design, technology & inspiration
Just when you think extreme sports cannot get any crazier or more exciting along comes another one – This one however does not involve falling from extreme heights or flying around in special suits, but allows the athlete to frolic and perform crazy stunts in the water! Welcome to Flyboarding!
While called Flyboard, the ingenious invention is not technically a board, but a simple device made up of a long hose connected to a pair of jet boots and two hand held stabilizers. To get going, the user simply straps on the jet boots and attaches the other end of the hose to the motor of a powerful Jet Ski. As the Jet Ski starts up, the robust stream of water it creates is channeled into the long hose, which in turn, propels the human at the other end high up into the sky and allows him/her to perform a variety of maneuvers like flips and spins. The two hand-held stabilizers help keep the flyer in control of the flight at all times.
As the water drains out, the Flyboard and the attached human leap back into the water – headfirst, only to rise again with the next powerful stream of water. While it looks and sounds dangerous, the manufacturer maintains that it is very intuitiveand that once the user gets the hang of it, he/she can fly as high as 30ft. and even, perform backward somersaults.
Invented by French Jet Ski Racing champion Frank Zapata, just a year ago, Flyboarding has resonated with fans so rapidly that on October 19th and 20th, 50 eager Flyboarders from 21 countries arrived in Doha, Qatar to compete in the first World Championships.
After an intense first day of competition, only 32 were allowed into the second round, a group that was further whittled down to the top 16, then 8 and then, the final three. While all were good, it was French Freestyler Stephane Prayas that impressed the judges the most with his superb technical skills. Sweden’s Peter Berglund came in second followed by Trey Andrews from the USA.
The highlight of the event was when Frank Zapata, the creator of this crazy machineshowcased his astounding Flyboarding skills in the midst of an aquatic light show. The cheers and the enthusiasm of the crowd made it quite apparent that the next new extreme sport had indeed arrived!
In case you are thinking of putting the Flyboard on your Christmas list, you should be warned that it does cost $6,700 USD and, the Jet Ski is not included!