Hydroflight Athlete – Brody Wells
Hydroflight Competition Results
2015 XDubai Flyboard World Cup – 10th Place
2014 XDubai Flyboard World Cup – 10th Place
2014 North American Flyboard Championship – 17th Place
2013 Flyboard World Cup – 22nd Place
2012 Flyboard World Cup – 6th Place
Update 2016: Brody Wells has been a Pro Flyboarder since 2012 and has competed in every Flyboard World Championship to date. He is the current co-captain of Team Canfly, along with Mike Prince, and a partner in Canadian Jetpack Adventures and Alberta Flyboard. Brody is actively growing Hydroflight sports across Canada as well as helping secure sponsorship support for the Canfly athletes. Below are some recent video highlights and our interview from 2013.
Meet Brody Wells
Team Canfly at the 2015 XDubai Flyboard World Cup
Brody Wells, along with his cousin Stephanie, competed in the first ever Flyboard World Championship in Doha, Qatar. Brody is a Flyboarding force to be reckoned with and so it was very cool that he took the time to give H2RO Magazine an exclusive interview which we did by phone… and we talked for a while! Enjoy.
Audio Interview at the 2013 Flyboard World Cup
H2RO Magazine Exclusive Interview – 2013
H2RO: So this is technically Alberta Flyboard’s first season?
We set up a foundation for the business in 2012 and even without insurance got out and did a bunch of demos to get people interested in the product and then with that coverage from the Rick Mercer report it kind of skyrocketed us right at the end of the season unfortunately.
H2RO: What is your sports background and how did it help you once you took up this brand new sport?
Junior High and High School I was into football and a bit of hockey as well but I don’t know if those skills turned into anything that was a background for this sport. Now when I was kind of around that age as well we got our first boat and that’s when my love of water sports really started to kick in. We kind of started off with just the waterskiing and tubing and then we worked our way up to wakeboarding and wakeskating. Running on a 1970 invader with a 75 Johnson doesn’t quite give you enough wake to go pro or anything but it definitely helped me develop that love of water sports.
And then essentially driving your parents nuts waking them up at 7 in the morning and telling them it’s time to go waterskiing. While they’re on vacation, I’m sure they didn’t really love that but yeah that’s what I really looked forward to every summer.
H2RO: that’s great and obviously has now influenced some of your business decisions down the road here. So now looking at Flyboarding as a sport with its own challenges, what sort of skills have you had to tune up in order to become one of the top riders?
Well I think some of the things that transferred over from the board sports that I was into before is really just the control. Being able to use your edges and it’s almost kind of like snowboarding and wakeboarding thrown on a jet pack so…those kind of things really helped me to get control now, going forward, being that we were doing demonstrations mainly last year we really did focus on our own riding but it wasn’t really until we were notified that it was official that there was going to be a World Championship and competition that we really started to do some training.
The first season it was both myself and Stephanie and we really tried to push each other. She up’d her game a few times throughout and helped me to keep pushing on because when your cousin, that is a girl, and she is about fifty pounds lighter than you is out there huckin’ backflips you kind of want to up your game and it almost became a friendly competition between family at that point.
And then once we did find out it was an official competition that’s when we started to focus on… ok… now we need a routine, now we need to actually sharpen those skills and make them crisp and clean. That’s something that we focused on in late September early October. Now the difficulty, that I’m sure you (fellow Canadian) know but I’m not sure everyone else is going to realize is that it gets really cold.
H2RO: Certainly adds to the challenges I guess…
Yeah absolutely. You gotta overcome those challenges and fight through the cold and I know Stephanie had a hard time with that, just with her being smaller and just not quite as accustomed to being in the cold. But it was something that I just had to power through and recruit some people that could actually be brave enough to operate the throttle in mid-fall when all the leaves are off the trees and the waters only getting colder.
H2RO: For sure. So I’ve only had a chance to fly twice so far and obviously both times someone on the Jet Ski controlled my throttle and I can see how that can pose challenges when trying to execute tricks, having that constant water pressure. So do you fly using the Electronic Management Kit (EMK) or with someone else on the throttle?
In our first year we didn’t and much like many of the other competitors in Qatar none of us had actually used that EMK yet…we weren’t able to get ours installed in the first season and so the controls were really up to Stephanie. That took a lot of partnership between myself and her to understand and recognize the telltale signs of what the person was about to do so you almost had to be clairvoyant and predict what was going to happen next just through these subtle little signs of well she’s moving that way so she’s getting ready to pull a backflip or vice versa. That helped us to adjust the throttle and just to know what the other person did so there was a lot of communication between the two of us and really it was almost like she was an extension of myself at that throttle at that point so we got to understand each others riding styles really well which kind of helped us get into the feel of where they needed to progress in certain ways so it did almost help our riding styles in a certain way because you’re always paying attention to what that persons doing so you know where that person’s weak points are and then you can help them build on things as well.
This year we’ve done a little bit of both, last season was the first time I had tried the EMK and I just absolutely fell in love so this season I went out and bought the exact same Jet Ski that we were using in Qatar, the 255 model, and installed the EMK and tried to mimic what we were doing over there and it just up’d our riding styles so much…
H2RO: Yeah, everyone I’ve talked to about this says that once they’re past the learning curve and used to flying with the EMK they just can’t imagine going back.
Absolutely and that’s something that we’ve done a lot of this season is trying to get out on that EMK and try and understand the dynamics of how that hose actually reacts and acts while you’re doing tricks and how to prevent any incidents from happening because that was one of the major drawbacks from the first World Championship was people rolling their own Jet Ski.
H2RO: I had heard about some incidents with that and also the finickiness of the throttle in that if you let off completely it goes down to zero and then comes back up and so you can drop yourself out of the sky if you’re not easing off gradually or slowly and not all the way…
It’s not as gradual as one might think if you let off 50% for the trick it doesn’t necessarily react the same way you would think a normal throttle would so you’re probably letting off more like 80% of the throttle and you end up in the water again. So that was a major learning curve especially learning on the spot, there was no practice or anything going into the Championship so it was just get out there throw your best tricks and give it a 100% otherwise you’re going home.
H2RO: Now there is a newer version of the EMK so is that the one you installed?
Yes we initially installed the 2012 version of the EMK this season and got riding on that and just recently did the installation on the 2013 board as well.
H2RO: Was there improvements with the throttle control or any other aspects between the two models?
It was mainly with the installation that I found had drastic differences and it just made it a much more streamlined installation process. Made it really easy to install and I find just overall the whole package is just more reactive.
We recently did the pro rider EMK so that’s without the arm hoses, so you’re riding around with your throttle control just in your hand attached to a cable and you don’t have any arm hoses attached so that’s a big difference as well and I was having a little bit of difficulty transitioning into the pro rider style of riding without the arms/stabilizers. All my tricks were based on the old style so it was almost like having to relearn a whole new board.
H2RO: Most of the people around here have never flown with the arms so we only know the pro rider style but I can imagine having ridden with arms for a long time it would be quite an adjustment.
Yeah well when you’re used to them and you’re using them to execute your tricks and then to come out and throw yourself on a pro rider board it’s very difficult to just try and transition again. It really is trying to learn how to balance that weight and to establish that control for the tight spins and the backflips without going out of control so…once we had the EMK however, because we were riding the pro rider with a controller on the Jet Ski and once I got in control of that throttle again it wasn’t an issue anymore it was just like old times. We actually just went out on Tuesday night and we’re putting out our first promotional video and it’s being developed by a professional.
H2RO: That’s the video you shared on Facebook of the four riders all flying at once?
H2RO: Cool. So my next question is how are you pushing the limits of the equipment and gauging yourself against what other riders are doing and also progressing past what everyone knows are the current tricks?
I think the best way that people are learning right now is through each other. That’s where we’re really excelling is we have five guys on with us now, there names are Braden “Funk Master Fly” Anderson, Ben “Fly Guy” Jerrett, Adrian “the nature boy” Boucher, Brody “rain man” Wells, and Rodney “fly rod” Biggar. So that’s all the crew that’s on the Flyboard Alberta team right now and it’s really helping to push the limits because when you have a protege who’s come up and they’re starting to excel you want to push them and in turn they start to push you as well. So I really do feel that the peer riding has really influenced all of our riding.
Especially when you start to go out and do professional demonstrations and events all across Alberta it really becomes a matter of stepping up your game and pushing those limits so you’re creating them almost on the spot and for the majority of it I believe people are probably paying attention to Facebook and checking out any of the videos that are coming up on YouTube and trying to gauge that skill level and obviously people pay attention to the inventor. He’s had the most time on the board and he’s probably the best rider out there but I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody gives him a run for his money this season.
H2RO: Yeah people are nipping at his heals and it’ll be interesting to see if anyone can de-thrown him. What’s your favourite trick to pull, do you have a favourite thing to do?
I think my favourite is the backflip. By far the most exhilarating feeling when you’re out there and you’re fifteen to twenty feet up and you throw it and end up landing five to ten feet above the water there’s nothing like it. And something we’re trying to work on is getting to that double back flip stage.
H2RO: Yeah I had commented on a video recently of a guy trying a double because it seemed he had started it fairly low and I said he had lots of rotation to make it had he rode up a bit higher prior to pulling it.
Yeah I think that has to do with the intimidation factor of getting that hose up high and not being able to control it after you start coming down so that’s probably how it starts and I think that’s how my back flips started as well.
H2RO: Were you landing like knees first into the water a bunch of times or?
Yeah absolutely. Well to be honest our first backflips we just went out and it was like you were fearless. We didn’t have that experience of coming down on a hose or didn’t realize what that risk was until it started happening but our first times out at our official Flyboard launch in Alberta Stephanie came out there and was just doing circles and then just said that’s it I’m doing it and she actually ended up over-rotating and going one and a half times but everybody loved it and you know seeing that kind of a trick just really pumps up the crowd so next time out I did the same thing, did a bit of an over-rotation and then after that just kept working at it all summer. Even though we weren’t landing them all the time people really enjoyed seeing them and it wasn’t until probably late summer once we realize that the competition was coming that we really tried to work on getting that back flip down crisp.
H2RO: Sounds like the World Cup was a good focal point for everyone. Gave everybody something to prepare for and I’m curious to hear details about the next one… have you heard anything yet?
(Since this interview we’ve learned the World Championship is Nov 7,8 and 9, 2013 in Doha, Qatar)
I’ve heard some rumours that it is going to be in Qatar again but those again are just rumours and some people have posted it’s going to be in September but I haven’t heard anything official and I’ll wait till I actually get that official word from Krystel and Franky and I hope that does come sooner than later because we want to train as much as we can here in the late summer early fall.
H2RO: Yeah I had heard November as a possibility but you really don’t want to announce it and only have two weeks to get the general public to wrap their head around what’s happening.
No you at least want a couple months to get some of that marketing out and get some major television networks on and I think that’s probably where there trying to go ahead with this season is get more tv exposure and more media exposure to build the sport and then you’re going to get those major companies jumping on with advertising too… Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar…whoever ends up coming on and that’s what we’ve been trying to work on here in Alberta showing them that we are gaining enough exposure that they can throw their name on our equipment and we’d be very pleased to have them.
H2RO: Who was I just talking to the other day… Andrew Hickey, Aquatic Avaition, and he’s been doing a lot of press, he’s in the Southern California area so many opportunities for tv pilots and he’s flying various celebrities for their first flights and generating press…so all good things to grow the sport.
Yeah and that’s great, that’s exactly what the sport really needs and that’s something that we’ve been able to capture as well we partnered up with this company here in Sylvain lake that have a lot of great connections in the hockey world and if there is one thing that Canadians love it’s hockey and so we’ve had Joffrey Lupul out and we’re going to keep trying to get some of the local hockey celebs that actually live out here at Sylvain lake to try it out with us.
Maybe do like a Flames versus Oilers thing?
H2RO: That would be awesome. I want to see who throws the first body check twenty feet up on the next guy? Ha. So we’ve talked about quite a bit maybe just tell me a little bit about NBD Watersports (now Alberta Flyboard) and what your goals are with the company over the next year?
NBD Watersports was really are initial kick-off for the sport. It was the first time that I had been involved in water sports and the flyboard really was the reason behind it. I got into Jet Skiing here about two or three years ago and kind of just started to pay attention to what other products were out there that would just change the game a little bit. Just riding a Jet Ski can get a little bit boring after a while so I was always looking for that new up and coming thing and once I saw the flyboard I really just jumped on it and got myself set up here in Alberta. Are first intentions were to expand here into other water sports as well, maybe specialize in flyboarding but also carry things like wakeboard products and more high end performance boards and equipment like custom life jackets, custom wet suits some of the more unique things that as you know Alberta has some disposable income and the name of the game out here is that you need the biggest and best thing and you want it now and you want to be able to show it off to your friends.
Wake surfing has become hugely popular and we’re looking to be part of the new extreme and take advantage. NBD Watersports has done a huge facelift this season, we were finding that a name and a brand really does help to establish your company and the sport at the same time so we’re actually undergoing a name change right now and we’re going to be called Alberta Flyboard. Look for our Facebook and website to be updated very soon.
H2RO: Very cool. Last question and I’ll let you go. Where do you see Canada positioning itself in the world of flyboarding as the sport takes off?
Well I really do believe that this is just the beginning for Canada especially with the insurance difficulties that we had over the last little while this is really the official kick off season where the public can actually go out and try it and I only see it getting hotter and hotter by the day. There’s people that want us to come out to random lakes across Alberta and they’re willing to pay a high dollar amount so I know the demand is out there and as the awareness becomes more prevalent throughout all of Canada I think the demand is going to skyrocket and I think we’re at a great time in the sport. I can’t wait to see what happens to the sport in the next six months to a year. Whether or not they come out with a new board I believe this sport is just going to grow immensely over the next two to three years.
H2RO: Are the top riders in the country in communication with each other and is there any talk of training together or is everyone still fairly independent right now?
I think everybody is so focused on business right now it’s hard for everybody to get away and actually go and train with each other. As our season comes to an end we may think about going down to BC and training with those guys out of there maybe helping them out a little bit. But I think what we’re going to try and focus on is establishing ourselves and really establishing our own riders and that’s really the strength that we have a good number of people now on our team that are going to be riding now I’m not sure how many of those people are actually going to be in the competition but that will be determined by the location and the timeline.
As far as riding with everyone across the country I’m very interested in doing it it’s just a matter of getting the time.
H2RO: Well as being a pro flyboarder turns into what other mature sports are like for their athletes it will sort of work itself out naturally as there will be more time and availability to get together and make sure there is sort of a national team approach to it.
Well exactly… and that’s something that we’d like to establish here as well is get an association much the same as wakeboarding and waterski Alberta have and really establish a community of riders that are passionate about the sport and passionate about the Flyboard itself as well. I know it’s out there and we’ve even had a customer this year that’s just kept pushing herself and she’s a great rider and just loves the sport and so we’re all trying to work together to try and get that sense of community built around this brand new sport and then we’re going to be trying to establish a competition in Alberta. Whether or not that happens at the end of this season or at the beginning of next season I think it would be really special to have everybody out and really just show off our skills and work on each other’s skills at the same time.
H2RO: That would be rad and just know that H2RO Magazine is a site intent on celebrating and supporting the sport and the people who make it soar and there is always room for your events, news, tips and any other contributions your riders would like to make. I certainly want to make sure your pros are getting the exposure they deserve through the site.
Well that’s excellent and something I wanted to mention is that we do have an upcoming event in Lloydminster, Alberta, it’s the Ultimate Man-Show. We have a sponsor coming on board that is going to build a 50ft by 50ft containment tank and we’re going to be one of the showcases at this show coming up in early September. (We promoted this event and hope it was a huge success!)
H2RO: Well once you have all the details we’ll definitely share with our H2RO audience and I also look forward to sharing your new Alberta Flyboard promotional video and perhaps a ‘making of’ article to support it.
That would be great. Thanks.