Hydroflight Athlete – Cooper Riggs
Hydroflight Competition Results
2015 XDubai Flyboard World Cup – 3rd Place
2015 North American Flyboard Championship – 18th Place
2014 XDubai Flyboard World Cup – 9th Place
2013 Flyboard World Cup – 2nd Place
Cooper Riggs has been one of the most consistent Pro Flyboarding competitors in our sport. His competitive results speak for themselves but he has also participated in pushing our sport forward with his participation in Session One the first competition/workshop that involved the Jaxx inflatables and other new formats. He brought our sport the ‘Infinity Flip’ and continues to push Hydroflight in exciting new directions.
One of the most incredible Flyboard stories of 2013 has to be Cooper Riggs and his remarkably fast journey from Flyboard newb to H2RO Hydroflight World Ranked #2 Pro. The sport of Flyboarding is very young and with only one major competition in 2013 it makes for an incredibly volatile professional landscape. I find this incredibly exciting but I’m not one of the Pros trying to compete against fellow competitors they know nothing about, competition rules they only read weeks before the event and flying on equipment they may have never used until on the World stage. Having said that… everyone was in the same boat and it came down to delivering when it counted. Cooper Riggs delivered!
Below is an exclusive interview with Cooper and to check out all
of his competitive runs during the 2013 Flyboard World Cup
visit his Flyboard World Cup Page here.
Cooper Riggs lives in Fort Lauderdale, and currently operates Flyboard Fort Lauderdale. He was introduced to Hydroflight when his previously employer Flyboard 305 asked if he would learn to fly and begin taking customers out. Coops done a bit more than that!
H2RO MAGAZINE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
H2RO: Cooper first off correct me if I’m wrong but you had only been Flyboarding for 4 or 5 months prior to competing and finishing 2nd in the 2013 World Cup… correct? Tell us a bit about your sports background and how such a phenomenal result in Qatar was possible?
Yeah, when I was asked if I wanted to try Flyboarding it was about 5 months before the World Cup. Having grown up riding just about every board under the sun Flyboarding came quick. All the time I put in to all these other sports gave me a good base and feel for the Flyboard. I can really let loose on the flyboard as hitting water is a lot less taxing on the body compared to ice or pavement. NO FEAR hahaha.
H2RO: What was your 2013 Flyboard World Cup experience like and what things have you taken away from it that help you better understand where competitive Flyboarding is going and how to continue to have success in these competitions?
The time in Qatar was awesome! The energy level, the support, and the awesome equipment was great! The riders are very talented and driven. Pushing the envelope and not holding back is a must for next year! I’ll have to train for real to do well next time.
H2RO: Did you learn anything about the way the sport is judged and also how to deal with a 5 minute finals run versus 1:30 qualifying run?
Knowing how you are being judged is very important! You have to score well with all five of the judges to get the best score. The five areas to hit are aggression, height, technicality, diversity and use of the whole arena. Hitting all of these categories is crucial for success. As for the difference between the 1:30 qualifying rounds and a five minute finals round it is quite a large change. The early rounds go by fast so it is important to show enough of your skillz to qualify but save some of the bigger tricks for the end. The five minute round feels like an eternity. You have to stay aggressive but not kill yourself. I would cool down by putting some dolphin dives in between trick combos.
H2RO: We’re doing this interview just as I’m editing your World Cup video footage and one thing I really notice looking back at your flying is that you were flowing from trick to trick very smoothly and with very little ‘down’ time. Even when you were managing the hose or ski you would fly backwards or throw in a little style to keep the run entertaining and I think that really set you apart… how did you approach the ‘creativity’ aspect of your runs?
My runs were completely spontaneous with no prior “routine”. When I ride I just go with the flow and try to have fun out there.
H2RO: Were there any tricks or combos that you thought you would have liked to pull but didn’t in the competition?
One trick I wanted to throw that I didn’t was the double backflip. Having not had it mastered I would rather have a clean smooth run than crazy and sloppy. I don’t think it looks good if you do a trick and have to touch the water.
H2RO: During the World Cup I saw a number of very cool ‘accidental’ moves that I think if mastered could become some sick new tricks. Was there anything you saw in Qatar that has inspired you to add it to your repertoire?
There were many different styles and tricks, all awesome in there own way. I will always watch and learn, there’s no end to progression.
H2RO: Is there one new trick your working on right now? Note: I’d love to see if an aggressive slalom can end with a sideways cartwheel type of flip… thoughts?)
Honestly I hope the competition stays the same. Free riding is much more liberating and leaves room for creativity. As for new tricks? People will have to watch the competition….hahaha
H2RO: For the recreational flyers out there, myself included, who have yet to soar 30+ feet in the air can you describe the sensation and maybe share what your favorite thing about Flyboarding is?
Whether you are 40 feet or 10 feet the feeling is great! Anytime a person and a machine can work together to get the adrenaline flowing the experience and vibe can’t be beat. One of the beautiful things about Flyboarding is you don’t need to wait for a wave, wind, or snow just gas up your ski and your riding!
H2RO: Final question and that is you are now ranked 2nd in the World in a sport that is still very young and evolving rapidly every day, week, month… how are you approaching 2014 from a competitive standpoint and what do you think you need to do to stay ahead of the curve and ready for the flyers coming for your place on the podium at the next World Cup?
Approach for next year? Create new tricks link them together smoothly and ride hard as much as possible.
Cooper you were awesome to watch in Qatar and thanks very much for chatting with H2RO. Looking forward to seeing you fly in 2014.