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The Art of Competitive Flyboarding
After having a few days to think about the 2013 Flyboard World Cup and what an incredible sport Flyboarding has become, it became clear to me that what I thought about the competition was very different from what I now know seeing it up close. and personal. Professional flyboarding is very different from the recreational fun that many of us do on the water. In addition to the height, speed and tricks these professionals use during their competitive runs, there is also the complexity of managing the hose, Jet Ski, performance area and judges.
The first time I saw a competitor spin, flip, land and fly only then to fall 30 feet straight down into the water for no apparent reason I thought what the hell happened. It soon became very clear that this rider had released his EMK throttle on purpose by sending himself into the drink so he could quickly drop the hose into the water, making sure he didn’t flip the ski and avoid disqualification. We saw a number of great Flyboarders either mistime their trick or execute it to get close to the Ski, which resulted in a flipped Seadoo and an early exit from the competition.
Sitting on the shuttle bus traveling from the Qatar Pearl Marina to the Hilton Doha Hotel, I chatted with 2012 World Champion Stéphane Prayas. He had just unleashed a brand new trick on the world which involved flying up to the back of the ski, placing one hand on the back of the seat and then laying flat and using his Flyboard to float himself and the ski across the water. . It was a crowd favorite, but there was more to him than inventing a new trick.
To paraphrase Stéphane said that the flyer and the Jet Ski must work as one, they are a team out there on the water and that his new trick was simply an opportunity to bond and show respect to the machine. He really wanted me to understand how important that relationship is to him and how important the board, hose and skis are in this sport. This was something that Franky Zapata had also stated to the riders during their conference. He said rider safety is number one and also respect the equipment because you will be penalized for dangerous maneuvers and lack of control.
I’m not sure that a sport that is only two years old can really have an ‘old school’ philosophy, but it seemed to me that after talking to Stéphane and then seeing some of the competitors who seemed to be focused on trick after trick after trick until they’re caught by a moving ski or a bent sock that there’s a chance that this intimate relationship between husband/wife and machine might be something that’s not top of mind, all the time, for a few flyers . The fundamentals in any sport are not the glamorous parts, but they are an absolute necessity to compete at the highest level. As Flyboarding matures, it will be the movement and style between the tricks that will likely separate the Champions from the contenders. I’ll still jump out of my seat when a double backflip lands and flies over the water, but now I’ll also tip my hat to the flyers who nail all these details that only seeing the World Cup in person can give me had informed.
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#Art #Competitive #Flyboarding