FlyDive reps Hydroflight at 2017 Red Bull Air Race San Diego
AWESOME. The best word to describe last weekends Red Bull Air Race San Diego event. Beautiful weather, huge attendance numbers according to Red Bull, amazing pilots blasting across San Diego bay (congratulations to Yoshihide “Yoshi” Muroya on his impressive win) and Hydroflight integrated into the event throughout. FlyDive with support from X-Jets (and a special appearance by the Jetovator) brought the world’s best Jetboard and Jetpack athletes to the second stop of the 2017 Red Bull Air Race series.
(Pictures in this article courtesy of H2RO Magazine and Bobby Vance)
Red Bull Air Race San Diego – Friday
It began bright and early on Friday with a live Fox News broadcast from the Mission Bay Jetpack America location. Hunter Verlander (H2RO World Ranked #1 Jetboard) and Jake Orel (H2RO World Ranked #3 Jetboard) provided the aerial entertainment while FlyDive CEO Christos Nicolaidis educated viewers about Hydroflight and shared his excitement about his company’s relationship with Red Bull.
That afternoon the crew was out in San Diego bay working through a practice run and fine tuning the skis, impellers, hoses and F-4 wireless controllers. Ben Merrell was harassed by a curious California Sea Lion for a few minutes and the final choreography was synched up via the BB Talkin’ headsets. Four shows. That’s how many times Hydroflight would take center stage at this massive Red Bull event. Over 100,000+ in attendance with the live broadcast on NBC reaching millions more. Needless to say everyone involved was pumped and ready to fly! Representing our sport were some of the best athletes in the game, Hunter Verlander (Flyboard World Champion 2015, Hydro Fest 2nd Place), Ben Merrell (Hydro Fest Champion), Jake Orel (Flyboard World Cup 2015 – 2nd Place), Jesse Orlando (Hydro Fest Jetpack Champion) and Sandy Burns (Hydro Fest 9th Place and Jetpack innovator) each putting everything they had into the four performances.
Later on Friday afternoon, FlyDive held a VIP party back at their Jetpack America location giving some very powerful and influential business men and women an up close look at the hottest new water sport on the planet. CBS8 was on hand and this event gave H2RO some important sound bites for the documentary movie we are producing of the weekend.
Red Bull Air Race San Diego – Saturday
Wave after wave of aviation and action sport fans entered into the Red Bull Air Race grounds lining the waterfront as far as the eye could see with still more finding free vantage points at a distance. The raceplanes swooped in at almost 200 knots carving up the track and amplifying everyone’s adrenaline. H2RO also learned that the Red Bull Air Race pylons (aka “Air Gates” ) serve two fundamental purposes – tear apart instantly on contact without impacting the pilot or raceplane, but also remain stationary in all weather conditions. It takes just two minutes to repair a pylon once down (pretty amazing!)
As the first showtime approached (12:55pm) the vibe on the dock was positive and professional and remained that way all weekend. The team even pushed a ski down the Marina gangplank and into the water (off a cart) because all water access points were closed due to the racing. As the athletes rose up sixty feet in the air in unison to begin each performance the Red Bull cameras displayed their acrobatics on massive digital screens all while Matthew Behrendt narrated the action, educated the masses and provided context to the unique skills on display. Saturday’s shows were epic but when Sunday came, with its live television broadcast, the athletes took things to a whole ‘nother level.
Red Bull Air Race San Diego – Sunday
Jetboards alone have seen massive television exposure before, we remember Gemma and Beau Weston on ABC News, but for the first time in Hydroflight history all three experiences, the Jetboard, Jetpack and Jetbike were seen flying together on nation wide television in the United States. (please correct us if we’re wrong in the comments). As all the cameras rolled including H2RO’s RED Dragon on Sunday, Ben, Hunter, Jake, Jesse and Sandy did the entire industry proud. They went huge with their tricks while keeping landings and execution very clean, they engaged with the audience with Ben even backflipping while drinking a Red Bull and then handing it to someone in the crowd. They threw spin dolphins that caused thousands to gasp in unison and most importantly the feedback Red Bull received and continues to receive about their decision to include Hydroflight in their event is overwhelmingly positive.
Red Bull is the elite action sports brand on the planet and to see Hydroflight so fully integrated into their event was inspiring. Red Bull commentators spoke about our sport frequently, athletes were brought into the ‘Sky Lounge’ VIP area for exclusive interviews, fans were enthusiastic during the autograph signings and the FlyDive booth was constantly buzzing with interest.
Red Bull Air Race and FlyDive
The Red Bull Air Race and FlyDive are connected in a couple of interesting ways. Firstly, Jimmy Dimetteo is both the founder and director of the Red Bull Air Race Series and a board advisor for FlyDive. FlyDive also recently acquired Aquafly who have an ongoing relationship with Red Bull since performing at their 2015 Flugtag event in Portland. Both of these relationships came together and solidified the inclusion of Hydroflight in San Diego.
Event Coordinator, Gretchen Vance was one step ahead at all times maintaining both tight schedules and good relationships with all involved. An incredibly successful first event for the newest FlyDive team member. Bobby Vance has also made an immediate positive impact on the sales front for FlyDive and we look forward to continuing to work on new video projects in the months to come.
H2RO Magazine would like to thank the entire FlyDive team for the opportunity to capture this amazing weekend and share it in documentary short film format. We are planning to release it in early May.
We also want to shout out the following rad people who without their vital contributions to the weekend none of this would have been possible: ( if we miss anyone please correct us in the comments)
- Christos Nicolaidis
- Jim Plante
- Bobby and Gretchen Vance
- Diana Baker
- Ryan Lorence
- Mike Santomero
- Derek Crespi
- Dean O’Malley
- Nate Sinisgalli
- AJ Smith
- Thurston Steen
- Matthew Behrendt
- Leslie and Sandy Burns
- James Herman
- Alexander Jeffery
- Joe Gregorek
Special thanks to Shaw Norris ( X-Jetpacks ) for supporting the event with athletes on both the Jetblade and NX Jetpack. Thanks to Kurt Binter for his team, a ski and the Jetovator. Thanks to Skat-Trak for coming through huge!