A Beginner's Guide to Flyboarding
How to rise above the rest and get a new lake life
You’ll flip for flyboarding this summer
photo by Ryan Taylor
When Caleb Gavic first saw someone on a Flyboard in 2012, he knew he had to try it. The sport was still so new at the time that Gavic had to contact its inventor, French watercraft rider Franky Zapata, to get his hands on one. That summer, he started flying. “Everything was so new,” he says, “that the guy who taught me barely knew how to do it himself.” Gavic and his brother Jesse took the Flyboard—what looks like a mini-snowboard outfitted with a jetpack—up to the family cabin on Cross Lake, and before long, they had 30 or 40 boats hovering around them watching. The Flyboard’s rider is propelled into the air by two jet streams of water pumped through a hose that connects to the outflow of a personal watercraft (a Jet Ski, WaveRunner, Sea-Doo, etc.), which another person controls. “All that thrust that normally would push [a jet ski] forward at 70 miles an hour is now going into the hose.” Before long, Gavic got his feet under him. He soon mastered multiple flips and dives, and began traveling to Mexico, Sweden, Dubai, and elsewhere for competitions and demonstrations. In the summer of 2016, Caleb and Jesse made headlines when they put out a fire on someone’s boat using the Flyboard’s spray. Impromptu heroics aside, the best part of Flyboarding for Caleb is flying. “Do you know how it feels to fly?” he asks. “That’s the best way I can explain it. It’s nothing you’ve really felt before. It feels like you’re floating in the air. The tricks are fun, but just being able to fly 50 feet high is the best part.”
Gavic and his family give 20-minute lessons and travel to clients for Flyboarding parties. He says it takes only five minutes to learn. A 30-minute rental is about $150.
Flyboard, personal watercraft, helmet, life jacket
*, according to Gavic
Learning to Fly: A closer look at flyboarding gear and locations
You can buy a Flyboard kit for about $6,000, but getting out on the lake with some friends and an afternoon rental is a fraction of the cost. “If you watch the movie Iron Man and say, ‘I want to do that!’ essentially that’s what you’re doing,” says Skyhigh Flyboard’s Caleb Gavic. “You’re becoming Iron Man. You can’t go anywhere you want, but you can go 50 feet high and anywhere around the lake.”
These flyboard pro series boots were made for flying, and that’s just what they’ll do ($2,875, plus accessories)
photo by zapata
Long Lake, Gull Lake,
Brainerd Lakes: skyhighflyboard.com ($150-$1,100*)
Lake Independence: justaddwaterflyboard.com ($149-$650*)
Detroit Lakes: hydroflightsportsmn.com ($150-$1,500*)
*Rates reflect length of time for rental. For additional locations, ask the outfitter. Many will travel to your favorite lake for your experience.
When you’re ready to up your game, the flyride is basically a flying jet ski ($5,340, plus accessories)
photo by zapata
Franky Zapata launched the Flyboard craze in 2012 and has since added a Hoverboard, Jetpack, and Flyride (at right) based on similar technology. zapata.com
Digital Extra: Just Like Iron Man
Take the point of view of Flyboarders as they maneuver their trendy, easy-to-ride, water-powered hoverboards up to 50 feet over a lake.