Trying to fly above the water’s surface with my feet strapped into water-powered boots is not how I usually roll when I visit the beach. Flyboard is a new water sport; it was invented in 2012. I had the opportunity to try flyboard for the first time on a recent visit to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where I signed the waiver and waited my turn to strap on the boots.
I’ve never been an adventurous type, particularly when it comes to the ocean. I’ve never tried to surf, I have no interest in scuba diving and I only finally went snorkeling for the first time a little less than two years ago. When I was in the eighth grade I tried to rappel and it didn’t go so well. But on the same trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, that saw me snorkel for the first time I also had an awesome time rappeling in the rainforest. So flyboard shouldn’t be a problem.
The thing that makes flyboard more acceptable even to those who are afraid of heights is the fact that there is water to fall into. During amateur hour flyboarding, it’s not likely to get more than about 10 feet or so above the water’s surface.
And for those who find themselves much higher, well, they’re probably also the ones who are able to do dolphin dives while strapped into the flyboard.
I was part of a group of fairly adventurous people, although I’d say a couple of us also are the types who prefer a relaxed beach trip instead of one full of adrenaline, myself included. I didn’t sense any nerves from anyone, and there really isn’t a reason to have concerns.
One of the great things about flyboard is that if you struggle to get going, well, you’re just going to pretty much stay in the water.
So how does the flyboard work? I call it boots on steroids. The boots are a sort of water jetpack attached to a jet ski, which is what provides the power for liftoff.
A long hose is connected from the jet ski to the flyboard boots. The rider stands on the boots, but it’s important to be deep enough so that you aren’t standing on the bottom. When ready, the driver of the jet ski gives it gas, forcing the water pressure through the hose, into the boots and pushing the rider into the air.
A few things that are important to know when attempting to flyboard. First, keep your feet parallel to the water’s surface. Point the toes to far down and you’re nosediving into the water. Point them up and you’re doing a backflip.
Also, as you float along it’s important to not get too far from the jet ski. The hose is only so long, so if you’re going well enough that you’re not face planting it’s important to remember to gently turn as you’re surfing the air to stay within proximity of the jet ski.
More than once I got too far away so the jet ski driver let off on the gas and forced me to crash. Not exactly a lesson, but it’s for my own safety.
If participating with a larger group it’s important to be patient. Only one person can go at a time and it takes a few minutes to understand the basics before really figuring it out. And once a rider does figure it out, it’s tough to want to stop for someone else, although my legs did eventually tire from the strain of trying to stay upright.
While waiting for others, we had a sea kayak, stand-up paddleboard and the beach to keep us entertained.
My experience with Flyboard South Florida had us in the Hillsboro Inlet with the beautiful Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse.
Flyboard isn’t cheap; it cost more than $100 for a 30-minute ride. But for those visitors to the greater Fort Lauderdale area looking for some adventure, this is a fantastic way to get a little wild above the water.
Editor’s Note: I was part of a media tour of Fort Lauderdale. As a professional journalist it’s important you know all opinions stated here are my own and are not paid for by my gracious hosts.