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Take to the Sky

by NWY Staff

Flyboard from Zapata

Nautical Cleat Serving Boards

Kids for decades have hoped that soon, any time now, a real jet pack would be invented and find its way under the Christmas tree. Sadly, technology isn’t quite there yet, but coming close is the Flyboard; the latest invention in water sports. It looks like a snowboard but with a large hose protruding from the center that leads down to the body of water and lets the rider fly through the air dozens of feet up.

Attaching to the stern of a personal water craft (PWC), the Flyboard uses the thrust from the PWC to launch its rider into the air. Water is diverted through the 55’ hose to the board, and then is forcefully projected downward through two nozzles, lifting the board. The attached PWC follows closely behind as its thrust is simply being redirected, meaning you are not tethered to any one spot.

Simply strap your feet onto the board using the built-in boots, swim a distance from your PWC, position the buoyant board beneath you, and hang on. The standard set-up requires a second person on the PWC to control the thrust of the vehicle, and by extension the height of the board, but an optional handheld remote allows the rider to control the board themselves.

There’s a learning curve, and most new riders will start by rising just a few feet out of the water. But after a few hours of practice, Flyboard riders will be able to hover as much as 40’ above the water’s surface. A few more hours after that, and experienced pilots will be doing tricks like spinning in place and may even graduate to back flips and barrel rolls.

When you get bored of soaring like a bird, you can dive through the water like a fish. The Flyboard works just as well under the water, allowing a rider to glide effortlessly while submerged.

The basic Flyboard package comes with the board, hose, and attachments needed to connect it, but a few optional accessories like the remote control and quick change nozzle can really enhance the experience. Compatible with most name brand PWC’s, like Seadoo, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Honda, the Flyboard works best with water craft with a 130 hp motor or more, but can be operated by crafts with as low horsepower as 100.

Flyboards are available to rent by the hour in some cities if you’d like to try before you buy. Starting at about $2,200. If you’d like to see what it feels like to fly above and below the water, visit zapata.com and pick up a Flyboard.

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