guide to flyboarding

A Beginner’s Guide to Flyboarding

See if you can figure this one out:

What can swim like a mermaid, jump out of water like a dolphin, and boost up into the air like Iron Man?

Answer: You.

You’ve probably seen the latest innovation that brings super power like capabilities to us mere humans.

Yep, I’m talking about Flyboards.

For those less acquainted with this fine piece of human accomplishment you might refer to it as one of those water jet pack things, or maybe a water hoverboard, or even a Jet Ski jet pack if you prefer.

Whatever you want to call it, I’m sure we can all agree that these things are freakin’ awesome.

After some practice you can be flipping, spinning, and diving your way through the ocean. Even the dolphins will envy your agility and grace as you’re gliding through the water and air.

Instructors claim that it only takes about 3-7 minutes to learn basic maneuvers and if you have any experience with other board sports such as wakeboarding or snowboarding the learning curve drops dramatically.

This isn’t just for you young studs either. Whether you’re 15 or 70 you can be shredding the waters with your very own Flyboard.

If you’re one of those people always looking for the next thrill to get the adrenaline pumping through your system, there are probably only two things you are thinking when you see one of these new toys on the water:

  • I want to try that.
  • I want to buy that.

Yeah… we know the feeling. That’s why we are going to dive into everything you need to know about Flyboards in this post.

We’ll be covering what exactly a Flyboard is, how it all works, a brief overview of Flyboard history, and how to a buy a Flyboard so you can stop paying $300 per hour next time want to take one out for a spin.

Also, just for fun, we scoured the web searching for the best Flyboard video and came up with six of the greatest ones just for you.

What is a Flyboard?

What exactly is this thing and how does it all work?

Great question.

Watch this short video and you’ll see exactly what a Flyboard is. And don’t worry, there are some more insane Flyboard videos below for your viewing pleasure!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLep21zewQg

Simply put, a Flyboard is a board with bindings that your feet are strapped into. Beneath each foot is a water jet pack. These water jetpacks get their water from a Jet Ski that the Flyboard is attached to with a long tube and an adaptor.

The water goes from the Jet Ski, through the connection tube, and out the jetpack device underneath your feet, which in turn propels you through the water and air.

Just imagine for a second that you have your own personal fire hose and its attached to your feet.

Yes. It’s that awesome.

The throttle on the Jet Ski, also known as a Personal Water Craft (PWC), controls the amount of pressure that comes out of the Flyboard.

Instead of the Jet Ski moving faster when you hold down the throttle, the energy is redirected into the tube giving the Flyboard user increased propulsion.

When you’re ready to step up your skills you can get the adaptor kit that lets you be in control of your own speed while you’re on the Flyboard. Rather than having a certified instructor regulate the amount of propulsion, you are in full control.

This adaptor is called an Electronic Management Kit. Your PWC will simply be following along behind you while you maneuver through the water.

Pro Flyboarder, Trey Andrews says this about the Electronic Management Kit:

“The learning curve is pretty steep, meaning it’s hard to start using the EMK but once you get the hang of it you will never want to be ‘driven’ again.”

All of your movements are controlled by the direction of your feet and the way in which your body is positioned. Want to go forward? Lean forward. Want to go straight up into the air? Stand straight.

Sure, it’s easier said than done at first, but after some practice you’ll get the hang of it.

Who Makes Flyboards?

Flyboards are a newer innovation in the extreme sports scene and were just recently invented in 2011.

A professional Jet Skier from France named Franky Zapata and his company Zapata Racing invented and manufacturers the Flyboard.

The idea presumably stemmed from Jetlev’s R200 Flyer. The idea for the Jetlev was first conceived in 2000 and took the team almost a decade to bring it to market.

The Jetlev looked more like a jetpack since it is strapped to your back and controlled with your hands.

This company created a high-speed pump and boat that comes with the jetpack device, which made the cost of the entire product an outrageous $100,000 USD.

This turned the Jetlev into more of a rental and novelty product that people could try on vacation, but it didn’t have a price point that would allow it to go mainstream.

The team over at Zapata Racing innovated on the concept by realizing that they could get the power from a Jet Ski instead of creating their own boat. The Jetlev was brought to market in 2009 and Zapata Racing followed soon after by launching their Flyboard in 2011.

In 2012, the Flyboard manufacturer, Zapata Raching, held the first ever Flyboard World Championships in Doha, Qatar where 50 Flyboarders from over 20 countries competed for the title.

There has been a world championship each year since 2012 and the number of Flyboarders continues to grow in both the women and men categories.

When you create something as awesome as the Flyboard there will inevitably be some company competitors that try to get in on the action.

Two of the companies that come to mind are X-Jets and Wataboard. X-Jets makes a similar product, which they are calling the Jetblade. Wataboard makes a more budget friendly version, which is simply called the Wataboard.

Also, there is a new product on the market from the team over at Innespace, which is called the Jetovator. Imagine riding a bike with water jet packs attached to it and you’ll get an idea of what the Jetovator looks like.

The great part about all of these companies competing and innovating is that over time we are left with better products at cheaper prices!

The Best Flyboard Videos

If you need some inspiration before you go out and ride a Flyboard for the first time or maybe just a quick reminder of how fun these things are, here is a roundup of the top Flyboard videos on the Internet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM8kEHjQz9U

This is the original Flyboard video that sparked interest in the board around the world. You’ll notice that this version of the Flyboard has jetpacks connected to the hands to help stabilize the Flyboard.

Later versions eliminated this and now the board is completely stabilized with your feet and body placement, leaving your hands free to help you balance, maneuver, and hold the Electronic Management Kit if you choose.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cd6C1vIyQ3w

This is the Flyboard video Zapata Racing used to promote the launch of their first version of the board. Skip to about a minute in to get to the good stuff… they went a little over the top with the intro on this one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAJkVSxMRm0

This is another official Flyboard video from Zapata Racing. This one features the newer version of the Flyboard that no longer has the hand stabilizers. If you ever wanted to see someone do a double backflip with water jetpacks attached to their feet… this is the video for you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4Bm3cs9TFo

The Internet video sensation Devin Supertramp put together this awesome video featuring the Flyboard, cheering crowds, and some random people on Jet Skis!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMjm7dvr0ko

Want to see the best of the best Flyboarders compete? Check out this world cup video from 2014 in Dubai featuring the world’s top riders.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyqlZcDMYuc

If lasers, fire, and intense music are more your style then watch this video from an official Flyboard light show.

Want more? Just search for Youtube Flyboard videos and you’ll keep yourself entertained for hours.

Flyboard Price

Now that you’ve been thoroughly inspired by some of the best Flyboard riders on the planet, you’re likely wondering how you can get your hands on one of these badass pieces of machinery.

So, how much is a Flyboard?

For a top of the line, 2015 Pro Series, the Flyboard’s price is between $5,500 and $6,000. If you want to save about five hundred bucks and get the older 2014 version, you can pick that Flyboard up for a price between $5,000 and $5,500.

“Why is there a price range?” you might ask.

Well the final price depends on the type of hose you get and whether or not you need an adaptor. If this is your first time buying one of these, then you will most certainly need the adaptor so that you can hook it up to your PWC.

If you’re wondering what makes the newer version $500 more expensive than the 2014 version, Zapata added a few additional features into the latest model.

First, the Zapata Racing team was able to decrease the weight of the Flyboard by 30%, giving the rider more control in the air as well as less water resistance due to the new materials they used in the design.

Also, the board comes with adjustable footpads allowing you to customize your foot placement on the board, making the riding experience more comfortable.

Lastly, the nozzles are now adjustable and give you increased efficiency while you’re riding.

This price, however, does not include the PWC that you’ll need it to hook up to.

You’ll need a Kawasaki, Seadoo, Yamaha, or Honda PWC that is less than 10 years old in order for the Flyboard to work properly.

Besides the PWC, everything you need is included in the top priced option. This includes the Flyboard, bindings, pump, “U” pipe, rider hose, hose bearing and swivel, and foot straps.

When you make your purchase you can decide whether to get the medium sized bindings for foot sizes 8-11 or the large sized bindings for foot sizes 11-13.

The Flyboard competitor, Jetblade, is priced right in line with the Flyboard, while the Wataboard is a more budget friendly option priced at around $4,000. However, the Wataboard does not include bindings, which usually cost an additional $100-$300.

The Electronic Management Kit for the Flyboard that allows you to control the propulsion with your hand costs an additional $1,399. If you’re planning on competing professionally, you’ll definitely want to get this upgrade.

Some of the companies that sell Flyboards offer financing on the Flyboard kits allowing you to take home a brand new 2015 Flyboard for as little as $152 per month.

That’s definitely a lot cheaper than the $100,000 jet pack model that came out in 2009!

Where To Buy a Flyboard

Zapata Racing works with distributors all over the world and these distributors will be your point of contact if you’re going to make a Flyboarding purchase.

You can find a list of all the Zapata distributors who will be happy to help you with your Flyboard purchase on their website.

If you want to purchase a Flyboard and would like to work with the people who were Flyboarding at the very beginning, check out Aquatic Aviation. You’ll find an entire online Flyboard store with Flyboard kits and parts, as well as other Zapata Racing products.

The founders were riding Flyboards in 2011 and launched the first rental and dealership Flyboard company in all of North America in 2012.

Conclusion

Finally science is starting to catch up with our demands for hover boards and jet packs to fulfill humanities desire to fly!

Flyboarding is a rapidly growing sport and you can be sure to see more Flyboards at lakes and oceans in the near future.

Have you ever ridden a Flyboard? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.

Joel Runyon

Joel runs IMPOSSIBLE, where he challenges the impossible and helps people do the same. When he's not doing the impossible, he stays busy working on startups, marketing, starting blogs, planning adventures and somehow balancing his love of the paleo diet while nursing his incredibly unhealthy addiction to Red Bull. Follow him on Twitter or Google+

2 Comments

  1. Great article Joel. Thanks for helping spread the good word about our sport and for the link to H2RO Magazine. Hydroflight Sports are growing very fast with multiple experiences including Flyboarding literally taking off and it’s exciting to see the world embrace something that can be so exhilarating and safe at the same time. H2RO (pronounced HERO) just released our official video from the most recent Pro Flyboarding competition and as you’ll see the level of flying is really amazing – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29zhzmkWZSM

    Thanks!
    Blaine

  2. Really very nice article .Thanks for helping the good word about our sport. Sports are growing very fast . The flyboard are helpful for health .
    Thank you very much for this great post

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