Rush Bragg has all the boxes checked for a successful career in Hydroflight Sports. The Zapata Racing dealer works in one of the most beautiful and busy locations, West Palm Beach Florida where he and his business partners fly people year round. He has world class training partners and just the right combination of strength, flexibility and ‘no fear’ attitude to rise to the top as a competitive hydroflight athlete.
Rush Bragg wins Round One of the 2017 Flyboard National Tour in Pensacola, Florida.
Check out Rush Bragg flying at the 2016 Flyboard World Cup and then learn more about ‘Superman’ in our exclusive interview.
H2RO Interview with Rush Bragg
H2RO) First off can you please share with us your background growing up and what kind of sports you were into prior to Hydroflight?
Growing up I was really adventurous. I literally wanted to try everything. I never really worried about failing or losing. It’s about the experience. Whether it was tearing up the trails on my dirt bike or hitting some fresh powder on a snowboard. Sure, I played all the regular sports too-baseball, football, & basketball. But I really enjoy the adrenaline type activities.
H2RO) How were you first introduced to Hydroflight Sports and what was it that inspired you to get involved?
I originally saw a video on the Chive (which is an awesome app-check it out) First thought was that is freaking amazing and I’ll probably never be able to do it!
Actually had a long time friend, Scott McRoberts, call me about 4 months later with a business plan that he had labeled “Ultimate Rush Flyboarding”. Needless to say he had me at the name! We started the flight session company shortly after along with Jason Gauthier.
H2RO) What were the biggest challenges early on with both running a business and improving as an athlete?
Breaking stuff, haha. Obviously you want to fly and train and have fun. It’s quick to blow through profits when your destroying hoses, boots, and jet skis. It’s really awesome when you get to do something that you love as a business, luckily for us we get to do it year-round.
H2RO) I believe your first competition was the 2014 North American Flyboard Championship in Toronto, Ontario. With each competition how has your training, approach and confidence on the board evolved? What is one of your favorite competitive moments?
Each time you leave a competition some experience comes with it, so after each round you get a little more confidence. Right now, I’m feeling pretty confident going into each run. One of the best things about going to a competition is watching other guys fly and how they use their creativity to perform certain tricks and maneuvers differently. I always look forward to seeing the other types of innovative flying. Really opens up your thinking on what you want to start training for next.
I have to admit when I won the Southeastern Hydroflight Championship was a great moment for me. Although, my favorite achievement is being the first to land “the Universal” trick in a competition. It won Best Trick at the Session One competition barely edging out Todd Sawisch who threw an insanely impressive 1800 Triple backflip.
H2RO) Let’s talk about your commitment to pushing the sport through innovation, you brought ‘The Universal’ to the world, tell everyone what that is and how challenging it was to add it to your trick repertoire?
The Universal is basically a triple backflip from high up switching your flip side on each rotation (Left flip – Right flip- Left Flip) before touching the water.
It was actually really tough to perfect. It took time and time again of practicing. There are so many variables on each stop point it’s really hard to get it landed every time. Most guys only flip one direction but that will be changing very soon I believe. In fact, Curtis Pangrass is the only other person who has landed one in a competition and he stuck it pretty clean. Props Curt!
H2RO) More recently you’ve been landing a front flip. You’re doing this on the Pro Series Flyboard..correct? What is the board set up and share with us the steps for learning this trick?
The infamous front flip. This thing is crazy. This is something that will guarantee grueling hits on the water. I honestly don’t recommend anyone try it. It’s just not made to happen without a huge risk and strain on your body. But if you must, basically come up backwards at a 45 degree angle. Lock your legs out thrusting your upper body downwards to your feet and pull up on your board to direct your nozzles upwards. Then slam your legs downwards halfway through the rotation to get your feet back under you. If you do this correctly you just might get lucky to land it, if not get ready to grab some ice and some Advil.
Thanks Blaine, appreciate that. You know the field is getting stronger and I’m just going to keep training and pulling off new moves and hopefully I’ll end up there. I felt like I had a good shot in Naples, but got edged out by Rippy early. Key for me is to have fun and remember to throw out every trick in my arsenal and just stomp them out clean. Either way be prepared to watch me “KRush It”!
H2RO) The 2017 Flyboard World Championship was just announced for June 9 – 11 in Cavalaire-Sur-Mer, France and you will be competing. What will your preparation routine be and what do you know about the ‘duo’ format that is proposed? Does this new format change how you will be approaching your runs?
Preparation for us is training minimum 2 days a week and sometimes 3, all day just about. I have some of the best training partners in Brandon Samuels & Todd Sawisch. We really push each other to try new things and perfect them. We have a routine in place we have been doing for almost 2 years. We have our time where we try new things and have some time where we practice runs so we are always ready for competition.
As far as the duo format, I’m not really sure how it’s going to pan out but I’m excited to see what variety it brings to the sport!
H2RO) H2RO has heard of at least 8 competitions being worked on in 2017 plus Japan and Poland are likely to have National Championship events once again. As a top Hydroflight athlete how many of these opportunities do you foresee yourself participating in and do you believe there will be enough top riders able to attend these competitions to keep the level very high?
At this point, I’ve dedicated my life to Hydroflight! Nothing is as important to me at this point than making a presence and promoting the sport as much as possible. It’s not always easy to prepare to go to all the competitions, travel expenses and sometimes short notice makes it difficult. Some of us are lucky enough to have sponsors and that helps but the more we show the sport, the more positive impact and opportunities will come up for us in the future. The sport is growing everyday and before long there will be more athletes than the competitions we have now could handle.
H2RO) Shout outs! Time to thank the key people in your life that have helped you get to where you are today!
I have to thank my mom, grandfather, and girlfriend of course! They have always supported my decisions and guided me along the way. My training team. All of my good friends who have been around they always look to help out! Obviously, Franky and Krystel Zapata they have been good friends and very helpful throughout my Flyboarding years.
H2RO) Finally, let our readers know why your location is so awesome and why they should definitely click this link and book some flying time with your company!
So yeah, we have a super sick spot right downtown West Palm Beach, Florida. You can book a Flyboard or Hoverboard Experience and it’s on the Intracoastal Waterway right off our massive city dock. There are tons of things to do around the area as well. Come check it out!
We look forward to hosting an Competition here soon!
It would be a beautiful location for a competition and one that H2RO would be stoked to cover. All the best on the tour and in Cavalaire for the Flyboard World Championship on June 9 – 11, 2017.