What is Flyboarding?

The latest craze to hit our waters will see you walking on it, care of SeaRide Dubai

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The latest craze to hit our waters will see you walking on it, care of SeaRide Dubai.

Dubai is a top destination for water sports and activities, and if there’s a craze making waves in the world it won’t be long before it’s here. And one aqua activity that’s tearing up the surf in the city is Flyboarding.
Flyboarding was created by French jet-ski designer Franky Zapata, who started jet-skiing as a teenager and has dedicated his life to his passion. Zapata, a big name in that sport, has used his skill and knowledge as a competitive jet-ski racer to develop The Flyboard along with some of the fastest jet-skis on the waters. It’s already a hit with thrill-seeking celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Leonardo di Caprio and Vin Diesel, and is now bidding for popularity among Dubai’s water sports fans.

What is a Flyboard?
Looking at the board, you’d think it was something straight out of a science fiction film. A Flyboard enables the rider to use water pressure to ‘fly’ above the sea. The science behind it all is surprisingly simple. The rider wears a life jacket and a helmet for safety, and stands strapped into a board, much a like a small wakeboard, which is connected to a jet-ski with a 10m pipe, which pumps water into the board. The jet-ski engine supplies the power to pump the water and into the board, and that’s what propels it upwards. The instructor will be on the jet-ski controlling the pressure.

It looks tricky – does it need much skill?
No, you just need good balance. You don’t need to have muscles like Iron Man to be able to zoom around like him. As long as you can keep your balance, you’ll be fine. It doesn’t take too long to master either. SeaRide Dubai offers a minimum 30-minute session where after a short safety briefing and instructions on how the board works, they will have you up and away in 15 minutes. If you spend more time, or try it regularly, you can be confidently doing tricks and back flips within a few sessions.

Is it safe?
All water sports carry some risks, and the Flyboard is a safe activity to try as long as you listen to your guide’s instructions. You’ll be given a life jacket and helmet in case you fall off your board, and even if you do come off, it’s a fairly smooth landing. You don’t have to be in very deep water to try Flyboarding, and SeaRide operates just beyond the harbour. The board allows the rider to rocket up to 10m above the sea, and remain connected to the jet-ski. You don’t even need to be able to swim, so anybody can try this exciting sport.

Looking for inspiration?
Flyboarding is bound to get the adrenaline pumping and even if you do crash and burn from time to time, it’s all part of the fun of it. The Flyboard World Cup was held in Doha, Qatar in November and had over 70 international competitors. For a new sport there’s certainly growing interest. The competition was won by Thailand’s Tongthai Suksan and had one female competitor, Oceane Corbet from France. You can check out videos of them online jetting over the waters and thrilling the crowd with impressive flips and tricks. Head to Jumeirah Harbour to see this extreme sport close up, or dive straight in and try it out for yourself.
Dhs300 per 30 minutes session. SeaRide Dubai, Al Souq Harbour, Jumeirah, www.searide-dubai.com (055 157 9393).

Two more to try

Wakeboarding
Make a splash and hit the waves on a wakeboard. These small surfboards pack a lot of speed when pulled along by a motor boat. Sessions can be booked in blocks of one hour, or opt for a full or half day to really get the hang of it.
From Dhs500 Marina Walk, East Marina, www.xtremewakeuae.com (056 342 3012).

Powerboating
If you need to go full throttle on the waves try out powerboating. Boats can be hired with a skipper from Dhs600, or to learn how to steer your own boat, you can take a Royal Yachting Association course.
Watercooled, JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort, www.watercooleddubai.com (04 887 6771).

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