Want To Fly Over Water? Flyboarding Is New Sports Innovation Worth Trying
"Swing like a dolphin and challenge gravity like Iron Man." That's what Flyboard Magazine promises for new flyboarders. Invented in 2011, by Franky Zapata, Flyboarding is a sport that allows you to fly above the water, doing flips and turns (once you've mastered the throttle and gathered your balance), and dive down into it only to thrust yourself out again back into the air. Sounds awesome, huh? Here are the details...
What Is Flyboarding
Think Iron Man. Think Rocket Man. Now think water. Dolphins. High-flying acrobatic stunts. That's Flyboarding. Invented in 2011, by Franky Zapata, Flyboarding utilizes a Flyboard--basically a wakeboard with jets--and your own Personal Watercraft (PWC) to propell you above the water (as high as 35 feet) or underwater (as deep as 35 feet). The Flyboard is attached to the PWC and feeds of its horsepower to power the unit.
The Flyboard made its debut in the 2012 at the jet ski World Championships in China. In 2012, the first Flyboard World Cup was held in Doha, Qatar. The sport requires competitors to perform "figures," or tricks, and those figures are graded on risk taking, technical difficulty, innovation, quality, success, sequences and style. Stephane Prayas of France won the first World Cup.
Flyboarding For You
Before you get all gung ho on Flyboarding, because you've fantasized, since childhood, about being Rocket Man, take a deep breath. The best way to start isn't to go out and spend a small fortune on your own PWC and Flyboard kit. Flyboarding has become a popular recreation at many vacation spots on the water, and you could probably find a Flyboard instructor near you.
With the help of an instructor, you could learn your balance on a Flyboard in as little as 10 minutes. A self-manned flight can take up to an hour to learn, but manning your own flight gives you a lot more freedom. Flyboarders compare the sport to skiing, jet skiing, wake boarding and a couple other sports, and most say that learning to fly is very intuitive. There is no weight limit for Flyboarding, and it doesn't require a lot of strength. You just have to be 18 years old to do it.
The Flyboard and PWC are the two main pieces of equipment flyboarders need. Just be forewarned--this stuff isn't cheap. Franky Zapata's website offers the Flyboard brand Flyboards, but you can also find Jetlev's version, the Aquaboard, on Amazon. You'll also need a personal flotation device, a water sports helmet, isothermal pants, and, if you want to be able to control your own flight, the Electronic Management Kit (EMK). The EMK attaches to your Flyboard's right hand nozzle and allows you to control RPMs (if you don't have an EMK, a second person on the PWC can control the RPMs).
So to answer the question, "Want to try this sport?" is of course you do. Who wouldn't want to be Rocket Man for a couple of hours (unless you're afraid of heights)? However, it may be a sport you try on once only to find it doesn't fit, or you may only be able to have a couple of go's at it on vacation. Whatever the case, for the athlete and water-fanatic, it's definitely something to look into.