Fly­board­ing

Snowbirds & RV Travelers - - High Tech! -

OBY PERRY MACK ne of the best as­pects of life is the con­stant in­ven­tion of new ways to en­ter­tain our­selves. For­tu­nately for me, this new sport in­volves soft land­ings, as op­posed to all the other board sports in which I’ve par­tic­i­pated.

In 2012, wa­ter­craft rider Franky Za­p­ata at­tached a hose from his per­sonal wa­ter­craft (PWC) to his new in­ven­tion, the fly­board. The board has a pair of boots sim­i­lar to wake­board boots, and un­der­neath the ‘board’ are a set of noz­zles that ex­haust wa­ter from the PWC. More rpm from the PWC equals more force and greater height when you’re on the board.

We called James and Mike from Cana­dian Jet­pack Ad­ven­tures and asked for a demon­stra­tion and trial run. After sign­ing the req­ui­site waivers and watch­ing the safety video, we went to the shore where we suited up with a wet­suit, wa­ter­sports hel­met and life vest. The dif­fi­culty fac­tor is low and the adrenalin quo­tient is high. So is the en­ter­tain­ment fac­tor. Peo­ple lined the shore tak­ing pic­tures as we learned to come out of the wa­ter and fly back and forth. Like rid­ing a bike, it’s eas­ier to balance while you’re mov­ing than when you’re stand­ing still. Within 15 min­utes I had the ba­sic ma­neu­vers nailed down and was fea­tured in the va­ca­tion photos of a hun­dred vis­i­tors.

Mike Prince dis­cov­ered the sport four years ago while work­ing in soft­ware sales. After his first sea­son he de­cided to turn pro and com­peted in the middle east, the US and Canada. Now he’s traded in his cor­po­rate suit for board shorts and a wet­suit. Mike says with a grin, ”Our goal is to re­ally show every­one how easy fly­board­ing truly is. We have never had an un­happy guest; in fact ev­ery new flyer comes out of the wa­ter with an ear-to-ear grin! This, is what mo­ti­vates us ev­ery­day, to share the pas­sion and ex­cite­ment.”

When search­ing for a com­pany to take you fly­board­ing, it is al­ways best to look for the Za­p­ata Rac­ing Logo as it means that the in­struc­tors are ap­pro­pri­ately cer­ti­fied and have met the re­quire­ments to take cus­tomers out safely.

Dive­mas­ter and me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing stu­dent James MacSween part­nered with Mike Prince for the Okana­gan Lake fran­chise. “It is a dream job and we are both very thank­ful to be able to do what we do on a daily ba­sis.” James was our in­struc­tor, and after our ses­sion strapped on the board to show us what could be done with a lit­tle prac­tice. Grace­fully pirou­et­ting through the air he dove head first un­der­wa­ter and then ex­ploded to the sur­face, arc­ing through the air to re­peat the ma­neu­ver.

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