A fun article by David Rohn at The Santiva Chronicle:
If sunning, swimming, surfboarding or building sandcastles is getting to be old hat, there’s an emerging activty that might add a little excitement to your next trip down to the beach.
It is flyboarding.
Locally, flyboarding has been spotted off the beaches of Captiva near the Mucky Duck, where Yolo Watersports, 11534 Andy Rosse Lane, provides half-hour rentals with flyboarding instruction for $95.
For those not familiar with flyboarding, which was developed about five years ago, you essentially turn into James Bond, propelled aboard a stream of water shot from beneath your feet. Flyboarders are propelled more than 20 feet above the surface of the Gulf aboard streams of water pumped at high velocity from nozzles on a platform strapped to boots you wear.
The Flyboard, one of several devices developed for turning beachgoers into 007, is easier than it looks, according to Yolo employee James Lortz.
“It’s not tough,” he remarked. “Usually after about 10 minutes, most people get the hang of it. Ninety-five percent of the people who come here to do it have never done it before.”
Just strap on the boots, put on a helmet, hook the flexible hose up to a Jet Ski, and prepare for takeoff.
According to Lortz, Flyboards use the engine of a Jet Ski that accompanies the flyboarder to pump water through the hose and out through nozzles that are part of a platform beneath the boots, providing propulsion to thrust the user up into the sky, or underwater, as the case may be – and often is when a flyboarder loses his or her balance and crashes.
Lortz said the Flyboard goes about 20 feet up in the air and can be maneuvered. Although it is common to crash, Flyboards float. Furthermore, users are required to wear helmets and must weigh more than 75 pounds to rent one.
Similar devices have been developed that allow people to hover above the water, including water propelled thrusters that attach to the back, but Lortz claims the Flyboard is easier to use.
And if flyboarding isn’t enough of a thrill, Zapata Racing, which created the Flyboard, recently developed the Flyboard Air that uses an air propulsion system enabling autonomous flights of up to 10,000 feet over water or land – turning the wearer into a human drone. It is awaiting government approval.