Flyboarding in Mauritius costs the equivalent of Rs 9,200, for about half an hour. (Joanna Lobo)
Walking on water is old school (just ask Jesus). Now, you can fly above it.
A relatively new water sport adventure, flyboarding lets you fly out of the water and ride above the waves. Your wings: an underwater hose and high-pressure jets of water. It’s the most exciting way to get airborne, if for a few minutes. Flyboarding was invented by French Jet Ski racing champion, Frank Zapata, in 2011. It’s now available across the world, has spawned world championships and is a Hollywood favourite.
I attempt flying in Mauritius. I’ve spent the night before watching videos of the experience. It looks cool and I am excited to try something that will give me, a non-adventurous person by nature, serious bragging rights.
Other fantastic waterworlds
- Paddle with Penguins, South Africa: At Seaforth Beach on the Western Cape, a kayaking adventure introduces you to African penguins and cape fur seals.
- Snorkel to an underwater sculpture park, Grenada: At the Molinere Beauséjour Marine Protected Area, 65 sculptures attract an array of marine life.
- Drive an underwater scooter, Australia: It’s a snorkeling experience but aided by a water scooter, offering a unique way of exploring Sydney’s marine underwater life.
At FLYn’Dive, I am briefed about safety and shown videos. Virtually anyone can enter flight: you just need to be comfortable in the water. So, armed with a lifejacket, I head out to Grand Baie waterfront to meet with my guide. Emmanuelle Juliette handles the flyboard like a pro; he makes it look easy. “It is easy,” he says. “All you have to do is stand.”
Sounds simple enough: I cannot ‘fly’ until I learn to stand straight. I get strapped in, my feet attached to a flyboard (it’s like a hoverboard with boots), which is connected by a hose to a watercraft. Juliette has control of the flyboard and the watercraft. I have to just stay vertical.
Once the power is on, I take a deep breath before I am pulled underwater and then the water jets propel me upward. The flyboard is heavy but when using it, I feel weightless. I glide, steer myself left or right but am unable to stand. Juliette switches off the power and I fall back into the water. Rinse and repeat.
After many tries, its clear gravity is winning. We go tandem. In this, I just have to hold on tight (quite the gentleman, he ensures I am not uncomfortable). Propelled by the water, and trailed by the watercraft, we are soon airborne. It’s an adrenaline rush, looking out onto the horizon, the distant shore and the waters below with my feet firmly planted in air. Defying gravity can be fun!
Next on my list is the Flyboard Air. A Zapata creation, it is a personal aerial vehicle that lets you fly like a bird. Jesus would approve.
First Published: Aug 16, 2019 16:33 IST