A Flyboard is a type of water jetpack attached to a personal water craft (PWC) which supplies propulsion to drive the Flyboard through air and water to perform a sport known as flyboarding. A Flyboard rider stands on a board connected by a long hose to a watercraft. Water is forced under pressure to a pair of boots with jet nozzles underneath which provide thrust for the rider to fly up to 15 metres in the air or to dive headlong through the water.
The Flyboard was invented in spring 2011 by a French watercraft rider, Franky Zapata
. The device was presented to the public for the first time at the jet ski World Championship 2012 in China. After a video was posted on YouTube the product received a lot of attention from people around the world and it was looked at as an incredible new sport phenomenon. Then after around six months the Flyboard was an “unavoidable nautical discipline”. Since its introduction in 2012 the Flyboard has sold around 2500 units.
Two versions of the Flyboard exist: the Flyboard Standard Kit and the Flyboard Pro Rider Kit. The former is a board with hand-held stabilizers, which was the original design. The latter dispenses with the stabilizers.
Purchasing a Flyboard requires completion of a training course and the signing of a liability release form, followed by riding instruction. Courses may cost from $250.00 to $1,000.00. Physical strength is not required to perform the subtle movements necessary to use the device, whereas coordination and balance are important. The equipment is not as hard to use as one may think after watching videos of people demonstrating different stunts and tricks. Proper instruction is key, and once someone follows these then that person can be flying on their Flyboard in no time. It doesn’t take much time to master the basic controls of the Flyboard. There is also no weight limit when using the Flyboard but one must be at least 18 if they would like to ride.
Competitions | Flyboard World Cup Championships 2012
The first Flyboard World Championships took place in Doha, Qatar in October 2012. The finalists were:
- Gold – Stephane Prayas (France)
- Silver – Petter Berglund (Sweden)
- Bronze – Trey Andrews (USA)
Competitions | Flyboard World Cup Championships 2013
The second championships in Doha were held in November 2013, and the finalists were:
- Gold – Suksan Thongthai (Thailand)
- Silver – Cooper Riggs (USA)
- Bronze – Ben Merrell (USA)