A couple people had told me about flyboarding and when we were boating on Lake Travis and saw someone flyboarding, there was a unanimous yell of "we've got to do that." During a weekend at Lakeway Resort we signed up to fly with Aquafly on Lake Travis which is located at Lakeway Marina a block from Lakeway Resort & Spa.
At the Aquafly office we met Chris, the manager of Aquafly, who had us sign some waivers and watch a short video on how to fly. The video made it look easy - just let the water stream push you up, then lean slightly forward like on a Segway or lean to the left or right to move forward or to the side. We (my wife, daughter, and brother) were excited as we jumped in the ATV for a short ride to the lake. On the dock we were fitted for a wetsuit, life jacket, and a helmet - hmmmm, why would we need a helmet and wet suit? Now I start to get a little nervous and I'm wondering if my life insurance is up to date!
Next we got a short description of the equipment and the concept and flying and heard "ok, who wants to go first?" And suddenly, we were were all cowering behind my daughter and our response was "can we see one of the instructors do it first?" With no hesitation, one of the young cute very fit instructors slipped into the boots, jumped in the water, and two seconds later he was propelled 25' in the air. For the next few minutes he really put on a show - flying up and down and left and right, doing flips, nose diving head first into the lake and surfacing a few seconds later, and doing some other jaw dropping tricks. Looks easy I can do that - but I was still hiding behind my daughter and brother who were quickly selected to get in the boots and do a belly flop into the lake to start flyboarding.
The signs at the Aquafly office and on website best describe our flyboarding experience:
The flyboarding term that I was unconsciously trying to do is called "dolphin diving" which like a dolphin means you do a graceful dive into the lake, stay under for a second, and then gracefully resurface and do it again - just like we had seen the instructor do. Our "dolphin diving" could easily be mistaken for belly flops or face first nose plants and they were more like what you might expect a walrus or elephant to do! But it was fun, frustrating, and exciting all the same. Here's how the experts do a planned dolphin dive.
After 5 minutes or so, all of us started to figure it out and were able to go higher, a little farther, and for a little longer before plunging back into the lake. We were having a blast and we could hear the people observing on the shore howling with laughter as well as cheering us on - so they were enjoying our show also.
Your first time flying you'll need to sign up for what's called the "Beginner Pilot's Course" which is intended to teach you the basics and get you comfortable with flying. During your Pilot's Course you're restricted to flying just 7' high and the flight lasts 20 minutes. Once you've passed the Pilot's Course then you can sign up for 20, 30, 45, or 60 minute flights with no restrictions - can't wait to try that.
There is no age limit but there is a minimum weight requirement of 80 pounds and a maximum of 350 pounds. This means the youngsters will be able to humiliate us just like they do with video games and TV remote controls.
Technically, flyboarding works by using the propulsion system of the waverunner which sucks in and expels water to gain momentum. For flyboarding a 60' diameter fireman's type hose is attached to the waverunners discharge propulsion system and then attached to the flyboard which has boots similar to wakeboard boots on the top of it. When the driver of the waverunner gives the waverunner some gas, up to 1000 gallons a minute at up to 60 PSI is pumped through the hose and expelled out the bottom of the flyboard with enough force to lift 300 pounds up to 35' above or below the water. Because you and the flyboard are attached via the hose to the waverunner, the flyer is actually towing the waverunner wherever he flies. The instructor on the waverunner controls the amount of water through the boots by using the throttle of the waverunner, the more gas the higher the fly goes - a simple but sophisticated concept.
If you get addicted, you can buy a flyboard from Aquafly for around $6000 and fly as often as you want. All you need is a life jacket, jet ski, and lake! And it won't be long before you're flying up to 35' in the air and doing tricks like the pros.
Bottom line - a little challenging at first and may be a little sore from all the crashing back to the lake, but very fun and exciting and you'll want to come back and do it again. Add Flyboarding to your bucket list.