Emmanuel Jules is another world renowned freestyle Jet Skier who has channeled his competitive fire into the Flyboard. A Pro Flyboarder from France, Emmanuel is best known as the ‘Human Torch’. This interview was completed prior to the 2013 World Cup in Doha, Qatar but I didn’t get a chance to share it until now. FIRE!
H2RO: What is your athletic background and how have these skills translated to the Flyboard?
I’ve practiced freestyle Jet Skiing since 1995. I had the opportunity to compete in the championship of France, Europe and participated in World Cups. I had the privilege of competing with: Allessander Lenzi (Brazil) – Federico Bufacchi (Italy) – Stéphane Prayas (France) etc. … drivers with whom I now found myself in competition with at the Flyboard World Cup.
Here is my Jet Ski ranking:
- Vice-champion of France 2004 freestyle
- World Cup Freestyle Cavalaire 2004 “4th place”
- World Cup Freestyle Cavalaire 2003 “5th place”
- EJSBA Freestyle Disney Paris 2003 “5th place”
For several years I’ve organized freestyle Jet Ski shows. I discovered the Flyboard during its initial promotion at the beginning of 2012 on YouTube, before its release in May 2012. I got immediately interested in this discipline and it has allowed me to be invited to China, Guadeloupe, Mexico and to participate in the World Championship in Qatar. (Emmanuel was unfortunately not able to compete due to injury but did put on a show during the finale as the ‘Human Torch’)
H2RO: Which athlete (any sport) has motivated you the most in your life?
The athlete which motivated me the most in my life is the Jet Ski Freestyler Rick Roy (Canada). He has been World Champion several times and is a great freestyler.
H2RO: What do you find most exciting about being at the forefront of a new extreme sport?
The Flyboard is an amazing invention that can turn you into a superhero (a childhood dream). It allows me to continue to grow my passion as a freestyler. I’ve found this graceful and majestic sport and moreover, it is a French invention!
H2RO: What is your process for pushing the limits of the equipment and inventing new tricks? Can you measure the progress of other top riders as they work around the world?
With Flyboarding you always want to evolve and the tricks posted on the net are always pushing us to go further. For my part I always push my limits and I do the Human Torch which is a dangerous stunt.
H2RO: Do you have a signature trick you invented or one which is your favorite?
My signature today is the Human Torch as well as being one of the first people to fly with two people at once which I was doing already at my Jet Ski shows. Still full of ideas in my head!
H2RO: Franky continues to push the limits of his invention, but other riders Do you have your eyes on these days?
Franky is so passionate and continues to evolve with his invention to make us dream day by day.
H2RO: As a professional what events, competitions have you on the horizon To what extent do you think the world has progressed flyboarding the next World Cup?
I am currently rehabilitating an injured leg and currently cannot practice Flyboarding. Today I can’t be sure if I will be healthy enough to participate in the next World Cup. However, I think the level of flying will have greatly increased from last year. The riders are training a lot and I think we may see a very exciting competition.
H2RO: Where does Flyboarding fit into the sports world in France? With 11 competitors in the last World Cup how do you and your fellow countrymen intend on maintaining your leadership position relative to the rest of the world?
In France, the regulation is very complicated and I think it is easier to practice and evolve this extreme sport abroad. Last year there were 51 Flyboarders from 20 nations in the World Cup which was extraordinary for a discipline that at the time was only 5 months old. I hope that the sport will continue to evolve.
Emmanuel thanks very much for taking the time for this interview. I wish we could have seen you fly in the 2013 World Cup but definitely enjoyed watching you light up the Doha sky as the Human Torch. You were definitely right… the sport is evolving at a rapid pace and we saw incredible flying at this year’s Championship.