good grip on back flying builds a safe foundation and drills in the “safety position” for when we are ready to push it further.
The principles of back flying are pretty simple. A handful of 90 degree corners here and there and Bob’s your uncle. The tricky bit is that you are upside down, so everything looks a little off kilter. We did some dirt diving on our backs, drilling in the motions needed to go forward and backwards and make turns. Tom is a fan of doing all that in a controlled manner.
Then it was time to step on inside the windy tube, and give it a go. At first I felt like an upside down bug, but slowly things started to make sense, and before you knew it Tom had us off the net and flying. ON OUR BACKS. It wasn’t the most beautiful back flying you have ever seen (plenty of things to work on) but man, was it fun. We were grinning like fools the entire time. We did forward and backward, turns, side slides (not a part of the coaching program, but that is what happens when your arms or legs don’t do what they are told to!) and practiced transitioning sitting/standing and standing/sitting. FUN FUN FUN.
We plan to go again – that damn wind tunnel is a little addictive – so watch out for the next installment as we give the grippers a break and learn to freefly like the cool kids!