Four things that go through your mind while flyboarding
Monday, July 7, 2014, 5:47 PM
What do you get when you combine wakeboarding with the ultimate nerd fantasy? Flyboarding, an emerging watersport that shot to fame on YouTube and is finally reaching the beaches of Canada. The Weather Network’s Margeaux Morin set out to try flyboarding for herself last week and as I just happened to be in Edmonton, I jumped at the chance to tag along.
We meet the boys from Alberta Flyboard in Sylvan Lake early on a perfect Alberta summer morning.
Does this wetsuit make me look fat?
This fabric really chafes. Wait, what do you mean it’s on inside-out? Okay, that’s a little better. I still feel like a sausage, though.
It’s on backwards, too? You’ve got to be kidding me.
Oh well, at least now I’m so sweaty I won’t mind jumping into this very cold water.
Will I embarrass myself?
Our instructors, Brody and Chad, assure us that as long as you’ve been in a body of water before, you can flyboard, but I’m not so sure. I trip over my own shadow. The first and last time I tried snowboarding I ended up walking back down the bunny hill in tears and couldn’t sit down for days. I can hear my mother’s voice in my head reminding me of the time I fell into a yacht slip at Peggy’s Cove and couldn’t climb out.
Now I’m about to strap on a snowboard-like apparatus with jet nozzles on the bottom that will shoot out water with such force I’ll hover above the surface of the lake. Yeah, I really thought this through.
Yup, I’m embarrassing myself.
The trick to getting up in the air is to keep your legs straight, your toes pointed and your torso forward, but the flyboard floats, and my knees want to bend. The first time Chad starts up the jet ski, I faceplant. The second time, too. Then I’m tangled up in the hose.
The third time, I commit the cardinal sin of flyboarding and fall backwards, which not only hurts but results in the jets pushing me down under the water until Chad cuts the power. I surface, lake water streaming from my nose, and look helplessly to Chad, expecting to hear that it’s true, I’m the one person in the world who can’t flyboard.
But he grins and flashes a thumbs up. “Ready to go again?”
I give a whoop and a thumbs up in return and force my legs straight. This time, when the jets start to push me out of the water, I don’t fight it. I stand motionless, arms out like wings, feet flexed like a dancer. 30 seconds pass; I’m still in the air. I’m doing it!
I’m the king of the world!
I’m really doing it!
So, can I do a backflip?
Look at me. I’m a pro. I’ve been in the air for at least three minutes now, bending one knee at a time to move in slow, wide circles around Chad’s jet ski. I’m relaxed, taking in the peaceful morning view, waving at the people watching from the shore. I’m totally ready to learn some tricks.
But as I daydream about swooping headlong through the water like a dolphin, my concentration breaks and the lake rushes up to meet me again. Maybe I need a little more practice.