Last fall Mauro Morello, owner of Splittin’ Waves jet-ski rental, watched a Youtube video on a brand new extreme sport called ‘flyboarding’. Looked like fun, so Mauro wanted to know more. He drove to Fort Lauderdale to try it out first hand and once he did, he was hooked!
This new technology in water sports uses a hose connected to a jet-ski to push water to the flyboarding unit. The thrust from the water moves the flyboarder and the flyboarder controls the direction they want to go. The technology has been around for about a year and a half and the Florida Flyboard used here is a state-of-the-art unit from France.
“It’s very easy, like riding a bicycle. The jet-ski operator controls the amount of thrust; the flyboarder controls the balance and direction. It’s not hard to do, it just comes naturally, especially if you like the water or use any sort of waterboard.” Asan owner/operator, Mauro had to take a detailed course, have the appropriate permits, licensing and have all of the usual water safety certifications. It is surprisingly safe with two people in control; the jet-ski operator slowing the thrust as needed and the flyboarder controlling movement. A helmet is required as an added measure. Anyone can do it as long as they’re eighteen and above or have a parent’s signature. You must wear a size six shoe and above and weigh under 300 pounds.
Compelling videos show flyboarders spiralling in and out of the water like dolphins, doing complete 360’s, splashing people with rooster tails and rising straight up out of the water up to 25 or 30 feet. It is enough to entice any adventurous person! Not so fast, as with any sport, getting good takes practice!
Initially, a flyboarder gets one-on-one personal instruction for several minutes, gets into the equipment and is helped into the water. “We takeit slow, not getting above a few feet off the water to be sure they’re comfortable. Once they can show they’re capable, we can take them up a few feet more and they can turn and move more readily,” confirmed Mauro. “Our flyboard attaches to the feet with ‘jet boots’ and hand held arm thrusters add stability. Once a flyboarder gets really good, they don’t need arm thrusters.”
The pricing structure speaks to just how addictive this sport can become. You can book a ‘flight’ for a few minutes, or you can buy a monthly pass called a ‘frequent flyer’ which entitles a skilled flyboarder to hours of fun. Group rates are available for families, friends or parties. Florida Flyboards operates out of Caxambas Park at 909 Collier Court. To book a flight, call 239-970-2215. Watch for a Key West location opening soon! For more information on how you can become a human dolphin or fly Iron man style, check out FloridaFlyboard.com