WSW Technique: How to Do a Backflip

In the latest issue of WingSurfWorld, Chris MacDonald runs you through how to do a backflip!


F-One US team rider, Chris MacDonald, runs you through the trick that most people have probably tried to imagine themselves doing since they started winging.

Photos: @nahoia_kai_productions


My favorite set-up to send flips is the 2.8m F-One Strike, my 530 F-One Escape foil and the 4’2’’ F-One Rocket foilboard. This trick will work best with a wing under four meters in size and a foil under 1000 cm. Any board size under 60 liters will do. Any bigger and it’s a bit too cumbersome to maneuver.


Don’t try your first backflips in super windy conditions, but you do need strong wind.


Before attempting the backflip you’re going to already need some key skills in your pocket. I suggest you learn the frontside 360 before attempting the backflip, because it helps you become comfortable with the wing rotating in the air without you needing to invert your body.


1. Load up with speed and look for a lip. Bend your knees so your feet will stay in the straps better.
2. When approaching the take-off edge upwind at a 45° degree angle. Keep your knees bent and put all of your weight on your back foot. Then comes the stall; this is the most important part of the flip. As you go up into the air point the nose of your board straight up. Aim for the clouds! Hold that position as you gain height and then start the flip just before you hit the apex of your jump. Throw your head back and the wing will spin you around.
3. The inverted stage. At this point you will be spinning fast so start to spot your landing. Arch your back and your board will follow. Keep your arms slightly bent so the wing can move a bit in the wind.
4. Maintaining balance. The wing will scoop under you and start to backwind. This will slow your flip and give you lots of time to spot your landing.
5. The landing. As you are looking down, bring your knees into your chest to finish the rotation. As soon as your board hits the water, pull your wing up really hard to keep it out of the water for a smooth landing.
6. Congrats! You just landed a backflip. The stoke is insane when you land one. As you land make sure to pump straight away so your board doesn’t sink.


  • The straps tend to come off your feet a lot when you’re first trying these. Bending your knees pre-flip can help to really root your foot into the strap.
  • If you keep landing on your stomach because you can’t make a full rotation, try a smaller wing.
  • Good take-off technique is key for a high backflip and you need a foil that comes out of the water very smoothly with very little resistance. That’s why I ride the Escape 530! If things feel sticky and sluggish, it’s likely your foil is too big.