Hollywood blockbusters tease our sense of adventure with enticing special effects.
The imagination revs up when we see gadgets like Marty McFly’s hoverboard in Part II and Part III of Back to the Future. Even though the technology may not exist in the real world, our desire to experience the fantastical is alive and well.
Face it. If you could hop on a real hoverboard or jump on the Green Goblin’s “Sky Stick” right here in Austin, wouldn’t you take the shot?
The question isn’t hypothetical.
Flyboard in Austin: There’s Nothing Like It
Imagine flying – yes, flying – on a board over the calm waters of Lake Travis. You can control the board, soar, bank turns, and even do flips as your skill increases.
Check out the video below from the creators of Flyboard, Zapata Racing, to see how unique this experience really is:
Flyboard in Austin: Getting Suited Up
It’s a bit of a hike from the parking lot down to South Shore Marina, so be prepared. The walk did give us time to let our imagination wander about what our experience would be like.
Our nerves were a little on edge as we realized that in a few minutes we’d be trying the extreme sport of Flyboarding for the first time. But as we arrived and got our questions answered, United States Coast Guard Licensed Captains Austin and Angel were extremely encouraging.
Brittany volunteered to try the Flyboard first. She donned a wet suit while Captain Austin explained, “Compared to snowboarding or wakesurfing, Flyboarding is much easier. Nearly everyone gets up on their first time out.”
A Flyboard looks like a mini snowboard with the boots already attached. Arm attachments with jet pack-style propulsion allow for additional steering capabilities and power.
Confidence increases as detailed safety precautions and instructions are provided on the dock. No reason to get bogged down. Even the instructions are fun:
“If you’ve ever watched the movie Iron Man or or seen the Green Goblin in Spider-Man, you’ll know exactly what to do. You’ll be taking off out of the water in the same position as Iron Man. Body erect, arms behind you and knees locked…just like a superhero.” -Captain Austin Edwards
Pretty exciting, right?
“You’ll maneuver the board just like Green Goblin: lifting your left knee to turn one direction, and your right knee to turn the other.”
Wetsuit? Check. Flyboard attached and bindings tight? Check. Helmet and life jacket secured? Check. Time to fly.
Flyboard in Austin: Experiencing Flight
The Flyboard receives its propulsion power by connecting to a jet ski through hoses. Once in the water, the Flyboard operator controls the direction she wants to go, while the guide controls the throttle on the jet ski for safety.
After suiting up, Brittany eased into the water. Laying on her stomach, she propelled herself into the middle of the small cove next to South Shore Marina. Captain Austin raised the throttle a notch and Brittany was scooting through the lake like a pro.
Communication is constant between the Flyboard operator and the Austin Flyboard guide, especially when the operator is just learning. Captain Austin shouted, “Remember to kick the board down underneath you and lock your knees, and keep your arms behind you just like Iron Man…are you ready?” With a nod of her head, Brittany signaled her readiness. Captain Austin throttled up, and now Brittany was moving through the water at a good clip. Before I knew it, there she was out of the water and flying on her very first attempt!
I could hear her shouting in total amazement as she hovered over the waters of Lake Travis on the Flyboard. “Wow, this is awesome! Oh my gosh!” It was quite a sight to see in person.
Before you go thinking that you could never do this because you aren’t strong enough or big enough, please note that Brittany is a size 4 and weighs just over 130 lbs sopping wet. During her 15-20 minutes in the water, she got up a few times. As she came back to the dock to switch out with me, she was raving about her experience.
I got up too, though not the first time. I think it took me two or three tries before I got up. But once I did, it was just as exhilarating as Brittany had described.
The trick is really to lock your knees. You naturally want to bend them to give yourself stability, but that’s not the way the board works.
Once you’re up, it’s an incredible feeling to hover over the water on a Flyboard. I can’t encourage you enough to try it – nothing compares.
Flyboard in Austin: One of the Many Fun Things to Do at Austin’s Boat Tours
Our Flyboard experience with Austin Flyboard, LLC was incredible and we’d highly recommend that you give it a shot. We were surprised to learn that the Flyboard experience is just one of the many different ways that Austin’s Boat Tours has you covered when it comes to lake activities and entertainment. They own a limo bus company and provide private lake tours with their yacht, cigarette boat, and even a couple state of the art party barges.
Hopefully they’ll invite us back out for one of their lake tours, and we’ll get to feature all of that excitement with another Austinot article. For now, let me just say that these folks are great hosts. If your plans involve any kind of fun on the waters surrounding Austin, make sure you get in touch with Captains Austin and Angel and tell them what you’d like to do.
Chances are, they have you covered.
You can reach Austin and Angel through AustinFlyboardLLC.com. Or just give them a call directly at 512-476-BOAT (2628).
Austinot @EricHighland asks:
What is the most unique thing YOU’VE done in Austin and the surrounding area?