X-Board taking PWC riders to new heights
FlyDive provides dealers with revenue option
Over the past year, hydro flight has become one of the fastest growing watersport activities in the industry. The ability to “fly like a bird and dive like a dolphin” has caused consumer popularity to soar within this trend, and FlyDive Inc. is meeting the demand.
“Hydro flight is truly one of the fastest growing and most exciting activities in the world right now,” FlyDive CEO Christos Nicolaidis told Powersports Business. “We decided to really pursue our goal of building one of the best designed hydro flight products in the world, which enables virtually anyone to use it. That was our goal — and we did it.”
James Plante, the CEO and founder of Pathway Genomics, a genetic testing company, founded FlyDive Inc. in 2013. The FlyDive X-Board began as an idea after Plante demoed a competitor’s board and saw what improvements could be made. While Plante enjoyed the demo, Nicolaidis said that because of his engineering background, Plante immediately knew that this was not going to be a product that was going to appeal to a broad audience.
FlyDive’s new product, the X-Board, makes it possible for anyone with a PWC to have hydro flight ability. The X-Board is built to work with a wide range of PWC offerings and can be connected with ease.
“It can work with virtually any PWC, 10 years old or newer,” Nicolaidis said “It’s best used with a PWC that has at least 150 horsepower. If you have a lower power PWC, you’re going to be limited to someone who’s lighter weight and also limited to how high someone might be able to fly.”
The X-Board is designed as an option for both beginners and top-tier performance riders. It features a patent-pending helix water splitter for increased performance, ultra responsive flight-deck precision control and the lowest foot-to-bearing height, which provides maximum stability for all rider types.
The design process behind the X-Board took approximately two years, with nine months spent on improving the board. Ryan Lorence, FlyDive’s lead engineer, explained that FlyDive has created its own adapter kit to make the transition from PWC riding to hydro flight easy. Once the steering nozzle of the PWC is removed, the specially designed adapter is installed, which allows for a quick connection and disconnection.
“The conversion is done by the dealership when you purchase it, so they actually do the hard stuff,” Lorence said.
One of the first changes FlyDive made from its competitors was to find a lower price point that was more accessible to potential consumers.
The X-Board Flight Deck and Hose Kit starts at $4,995.
“Our board was designed to fit beginners. We wanted everyone to be able to ride,” Lorence said. “We really wanted to stall that myth that this is only for crazy athletes … we put a lot of time into making the board really stable and user-friendly.”
While in use, the PWC rider has control of how much throttle the PWC has, and that controls how much thrust the flyer gets. The flyer then decides where to point the thrust. If flyers stand straight up, they will go up to the highest point possible with the amount of throttle the driver gives them and as flyers move, they will drop altitude.
“You can actually control your height as the flyer with the driver holding the throttle steady,” Lorence said. “There is a strong aspect of communication and the buddy system. We want people to go out there and have a backup person in case anything bad happens … or you want your buddy to see the trick you just landed.”
FlyDive is currently working to add to its dealer network and provides several incentives to help gain interest. The first 100 dealers who sign up with FlyDive receive the first three units on consignment and a point-of-sale (POS) display that includes a TV, a value of more than $2,000. “Our POS includes a high-resolution TV with high quality rolling video that is family friendly and describes how our product works, etc. We provide that at no cost to the first 100 dealers; it’s first come first serve, and the response from dealers has been incredible,” Nicolaidis said.
Every new customer gets a comprehensive training program that teaches them how to fly themselves, and how to teach others. This certification process takes place at Authorized FlyDive Certification Centers (AFCC), which are located throughout the U.S. FlyDive has the ability to monitor whether customers are certified or not and can communicate that to each of its dealers.
“When a dealer sells a unit, they can call the AFCC, look up the nearest one and call us to schedule a certification for the customer,” Nicolaidis said. “We have done a lot to reduce both the risk and liability and provide a full turn-key certification and training program that enables dealers’ customers to get certified.”
As an added certification incentive, if the customer does not get certified, the warranty is subject to being revoked after 30 days.
FlyDive also provides dealership training in both the sales and service department. The training takes places at the dealership, where each department is educated on the product and the installation process. Once dealers join the FlyDive dealer network, they gain access to the company’s online tools via a dealer portal. These tools include product specifications, ordering information and marketing tools for use in the dealership.
“We have some guides and videos for them as well,” Lorence said. “Once they become a dealer, they have access to all materials on our website, and they can download all of our manuals.”
In addition, Nicolaidis said the company provides one of the highest margins in the industry at 25-33 percent.
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