Debuting at the jetski World Championship in 2012, flyboarding is an adventure water sport that is yet to fully enter the mainstream.
Nevertheless, word has started to spread the past few years, and you can now participate in 15 minute to one hour long sessions everywhere with a coastline from Scotland to Sydney.
Invented by jetski racer Franky Zapata in Marseille, the sport involves a board – much like a surfboard – which is connected to a jetski via rubber tubing. The ‘flyboard pilot’ then stands on the board and is propelled into the air by powerful jets of water located directly beneath their feet. A water powered jetpack, if you will.
The boarder can rise to heights of 30 feet with his Iron Man style boots and dive back into the water by the same amount. After some practice, backwards somersaults and dolphin dives can also be achieved by those athletic enough.</p>
(Below: Participants at the Flyboard World Cup, Quatar 2013. © Francois Rigaud)
Strength is of little importance and the Flyboard is intuitive and ‘like learning to walk’ according to Zapata, with balance the key factor here. The skills required to ‘fly’ take just 20 minutes for the average person to learn with an instructor and up to an hour without, according to its makers.
Perhaps one of the reasons ultra fun flyboarding hasn’t caught on as quickly as it might have is Zapata’s monopoly on the market; he successfully patented his design before its 2012 launch. Not to mention the relative cost compared to surfing or water skiing: about £4,200 for the standard kit.
But with an average price which is less than a top of the range jet ski, that definitely shouldn’t prevent you from ducking and diving the waves to your heart’s content. It does look rather exhilarating – if a little terrifying – we must admit.
To purchase your own Flyboard kit, visit www.zapata-racing.com/en/distributeurs-zr for a full list of global distributors.