In 2015 we’re still a long way from traveling around on Thunderball-esque jet packs. But until that day comes, flyboarding is the next best thing. Strap onto the board, fire up a 260 hp personal watercraft with a hose attached to it and a powerful stream of water propels you 50 feet into the air. “Being on a flyboard is the closest I’ll ever get to being Iron Man,” says Frenchman Franky Zapata, the Jet Ski champion who invented the flyboard in 2011. “It’s like having the power to fly, you move around so intuitively.”
Zapata is based in Marseille, but flyboarding has expanded to more than 2,000 centers around the world. And its barrier of entry isn’t too high.
Once a rider has mastered the basics, the sky’s the limit when it comes to tricks. The jumps and aerobatics you can do in any other board sport are all possible, with one big difference: “There’s no gravity pulling you back down,” says Jordan Wayment, 26, a mentor for young adults from Utah. “You can go up in the air and stay there. The sensation of being propelled by jets of water is pretty special. ” Extreme-sports enthusiast and photographer Francois Rigaud discovered the sport online and loved it so much he now runs Atlantic Flyboard in Florida.
“When I saw a clip I knew I had to try it,” he says. “It is the jet pack of today. It’s new and it’s a real rush.”
ADVICE FROM THE INSIDE: No Stress
“You need to keep your legs straight, your eyes on the horizon and the most important thing is to relax,” says Jordan Wayment. “When you tense up you lose your balance. Stand like you’re waiting in a line. Then before you know it you’ll be in the air.”
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